2016 Newsletter, Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology & Ecopsychology Specialization, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Dear Friends,

Please enjoy this year’s Hearing Voices, our newsletter from the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, Ecopsychologyspecialization of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.
This newsletter highlights some of the socially and environmentally transformative work of our students and faculty. Our students engage each year in community and ecopsychological fieldwork and research in a wide variety of contexts around issues they are passionate about. Through coursework and fieldwork experiences, they are preparing themselves to meet the needs of their communities through work in non-profits, schools and colleges, foundations, social movements, community groups, and academic-community partnerships. They are contributing to an eco-liberation psychology approach to the environmental, community, and cultural issues that challenge us today.
Some of the highlights this year include a section, “For the Sake of New Justice,” that focuses on the work of students within the carceral system and in efforts “outside” for restorative justice; the outcome of meetings between Students of Color and Racial Justice Allies in “Why Groups for People-of-Color and Racial Justice Allies”; and the initiation of a exchange program with Colegio de la Frontera Norte as part of our Borderlands Initiative.” We welcome your interest!
Please forward to friends and colleagues who might be interested.  We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2016.  We welcome your interest!  Please follow the link to Hearing Voices Volumes 1-3.
Mary Watkins, Nuria Ciofalo and Susan James, Professors

Stop the persecution of Academics for Peace in Turkey

Three academics were placed in pretrial detention on 16th March, Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, and Kıvanç Ersoy. Ersoy teaches in the mathematics department at Mimar Sinan University and Mungan in the psychology department at Boğaziçi University. Kaya was recently dismissed from the social work department at Nişantaşı University for signing the petition. They were detained and then jailed by a court a day after President Erdoğan called for the crime of terrorism to be widened to include expression which he judges “serves the aims of terrorists,” and which would target professions such as journalists, politicians, and activists. His remarks came after the March 13 bombing which killed 37 people in Ankara’s city center.

From http://change.org

Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/international-community-and-elected-representatives-stop-the-persecution-of-academics-for-peace-in-turkey

The Turkish government and the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continue to oppress political dissent violently and illegally in Turkey. On January 11, President Erdoğan accused 1128 academics of treason for signing  a call for peace in Turkey. In the call, the signatories stated that they would not be party either to the massacre against the Kurds or to Turkish’s state’s ongoing violation of its own laws and international treaties. Following Erdoğan’s speech, hundreds of academics who signed the petition were subject to disciplinary and criminal investigations, detentions and suspensions.

In response to this witch-hunt, we had signed a letter in support of academic freedom in Turkey and asked for ending the prosecution of Academics for Peace. The letter was submitted to MPs and MEPs in Europe and published in the media in January.

Yet the Turkish government did not heed the call for academic freedom and had intensified the witch-hunt against the Academics for Peace. As of 10 March 2016, the toll was as follows:
Public Universities       Private Universities
Disciplinary investigations                 464                                43
Criminal investigations                      153
Detentions                                          33
Suspensions                                       27
Contract termination                           9                                   21
Forced resignations                            5                                    1
Furthermore, on 15 March 2016 three academics were incarcerated for signing the original call of Academics for Peace and announcing that they will start an ‘Academic Vigil’. The arrested academics are:  Esra Mungan of Boğaziçi University, Kıvanç Ersoy of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, and Muzaffer Kaya, formerly of Nişantaşı University.

A fourth academic and a UK citizen, Chris Stephenson of Bilgi University, was detained for holding a vigil outside the court in support of the three academics and for carrying a Newroz (Kurdish New Year) invitation from a parliamentary party – the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). On 16 March 2016, the case of Chris Stephenson, who has been resident in Turkey since 1991, was transferred to another court with the demand of being deported, and he had to leave the country.

We ask the international community and elected representatives to call on the Turkish government to stop the witch hunt against Academics for Peace, respect academic freedoms, free the arrested academics, and re-instate all the academics suspended or expelled during the persecution campaign with compensation.

Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/international-community-and-elected-representatives-stop-the-persecution-of-academics-for-peace-in-turkey


Julian Assange

Posted on behalf of network member Nozomi Hayase.  If you’d like to make contact, substitute [AT] with @ in this address: nhayse[AT]riseup.net

Statement in Support of Julian Assange’s Freedom

We are psychologists committed to supporting the health of individuals and communities. We practice the psychology of liberation, which acknowledges the effects of social and political oppression in contributing to individual suffering.

One of great liberation psychologists of our time, Jesuit priest Ignacio Martín-Baró, observed how people live “burdened by the lie of a prevailing discourse that denies, ignores, or disguises essential aspects of reality” and are made to conform to “a fictional common sense that nurtures the structures of exploitation and conformist attitudes”. With this understanding, he initiated the practice of “the de-ideologization of everyday experience” to “retrieve the original experience of the oppressed and return it to them as objective data”.

Decades after his death, the liberatory praxis of Martín-Baró has been rekindled on the global stage. In spring of 2010, a little known whistle-blowing site, WikiLeaks blazed onto the global stage with the release of the Collateral Murder video, a classified U.S. military footage depicting an Apache helicopter killing of Iraqi civilians.

