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.
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.
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 brake down barriers that may exclude individuals and groups from full participation in the society's endeavours.
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 levies 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.