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

Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. Some further materials.

1) On our videos page, we have added an audio recording of an interview with Martín-Baró from 1988.  In it he speaks of the circumstances under which he was working, including a wider political analysis of the Salvadorean conflict, the impact of torture and repression, and his survival of terrorist attacks on the University.  Thanks to Brinton Lykes for making this available.

2) Brinton is also the co-founder of the Martín-Baró Fund, which makes funding available to “grassroots groups throughout the world who are challenging institutional repression and confronting the mental health consequences of violence and injustice in their communities.”  Their current newsletter “The Just Word” has several articles (including a rare piece in English byElizabeth Lira from Chile) about Nacho and his impact, you can download it here.

3) Bruce Levine, another network member has also published an article to mark the 25th anniversary of Martín-Baró’s murder.  He reflects on the collusion of the American (sic) Psychological Association with the torture programme in occupied Guantánamo, (depicted in this film) noting that

“Liberation psychology – which Martin-Baró helped popularize – challenges adjustment to an unjust societal status quo and energizes oppressed people to resist injustices.”

You can read Bruce’s piece in “Truth Out” here.

4) Finally, about 12 years ago, when, with some difficulty, I got my copies of the two Cover A and Ivolumes of Martín-Baró’s “Psicología desde Centroamérica”, I translated the prologues and summaries for my own use.  A revised version of my translation of the Prologue to volume 1, “Acción e Ideología” is available on request.  This prologue gives a very clear account of his project to reconstruct social psychology, from the perspective of the peoples of Central America.  Please treat these notes for what they are, an initial translation without any review or other checks.  It is a great shame that more of Nacho’s work has not been translated into other languages to give a wider audience access to the breadth and depth of his work.  The translation is available, HERE, for personal use.



Hearing Voices* newsletter

Mary Watkins writes:
This newsletter is entitled “Hearing Voices.*”. We intend this in two senses: in our
commitment to hear the multiple voices of psyche, communities, and earth –
particularly those that are marginalized; and in raising our own voices that are
informed by what we have closely listened to and witnessed in the world and in
ourselves for social justice, peace and sustainability.
The newsletter contains a variety of work from the Liberation Psychology inspired programme at Pacifica Graduate Institute, USA.
Read the newsletter (3.9 MB, .pdf)

* not to be confused with the Hearing Voices network MB


Responding to contemporary crises: an ethical action framework.

This is the text of the lecture given by Mark Burton, recipient of the 2013 British Psychological Society award for promoting equality of opportunity, at the BPS Annual Conference, Harrogate, Yorkshire, 10th April, 2013.  The title is Responding to contemporary crises: an ethical action framework.  Maybe it doesn’t quite offer such a framework, but the lecture does try to explore some of the factors that make this necessary. It focuses in two contemporary crises, recent scandals in health and social welfare and the ecological crisis of climate change.  It introduces the concept of ideology-action-structure complexes and links the hegemonic ones to the overall ideology-action-structure complex of coloniality, introduced from 1492.  It contrasts professional ethical codes with the liberation ethics of Enrique Dussel and draws on Maritza Montero’s characterisation of the new liberatory and decolonising social science paradigm, adding an emphasis on the role of the public intellectual.  A more extended treatment of some of the themes can be found in the working paper: The mess we’re in.


Martín-Baró in English?

There has been recent discussion on the openlibpsy discussion list about the possibility of

Ignacio Martín-Baró photo with guitar

Ignacio Martín-Baró

translation of more of Ignacio Martín-Baró’s works into English.  Sadly this doesn’t seem to be an immediate possibility, but we have just posted two interviews from 1985 and 1987 on the documents page. [Initially there were some problems with the 2 files but this now corrected – 9/4/2013 3.16pm BST.]  If you have any material in English by Martín-Baró then please do share it.
Why not join the discussion list and join in the discussion?



Enrique Dussel Website is online again

This site:  is an excellent resource for this important philosopher whose work is so relevant to liberation psychology.   The article I published with Jorge Mario Flores on the implications of his work for psychology has many references to articles and books available online on this site – with quite a lot in English.  You can follow these still, but you now need to replace “” with “” in the addresses.  The gateway to both Spanish and English versions of the site is at   Inevitably there is a lot more available to you if you can read Spanish (and actually Dussel is a very clear writer so it’s worth the effort).

Enrique Dussel at Maya Fire Ceremenony, 2001 Liberation Psychology Congress, Guatemala City: an accidental photo.

Enrique Dussel at Maya Fire Ceremony, 2001 Liberation Psychology Congress, Guatemala City: an accidental photo.


New paper on documents page

We’ve just posted, on the documents page, a further contribution  to the Round Table at International Congress of Community Psychology, Barcelona on Psychology for Liberation: Contemporary Currents, June 2012:-   Catalina Argüello:  Disaster Prevention and Response


New on

Some new material on on our documents page.

1)  A bibliography on Liberation Psychologies kindly provided by Mary Watkins- we aim to add to this – so your suggestions are very welcome.

2) Notes from Taiwo Afuape on the African contribution to Liberation Psychology and Community Psychology.  This is the first of the contributions from the round table: constructing liberation psychology that took place at the Barcelona International Community Psychology Congress or Conference. See also María Castro’s review of Taiwo’s 2011 book – Power Resistance and Liberation in Therapy with Survivors of Trauma (London: Routledge.)

3) What do we understand by Liberation Psychology – a typed-up rendering of the collective synthesis that we made at the participatory session that Tod Sloan and I facilitated, also at Barcelona. (Click on the title above or on the picture below to go to the pdf file).
click for the pdf




New Readings About Ignacio Martín-Baró

From the Martín-Baró Fund website:

New Readings 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.

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)

Thanks to Nelson for this link.  I’ve posted this as soon as I got it and so far have only read Nelson’s own article which I can highly recommend.

This material also added to the Sources page.


New Documents page

See the new documents page, with a very interesting article by Adrianne Aron and a useful introduction by  Wayne Dysktra.