Academics at Prescott College

Concentration:
Psychology

Concentration:
Psychology

Conventional Western approaches to psychology generally define the field of psychologyas the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. From this perspective, there is a large body of literature that serves to translate between the inner realm of the mind and the external conditions of the world. The term "psychology", however, is derived from the original Greek "psyche," which primarily signified the soul. "Logos," also derived from Greek, referred to the act of collecting or gathering together. From an historical perspective, then, psychology is an inquiry or gathering together into the nature of the soul.

This perspective suggests that psychological inquiry should be reflective, concerned with ultimate motivations, and address the question of meaning. In the interest of developing a
form of psychology that is meaningful, relevant, and responsible for the 21st century, the Human Development and Psychology Program begins with an appreciation of the deep historical roots of our inquiry into human nature. Faculty members facilitate students' exploration of the emerging connections between psychology, systems theory, and ecology. Even while students are establishing their own psychological independence, they are encouraged to understand and appreciate emerging theories about psychological interdependence. Collectively, the psyche is also profoundly shaped by family, cultural, and social conditions; so students are encouraged to complete courses in family systems, gender, culture, social justice, philosophy, politics, and religion.

Our psychology courses offer opportunities to study both traditional and emerging dimensions of the field. Some courses present both foundational studies based in the conventional research literature, as well as interpretations of human nature inspired by systemic, ecological, and spiritual perspectives. Other courses provide opportunities to apply conventional psychology to the challenges of social and environmental justice.