ISCHP’s Aims

A pursuit of social justice in the topics we study and the methods we use.

An active commitment to equity, transparency and inclusion in the way we run the Society and its events and projects.

A truly international and multicultural spirit of collaboration and co-operation.

An active avoidance of hierarchy and a determination to break down barriers that may exclude individuals and groups from full participation in the Society’s endeavours.

Origins of ISCHP

In July 1999, the First International Conference on Critical and Qualitative Approaches to Health Psychology was held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Over 120 critical health psychologists from 20 countries and every continent on the globe attended the conference. It was agreed that there was an urgent need to establish a network to begin to connect those health psychologists throughout the world who were interested in developing a more critical approach to the subject.

In August 2001, the Second International Conference was held in Birmingham, United Kingdom. At this conference, it was decided to establish the International Society of Critical Health Psychology (ISCHP).

Members of the Society espouse a variety of theoretical and methodological viewpoints. However, as with other critical psychologists, they share a common dissatisfaction with the positivist assumptions of much of mainstream psychology and its ignorance of broader social and political issues. Instead, they share an interest in various critical ideas (e.g. social constructionism, post-modernism, feminism, marxism, etc.) and various qualitative and participatory methods of research (e.g. discourse analysis, grounded theory, action research, ethnography, etc.) and their relevance to understanding health and illness. Further, they share an awareness of the social, political and cultural dimensions of health and illness (e.g. poverty, racism, sexism, political oppression, etc.) and an active commitment to reducing human suffering and promoting improved quality of life, especially among those sections of society most in need.

ISCHP’s Financial Principles

So far we have required no membership fee: a strategy adopted to avoid the costs and demands of collecting subscriptions. Currently the Society is run on a minimal-cost basis, and our income is generated via a small levy on fees collected for our conferences and events.

The assets and income of the ISCHP shall at all times be used solely in furtherance of its above-mentioned aims and principles. No portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the Executive Committee or to the members of the Society except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the Society.

In the event of the ISCHP being dissolved, the amount that remains after such dissolution and the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities shall be transferred to another organisation with similar purposes which is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members.

Read our latest blog posts

  • Weaving Together
    By Brett Scholz Nankeri nanggi / good day During border closures in 2020, I remember feeling both more acutely unable to get anywhere I might want or need to be, and more in touch with where I was (very privileged to be on the largely COVID-free Ngunnawal and Ngambri country with lots of open space…
  • Unmasking Jack S. Hatcher
    By Kerry Chamberlain Some years ago, Jack S. Hatcher* published a (rather unusual) article in Qualitative Research in Psychology (Hatcher, 2011). Who was this person, and how did this come about?
  • A Case for Absurdism in Critical Health Psychology
    By Beck Lowe It was during my second undergraduate year of Drama & Performance Studies over a decade ago – performing a dinner party scene where no one ate, and the characters became increasingly agitated for no apparent reason – that I first discovered my love of absurdism.
  • Career File: Yasmina Lotfi
    Yasmina Lotfi is a graduate assistant and a Ph.D. student in health psychology at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Her thesis aims to explore how women who have undergone female genital cutting (FGC) construct their sexuality in relation to different cultural contexts. To this end, she is conducting qualitative research in Switzerland and Egypt.…
  • Career File: Beck Lowe
    Beck Lowe is a PhD student at the University of Worcester, UK. Her work focuses on the reciprocal relationship between individual psychological wellbeing and dominant philosophical beliefs, and political issues that are formed in the process. Priding herself on an eclectic career background, Beck graduated with a first in Drama & Performance Studies (University of…
  • 2023 ISCHP Award Winners
    The following awards were presented at the 13th Biennial ISCHP Conference in Rancagua, Chile (26th – 28th July, 2023).

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Book Series: Critical Approaches to Health

The Critical Approaches to Health series seeks to present critical, inter-disciplinary books that present psychological, social and cultural issues related to health. Each volume in the series takes a critical approach to a particular health issue or topic, and is written to have relevance for students and researchers across the social sciences, and for practitioners.