Psychology vs social justice

Laura Gene McNally

Not long ago I enquired about taking a second masters degree in psychology. I noticed there was a fair amount of Freud in the syllabus so I canned it. But there was one important thing on the reading list, it was about social justice vs psychology. Specifically, the question of how much psychology impinges upon people’s right to be dissatisfied with the current world order.

Psych therapy generally encourages people to adapt to societal status quo, rather than fight to change it. Of course it’s complicated. Indeed psychologists have a strict duty of care and there is no simple answer, but there is much more we could do.

We know that minority groups have drastically different mental health outcomes than the dominant group. For instance, women have around twice the depression and anxiety than men, younger Aboriginal people have around 5x the suicide rate of the white population. In light…

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