How to transform reality through psychological practice? Frank / Manderbach / Klein / Robles-Lopez
An invitation to discuss the Potentials and Limits of Critical Practice in Psychology – 4 Perspectives from Argentina and Germany
Mainstream psychology is founded on the idea that scientific knowledge should be produced
in experimental settings that abstract the subject from its everyday life. This position
prioritizes basic science over applied science, regarding the practice of psychologists as a
mechanic translation from the laboratory to the real life. In this translation the field of practice
is not a space where knowledge could be produced but a place where experts/scientists tell
practitioners what to do. The results from this conception of science are meager. Reality is
rarely transformed through the recipes prescribed by the experts and practitioners tend to
underestimate the changes they achieve and the knowledge they gain in their everyday
practice. A division between theory and practice is established, which is one of the main
features of the actual crisis of the psychological science. This division is ascertained in
different countries, such as Germany and Argentina. From a Marxist standpoint this gulf
between theory and practice is a major problem to be solved.
Applying theoretical concepts from classical and contemporary Cultural Historical
Psychology as well as German Critical Psychology, the four contributors are going to discuss
questions of social position and agency with regards to their respective praxis, that
encompasses consulting in welfare facilities, psychotherapy and education. This is a work-in-
progress: the presentations are going to be kept brief and the audience is invited to join the
discussion with experiences from their own praxis. The aim is to develop a better “self-
understanding” of possibilities to act within restricted professional contexts as well as
concrete ideas for transformative research projects.
Sascha Frank works as a psychologist (BSc) in a Berlin Psychosocial Contact and Counselling Venue. He finishes his Master in Psychology at the FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany. At past Ferienunis he participated in the Ferienuni organizational team. Before studying Psychology he finished a Magister in History and Social Sciences at the Humboldt University Berlin.
Tamara Klein teaches “History of Psychology” at the Faculty of Psychology of the University
of Buenos Aires, and “Family, couple and group psychotherapy” at the Faculty of Humanities
of the University of Belgrano. She studied Psychology at the University of Buenos Aires,
where nowadays she continues her Ph.D studies with a grant from CONICET (National
Scientific and Technical Research Council). Her research topic is: “The origins of
psychodrama in Argentina (1958-1976)”. Tamara finished her formation as a psychodramatist
in the school founded by Eduardo “Tato” Pavlovsky, and has a background in circus arts
having begun her training when she was a child and then continued it until she graduated as
“Performer in Circus Arts” from the National University of Tres de Febrero. She is member
of ORP (Revolution in Psychology Organization), where she provides her knowledge on arts
to develop cultural-historical psychology.
Nicolás Robles López,
Nicolás Robles López teaches “Genetic Psychology and Epistemology” at the Faculty of
Psychology of the University of Buenos Aires. He is also a teacher at a secondary school and
at teaching training institutes. Nicolás studied Psychology at the University of Buenos Aires
and is finishing the Master of Social Science Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences of thUniversity of Buenos Aires. His research topic is: “Lev Vygotsky’s The Psychology of Art
within the Russian Revolution. A crossing between art and Marxism”. He also studied social
psychology at the First Private School of Social Psychology where he graduated as
“Technician in Social Psychology”. Nicolás is the general director of ORP (Revolution in
Psychology Organization), where he deals with the epistemological and ontological
foundations of cultural-historical psychology.
Till Manderbach, MSc, studied Psychology in Klagenfurt, Austria. His master's thesis dealt
with agency and political orientation in the context of social exclusion and right-wing
populism. He is currently working in a project for adolescents and young adults with special
needs at a social welfare facility in the area of Berlin, Germany.