Visiting Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology
He has taught at the University of San Francisco, National University, Smith School for Social Work, and the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology. Publications include American Psychologist, Psychohistory Review, and the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy.
His interests include the sociology of psychological knowledge, the social construction of the self, and the social, political, and cultural impact of psychological knowledge.
He is also in private practice as a clinical psychologist in Northampton, MA.
Students often approach the field of psychology with a desire to both understand themselves and to help alleviate the suffering of others. Many are also motivated by a desire to work towards social justice. Yet psychology and the mental health disciplines, along with their myriad forms of inquiry and intervention, are inextricably entangled with current social and political arrangements. This course will survey the vast field of psychology from a critical perspective, problematizing and inquiring about psychological methods, practices, and philosophical assumptions with the intent of coming to understand how psychology has come to be such a potent and undetectable sociopolitical force. By inquiring about how psychological knowledge shapes and defines how we come to self-understanding and what we believe it means to be properly human, we will explore how these understandings support or challenge existing arrangements of power and privilege. A prior college-level course in psychology is a prerequisite for enrollment. AP psychology courses are not college level and do not satisfy the prerequisite. Students should be committed to submitting once-weekly written commentary on assigned readings, occasional reaction papers, a mid-term paper, and to initiate and complete an independent final paper project of their own design by the end of the course.
The mental health professions offer a range of methods for the treatment of mental illness and human suffering but there is often little explanation as to what the various treatments are and how it is they are thought to work. A central question this class will pursue is on what basis should one choose a psychotherapist and type of psychotherapy? We will examine what psychotherapy is from a range of perspectives with the intention of developing a moral and ethical framework through which psychotherapeutic practice can be critically understood. We will explore how shifting cultural values, economic changes in health care funding and accessibility, and the modern era's emphasis on functionality, efficiency and parsimony among other factors, contribute to many popular understandings about psychotherapy. Prerequisite: Prior undergraduate background in clinical psychology.