International Society of Critical Health Psychology

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The International Society of Critical Health Psychology (ISCHP) is a society devoted to debate about critical ideas within health psychology and developing new ways of health psychology practice. ISCHP's members commonly make use of qualitative methods and participatory research methods to address social, political and cultural issues within health psychology.

The venue for the 2019 ISCHP conference will be Bratislava in Slovakia from the evening of Sunday 14th July 2019 to late afternoon on Wednesday 17th July. More details will be posted on the conference website.

Late afternoon sun over Bradford during ISCHP 2013


In July 1999, the First International Conference on Critical and Qualitative Approaches to Health Psychology was held in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, organised by Michael Murray. 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, UK. The International Society of Critical Health Psychology was established at this conference. The founding committee members include (alphabetically) Kerry Chamberlain, Sue Dalton, Antonia Lyons, David Marks, Michael Murray, Alan Radley, Wendy Stainton Rogers and Chris Stephens. Currently, the Chair is Gareth Treharne, the Vice-Chair is Poul Rohleder, the Treasurer is Chris Stephens, the Secretary is Abigail Locke.


ISCHP has the following aims:

  • Encourage, enable and disseminate research and scholarship in critical health psychology and provide opportunities for debate and discussion in this field.
  • Provide a forum for scrutinising, challenging and questioning what is said and done in the purported pursuit of promoting and improving "health" by health psychologists and others.
  • Operate as a community of scholars (in the widest definition of that term and absolutely not restricted to people with formal affiliations to a university or other academic body), offering each other mutual support in the pursuit of critical approaches to health.
  • In particular, nurture and help early-career, young and emerging scholars in the field, and engage with and learn from communities and groups conventionally excluded or under-represented.

Members of the Society take 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 welcomes membership from anyone who is aligned with its aims, regardless of disciplinary affiliation. ISCHP has members throughout the world, who are mostly critical health psychology researchers, but members also come from other fields of psychology, as well as from the sociology and anthropology of health, illness and medicine, health sciences, nursing, media studies, communication studies, cultural studies and other disciplines. As of 2015 the society has approximately 850 members in over 36 countries. Details on how to join ISCHP and thus receive the email updates can be found on ISCHP's website.

Blog, Facebook page, and Twitter profile[edit]

ISCHP has a blog to keep members up to date on current issues in critical health psychology and activities of the Society. ISCHP also has an official Facebook page and an official Twitter profile, on which topical updates are posted about events, jobs and studies.


The Society organizes a biennial conference. These conferences have been held in: St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada (1999); Birmingham, UK (2001); Auckland, New Zealand (2003); Sheffield, UK (2005); Boston, USA (2007); Lausanne, Switzerland (2009); Adelaide, Australia (2011); Bradford, UK (2013); Grahamstown, South Africa (2015); and most recently in Loughborough, UK (2017). An archive of previous conference abstracts can be found on ISCHP's website. The next conference will be in Bratislava, Slovakia, from the evening of Sunday 14th July 2019 to Wednesday 17th July. Details about abstract submission, keynote speakers, and other aspects of the 2019 conference can be found on the conference website.



External links[edit]