Psychologist Brian Hughes Discusses His New Book, “A Conceptual History of Psychology”

By David Tuller, DrPH

My friend and colleague Brian Hughes, a professor of psychology at the University of Galway in Ireland, recently published his latest book“A Conceptual History of Psychology: The Mind Through Time.” Rather than dating the field of psychology to the creation and growth of university departments of psychology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Professor Hughes traces its roots back to intellectual traditions dating back thousands of years.

Here’s a description from Bloomsbury, the publisher:

“‘A Conceptual History of Psychology’ charts the development of psychology from its foundations in ancient philosophy to the dynamic scientific field it is today. Emphasizing psychology’s diverse global heritage, the book explains how, across centuries, human beings came to use reason, empiricism, and science to explore each other’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours...

The book skillfully interweaves conceptual and historical issues to illustrate the contemporary relevance of history to the discipline. It shows how changing historical and cultural contexts have shaped the way in which modern psychology conceptualizes individuals, brains, personality, gender, cognition, consciousness, health, childhood, and relationships.”

Professor Hughes and I recently talked about his reasons for writing the book and how it differs from other histories of psychology. We also discussed why the belief that pathophysiological processes and not “unhelpful” or “dysfunctional” beliefs are at the root of ME and long Covid and should not be dismissed as engaging in “mind-body dualism”—the standard knee-jerk response from the usual suspects in this field.