WikiLeaks’ subsequent revelation of government secrecy brought crucial information, evidencing the way States and transnational corporations steal the original experience of people, manipulate perception and exert control over their lives. Through these disclosures, people are now gaining a truer understanding of the world and beginning to transform themselves from state victims to active agents to take hold of their own reality.

Martín-Baró was murdered by the US backed El Salvadorian Army for challenging the official narrative of governments who silence the voice of dissidents and those who oppose exploitation and human right abuses. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks has become such a target for political retaliation. For the last five and half years, he has been detained without charge (first in prison and solitary confinement, then house arrest, and now for more than three years in asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy). We recognize him as an icon who stands up for the truth and engages in a similar struggle for justice.

On February 5, 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled that Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained since 7 Dec 2010. In support of their findings, over 500 human rights organizations, law professors, former UN office holders, and high-profile rights defenders signed an open letter condemning UK and Swedish governments’ blatant rejection of the UNWGD’s decision and urging them to ensure the right of freedom for Assange. This statement was released at the 31st United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.

(here is the link to the original letter; http://diem25.org/urging-sweden-and-the-uk-to-free-julian-assange/)

We stand with this open letter concerning Sweden and the United Kingdom’s active defiance of the UN decision and we demand Assange’s freedom.

In addition as psychologists, we contend that the situation Assange has been subjected to by these governments created not only physical but psychological alienation, as he is denied and deprived of the basic need to be a part of a community and has been marginalized through demonization by the Western governments and media. Maintaining healthy human contact with the outside world and ones family and friends is a foundation of basic health. We express concern for the effect of such deprivation of psychological needs in the long term.

Martín-Baró once remarked to a North American colleague, “In your country, it’s publish or perish. In ours, it’s publish and perish.” WikiLeaks, as the publisher of last resort, continues this same battle that Martín-Baró and others engaged in, risking their lives and freedom to defend those who are oppressed around the world.

For the liberty of Julian Assange, we urge Sweden and the UK to respect the UNWGAD’s deliberation and show the world that Western enlightenment values and rule of law can triumph over barbaric forces of state terror and oppression.

Unlike the time of Martín-Baró, we hope now we can work toward creating a world where journalists can publish and not perish; that speaking up for the truth and the oppressed is no longer a crime, but is something all of society can celebrate.


Mr. Assange has not been charged with any crime in any investigation conducted in Sweden. 

Both women explicitly denied having been raped. One woman says she was “railroaded by police” and they made up the charges. Early on, Assange was cleared of the suspicion of ‘rape’ by a chief prosecutor in Stockholm before it was then reopened by another prosecutor.

For more information, visit Justice for Assange.




Indigenous children in North America and the damage done by diagnostic labelling

An article of interest, one of a series by the author on this subject has appeared in the online journal Indian Country.

Betrayal by Labels: The Feebleminded, ADHD Native Child


Diagnosing Native children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and treating them with stimulants does nothing to improve their educational or intellectual growth. Even worse, it sets them up for failure. Such an idea may upset the many caretakers, educators and mental health providers who think they are helping so-called “ADHD children,” yet Native children have been sabotaged by a similar mentality for generations.

Read the rest of the article at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/21/betrayal-labels-feebleminded-adhd-native-child-163122

New book: Liberation Practices

This new book, edited by Taiwo Afuape and Gillian Hughes, both based in London, contains contributions from several members of this network.  While not specifically about Liberation Psychology, there are multiple references to the ideas of Ignacio Martín-Baró and to Liberation Psychology.  Click the image to go to the publisher’s page.  (If you’d like a pre-publication draft of the chapter by Carolyn Kagan and I, then send an email via this site’s contact page.)

image of book cover: Liberation Practices, Routledge, 2016



Registration is open for the 6th International Community Psychology Conference

Sixth International Conference on Community Psychology (ICCP)
27 – 30 May 2016
International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN 6th International Conference on Community Psychology
Global Dialogues on Critical Knowledges, Liberation and Community International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa
27-30 May 2016
Join us in Global Dialogues on Critical Knowledges, Liberation and Community in
Durban, South Africa in May 2016!Please click here to register; see website for more information.
SincerelyMohamed Seedat, Conference Chair
Shahnaaz Suffla, Conference Co-chair

COnference logoConference leaflet, including call for contributions:  CLICK HERE.


About the Liberation Psychology Network

We’ve updated our “About” page which gives information about the network and its purpose.  It is worth posting it here too.  Why not download the pdf version, print it off and distribute it at your events, put it on the noticeboard, or discuss it with a colleague?

About Liberation Psychology and this network

You can download this as a pdf file for distribution at your event etc.

This international network helps users of English discover and share resources, experiences and new directions in Liberation Psychology.


Liberation psychology began in Latin America. It drew on currents of radical and critical praxis from that region and beyond and was first proposed by Ignacio Martín-Baró at the Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador.

Some Liberation Psychology material has appeared in English, but most, including nearly all of Martí- Baró’s work, is only available in Spanish. It deserves being better known by those who do not read Spanish.

Liberation psychology is relevant to the work of psychologists and their allies concerned with oppression and exclusion, social trauma, social movements and resistance in the global South, and in core countries of the world system. Many people use English either as a first language or as their route of access to the international literature.

