Uncovering Racial Bias in Mainstream Psychology and Therapy

Exposing Racism in Colonial and Eurocentric Mainstream Psychology and Therapy

Exposing Racism in Colonial and Eurocentric Mainstream Psychology and Therapy: A Critical Examination of Mental Health Approaches


The field of mental health has long been shaped by dominant paradigms rooted in colonial and Eurocentric perspectives, often perpetuating biases that lead to systemic racism. These historical influences have contributed to the marginalization of diverse voices and experiences within psychological theories and therapeutic practices. This article seeks to shed light on how colonial and Eurocentric foundations have inadvertently facilitated the perpetuation of racism in mainstream mental health approaches.

Colonial and Eurocentric Influences:

The development of mainstream psychology coincided with the colonial expansion of European powers. Eurocentric perspectives were  considered the norm, leading to the marginalization and exclusion of indigenous knowledge systems and cultural diversity. This Eurocentrism has influenced the way mental health issues are understood and treated, with indigenous and non-Western practices frequently being dismissed or pathologized.

The Implications of Racism:

Colonial and Eurocentric biases in mental health models have resulted in the misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment of individuals from diverse backgrounds. The dominance of Western diagnostic categories and therapy methods perpetuates cultural biases, reinforcing racial stereotypes and preventing holistic healing. The systemic racism ingrained in these paradigms contributes to the disparities in mental health outcomes experienced by marginalized communities.

Eurocentric Individualism and Ego-Centric Models:

The individualistic and ego-centric nature of many mainstream psychological models contrasts starkly with collectivist cultural values held by many communities. Eurocentric individualism prioritizes personal achievement and self-improvement, often disregarding the interconnectedness of individuals with their communities and environment. This approach can undermine the importance of cultural context and social identity in understanding mental health.

Challenging the Status Quo:

To confront racism in mental health approaches, professionals must critically assess the biases present in their practice. Acknowledging the limitations of existing models and the historical roots of racism is the first step. Cultural humility, embracing diverse perspectives, and integrating non-Western healing practices are crucial components of a more inclusive and equitable therapeutic approach.

Integrating Indigenous and Non-Western Wisdom:

In combating racism within mental health, professionals must actively incorporate indigenous and non-Western wisdom into therapeutic approaches. These knowledge systems offer holistic and culturally sensitive frameworks that honor interconnectedness, spirituality, and community. By embracing these practices, therapists can counteract the Eurocentric biases that have perpetuated systemic racism.


Exposing racism in colonial and Eurocentric mainstream psychology and therapy is a critical endeavor for advancing equity and inclusivity in mental health care. Mental health professionals have a responsibility to challenge the inherent biases in existing models, embrace diverse perspectives, and integrate indigenous and non-Western wisdom. By recognizing the impact of colonial and Eurocentric foundations on mental health approaches, the field can take significant strides toward dismantling systemic racism and providing more culturally sensitive and equitable care.

References: (References are provided in APA style)

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