Sources on Liberation Psychology

Getting started on Liberation Psychology

The following list is not meant to be exhaustive but rather to get you started.

Please suggest additional texts – especially if they are readily available.

While a lot of material on Psychology of/for Liberation is in Spanish (and there is also some in Portuguese) a number of us have been keen to introduce Liberation Psychology to people who read English but not Spanish.

Introductory articles include:

Viva Nacho!  Liberating Psychology in Latin America by Mark Burton – The Psychologist ,17, (10), 584-587, October 2004- 

Liberation Social Psychology:  Learning From Latin America .pdf by Mark Burton and Carolyn Kagan  in  Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology   (2005) 15, (1), 63-78.    read the pre-publication draft

Liberation Psychologies: An Invitation to Dialogue Dan Hocoy, Aaron Kipnis, Helene Lorenz, Mary Watkins

Lykes, M. B. (2000). Possible contributions of a psychology of liberation:  Whither Human Rights? Journal of Health Psychology, 5, 383–397.

The wikipedia page on Liberation Psychology (initially written by Mark Burton but added to by others) – do add to / improve it.

and a more journalistic one by Bruce Levine (for the USA context):  Liberation Psychology for the U.S.: Are we too demoralized to protest?

A collection of Ignacio Martín-Baró’s work in English the book Writings for a Liberation Psychology published in 1996 by Harvard and edited by Adrianne Aron and Shawn Corne.

From the Martín-Baró Fund website:

Further Reading About Ignacio Martín-Baró:

“Recently, several articles appeared in a special issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology that remembered the life of Ignacio Martín-Baró, SJ and explored justice-related issues related to his social philosophy and his tragic death. We highlight them here as excellent background reading for learning more about Fr. Ignacio and his work.” – from the Ignacio Martín-Baró fund.

The University for Social Change and the Legacy of Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J.

by Joaquin M. Chavez (Trinity College)

The Road to Spain: The Jesuit Massacre and the Struggle Against Impunity in El Salvador

by Almudena Bernabeu and Carolyn Patty Blum (Center for Justice and Accountability, San Francisco, California)

The Life of Ignacio Martín-Baró: A Native Account of a Personal Biographical Journey

by Nelson Portillo (Universidad Centroamericana (UCA))

Symposium on the Life and Work of Ignacio Martín-Baró

by Suzanne C. Ouellette (The City University of New York)  sorry this last link is broken – we;ll fix it soon.

Other books in English are:

M Montero and C Sonn: Psychology of Liberation Theory and Applications  (see reviews: review 1;    review 2)
M Watkins and H Shulman Toward Psychologies of Liberation. (it is now available in more cheaply in paperback) A review  is here  Now available in Spanish, free.
Ahora disponible, gratis, en castellano AQUI

Helene Shulman, Mary Watkins and Dennis Rivers have put together this bibliography:

and we now have this more extended biography, initiated by Mary Watkins on

Well worth a look are these 2 articles  by Geraldine Moane and
Also her book:  Moane, G. (1999). Gender and colonialism: a psychological analysis of oppression and liberation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  now available in a revised paperback edition (2011). or

This recent book by Taiwo Afuape also includes interesting discussion of some precursors of Liberation Psychology: Afuape, T. (2011). Power, resistance and liberation in therapy with survivors of trauma. London: Routledge.  See her notes on African contributions to Liberation Psychology and this review of her book.

And these 2 books on Community Psychology take a specifically liberatory approach and include information on helpful methods too:-

Kagan, C., Burton, M., Duckett, P., Lawthom, R. and   Siddiquee, A  (2011) Critical Community Psychology.  Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Nelson, G and Prileltensky, I  (2004, 2010) Community Psychology In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-Being.  London: Palgrave Macmillan.

This is a useful summary of Paulo Freire’s methods: Therapy for Liberation: The Paulo Freire Methodology by Dawn Belkin Martinez  (on this network)

Finally, try this discussion paper written for this network:- and this short reflection on liberation psychology.

You can read about the case of the murder of Martín Baró and his colleagues at the UCA in 1969 here and here in Spanish.

Liberation Psychology from the Philippines:   In 1988, Virgilio G Enriquez, a Philippine psychologist published “From Colonial to Liberation Psychology” (a second edition appeared in 1992).  Not only does the title resemble that adopted by Martín-Baró and colleagues in Latin America, but so too did a number of the formulations in the text.  Enriquez’s contribution was assessed by Rogelia Pe-Pua and Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino in a 2000 article in the Asian Journal of  Social Psychology.

In Spanish
If you do read Spanish then you can order Martin Baró’s books (in Spanish) from the University of Central America in San Salvador. (unfortunately the process is a bit clunky).  If you can manage Spanish it is worth the effort since the English translations are quite selective.

Some of his papers are available for download here.

There are also 3 collections of his works in Spanish

Jiménez Domínguez, B., & Pacheco, G. (Eds.). (1990). Ignacio Martín-Baró, 1942-1989 : psicología de la liberación para América Latina. Guadalajara, Mexico: Universidad de Guadalajara.

Blanco, A.  (Ed.) (1998). Ignacio Martín Baró:  Psicología de la Liberación. Madrid: Trotta.

Blanco, A., & de la Corte, L. (Eds.). (2003). Ignacio Martín Baró:  Poder, ideología y violencia. Madrid: Trotta.

Also see this site for online sources:




3 thoughts on “Sources on Liberation Psychology

  1. “Leadership & Liberation: A Psychological Approach by Seán Ruth (Routledge, 2006) explores both these topics in great detail. “Understanding Oppression and Liberation”, Studies, Vol. 77, No. 308, Winter 1988, pp. 434 – 444, also by Seán Ruth is also a useful source. “Middle-Class Activists and Social Change”, Studies, Vol. 94, No. 373, Spring, 2005, pp. 51-60 specifically looks at the psychology of middle-class activists and the importance of understanding the dynamics of class.

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