Latin American liberation psychology has focussed on the particular situation and identity of Latin America but exclusion and exploitation happens everywhere. If the Liberation Psychology of Martín-Baró and other Latin American comrades was the first Liberation Psychology, our world desperately needs a Second Liberation Psychology, not to replace their efforts but to take them further so we have a global Liberation Psychology for the extremely challenging situation that we find ourselves in more than 25 years after Martín Baró’s murder.

The Network:

  • Connects like minded workers, who are often isolated, to share their understandings and practical experience of liberatory approaches and to offer mutual support.

  • Provides access to the key ideas and works of Latin American liberation psychology and kindred approaches.  Our website links and hosts English language works (written as well as audio-visual)  Network members with knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese are key bridging resource.

  • Offers a bridge between workers in Latin America and other regions of the global South, and with those in core regions concerned with the “South” in our midst (exploitation, migration, war, (neo-)colonialism and exclusion of the Other).

  • Explores what Liberation Psychology means in contexts other than Latin America.

  • Hosts this web portal and blog which is enabled as a social network, and an email list.  See how to use the site.

The network is what its members make it. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination, energy and willingness to try new ways of doing Liberation Psychology: the constructively practical critical psychology.


New digital collection of Martín Baró’s works

Now available, a digital collection of Ignacio Martín Baró’s writings.  While these will of course mostly be in Spanish, it will be a valuable resource since much of his work is not well known, even in Spanish speaking countries.  This is an initiative of students at his University, The Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador.  Here is the link to the collection: http://www.uca.edu.sv/coleccion-digital-IMB/

Thanks to Christian Chacón for this information.



Call for articles: Ethics, Psychology and War

Ethics, Psychology and War

Special issue

Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

Abstract submission deadline: December 1st 2015

Full paper submission deadline: March 1st 2016

Edited by

Paul S. Duckett

Serdar M. Değirmencioğlu

Victoria University, Australia

Doğuş University, Turkey

Focus of the special issue

The purpose of this special issue is to respond to the recently published Hoffman Report and invite contributions to the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology on the topics of war and peace that discuss the past, present and future relationship of Community Psychology to the industrial-military complex. This special issue is open to literature review articles, articles on new empirical and social action projects and theoretical writings and position papers.


Psychology has a long history of working closely with government agencies to help with ‘military problems’. Aptitude and intelligence testing of soldiers, the development of facial recognition software, studies on attitude formation, and motivation studies are just a few of the areas of psychology that have been directly applied, often directly commissioned, by the military. Psychological operations, methods to promote soldier resilience and the development of torture techniques are among the most recent areas where the relationship between psychology and the military continues.

This relationship has now become foregrounded in academic and public debate following the Hoffman Report, which was commissioned by the American Psychological Association (APA), the most powerful professional association in psychology. The report portrays the relationship between the military establishment in the US and APA as follows:

In some ways, DoD [Department of Defense] is like a rich, powerful uncle to APA, helping it in important ways throughout APA’s life. Acting independently of a benefactor like this is difficult. (p.72)

The close ties between psychology and the military-industrial establishment in the US and elsewhere so evident for an independent team of lawyers were hardly ever questioned in mainstream psychology.

While mainstream psychology has had a lot to do with war and much of it has been in regard to its promotion, psychology has also had voices committed to the prevention of war. In response to the nuclear brinksmanship engaged in by the US President Regan during the 1980s, a number of groups of psychologists developed to promote peace.

Curiously, Community Psychology appears to have paid rather sparse attention to the topics of war and peace. One might have expected Community Psychology – with its focus on communities, social change, well-being and its value-driven approach – to be well suited to address the impact of war and to take a political and ethical position towards war. However, Community Psychology appears to have been somewhat silent on the subject – at least in its major publishing outputs and in conferences in Australasia, North America and Europe (Değirmencioğlu, 2010; Duckett 2005). War appears to have remained a rather subsidiary topic in Community Psychology and there has been little, if any, political or ethical analysis of the subject (Değirmencioğlu & Duckett, forthcoming). One might conclude that it is difficult to know what the ethical stance of a community psychologist might be to the topic of war. This Special Issues will address this apparent deficit.

Submission process and deadlines

For this special issue we warmly welcome contributions from community and applied social psychology. We invite detailed abstracts (max. 500 words or 2 pages) indicating the potential contribution. The most relevant and promising abstracts will be selected for further development into full manuscripts (7000 words).

All manuscripts will be blind peer-reviewed. Abstracts and manuscripts should be submitted via the JCASP online system (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/casp), with a cover letter identifying that they are for the special issue on ethics, psychology and war. Normal JCASP guidelines for authors apply.

Further information on this special issue can be obtained from paul.ducket(AT)vu.edu.au.


New events: course on disasters and 6th Int Conf of Community Psychology


14-16 December, 2015:  HAVANA – CUBA

Course poster     Course information leaflet


Sixth International Conference on Community Psychology (ICCP)
27 – 30 May 2016
International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa

COnference logoConference leaflet, including call for contributions:  CLICK HERE.