This excellent article opened my eyes to Liberation Psychology, a discipline which seeks to shine a light on the inherent bias towards the political status quo which is present and goes undetected in mainstream psychology, and one of its main adherents historically, Ignacio Martin-Baró who was murdered in El Salvador by a “counter-insurgency unit” created at the US Army’s School of the Americas.
As a Jesuit priest, Martin-Baró embraced liberation theology in opposition to a theology that oppressed the poor, and as a social psychologist, he believed that imported North American psychology also oppressed the majority of people. Martin-Baró concluded that mainstream psychology either ignored or only paid lip service to social and economic conditions that shape people’s lives.
Ruling elites and power structures – from monarchies to military dictatorships to the US corporatocracy – have routinely used “professionals” to control the population from rebelling against injustices so as to maintain the status quo. While power structures routinely rely on police and armies to subdue populations, they have also used clergy – thus, the need for liberation theology. And today, the US corporatocracy uses mental health professionals to manipulate and medicate people to adjust and thereby maintain the status quo – thus, the need for liberation psychology.