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Filipino psychology, or Sikolohiyang Pilipino, in Filipino, is defined as the philosophical school and psychology rooted on the experience, ideas, and cultural orientation of the Filipinos. It was formalized in 1975 by the Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino (National Association for Filipino Psychology) under the leadership of Virgilio Enriquez, who is regarded by many as the father of Filipino Psychology. Sikolohiyang Pilipino movement is a movement that created to address the colonial background in psychology in the country. It focuses on various themes such as identity and national consciousness, social awareness, and involvement, and it uses indigenous psychology to apply to various fields such as religion, mass media, and health.

The movement has three main areas of protest. First, it is against a psychology that promotes the colonial mentality, and decolonizes the Filipino mind. Second, it is against the imposition of a psychology that is more appropriate to industrialized countries. Finally, the movement is also against the exploitation of the masses through the use of psychology.

Sikolohiyang Pilipino is built on the idea that psychological knowledge can be derived from the culture. It also believes that foreign theories should not be completely abandoned. According to Luis Enriquez, Sikolohiyang Pilipino does not advocate for the removal of foreign ideas from the field of psychology.

In 1978, Enriquez proposed two processes that can be used to indigenize knowledge: indigenization from within and indigenization from without. Indigenization from without involves searching for local equivalents for commonly used psychological concepts. Indigenization from within is a process in which the knowledge and methods related to psychology are derived from the local culture. In the Philippines, Sikolohiyang Pilipino has been working on the concept of cultural revalidation. The process formalizes the knowledge base and the local culture as its source.


Filipino Psychology emerged and grew as part of the nationalist indigenization movement in the Philippines that was formalized in 1975.

The roots of Filipino Psychology can be traced back to the introduction of the American education system in the Philippines. Agustin Alonzo was among the first Filipino psychologists to return from their education in America (in 1925) to teach at the College of Education in the University of the Philippines. This team brought with them psychological knowledge rooted in the American tradition of psychology. Western psychology is taught in schools as universal and scientific despite being generally considered by some as insensitive and inappropriate to Philippine culture. This hegemony of Western American Psychology is referred to as Colonial Psychology.

During the 1960s, many Filipino intellectuals and scholars were already aware of the limitations and incompatibility of Western Psychology; western-oriented approaches in research in particular, had led scholars to paint the Filipino through the "judgmental and impressionistic views of the colonizers."[1] It is with the use of American categories and standards that "the native Filipino invariably suffers from the comparison in not too subtle attempts to put forward Western behavior patterns as models for the Filipino."[2] Early efforts to correct the traditional way of teaching and studying psychology in the 1960s include the translation of foreign materials and the use of the Filipino language as a mode of instruction, however, these efforts fail to address the problems brought about by colonial psychology as these efforts were sparse and not collaborated upon by psychologists.

It was only in the 1970s that a concerted effort to address colonial psychology in the form of Filipino Psychology took place. Filipino Psychology, along with advances in Filipinology and similarly History's Pantayong Pananaw, was led by Virgilio Enriquez, Prospero Covar, and Zeus A. Salazar in the indigenization movement of their respective fields.

Enriquez returned from his studies to the Philippines in 1971, and established the Philippine Psychology Research House (now Philippine Psychology Research and Training House, PPRTH). In 1975, the very first annual national conference on Filipino Psychology was held by the Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino (PSSP) marking the formalization of Filipino Psychology.

Basic orientation and context

Filipino Psychology is described as largely postcolonial and as a liberation psychology. There are even some who had even argued that it is a local variant of Critical Psychology since it served as an emancipatory social science since it aims to decolonize academic neocolonialism.

Filipino psychology is usually thought of as a branch of Asian psychology, the placement, determined primarily on culture. However, there is an ongoing debate on the make-up of Philippine culture, because this will generally determine whether Philippine Psychology is to be placed under the realms of either Asian psychology or Eastern psychology.

Historical Threads of Philippine Psychological Thought

In 1985, historian Zeus A.Salazar identified four different traditions upon which Philippine psychology can be traced:

Basic tenets

Core value or Kapwa (shared inner self)

Kapwa is the core construct of Filipino Psychology. Kapwa has two categories, Ibang Tao and Hindi Ibang Tao.

Pivotal interpersonal value

Linking socio-personal value

Accommodative surface values

Confrontative surface values

Societal values

Approaches and methods

Approaches, or lapit, and methods, or pamamaraan, in Filipino Psychology are different from that of Western Psychology. In Filipino Psychology, the subjects, or participants, called kalahok, are considered as equal in status to the researcher.

The participants are included in the research as a group, and not as individuals – hence, an umpukan, or natural cluster, is required to serve as the participants, per se. The researcher is introduced to a natural cluster by a tulay (bridge), who is a part of the umpukan and is a well-respected man in the community.

Some of the approaches and methods used in Filipino Psychology are:


Filipino psychopathology, or sikopatolohiya in Filipino, from Spanish psicopatologia, is the study of abnormal psychology in the Filipino context. Several mental disorders have been identified that culture-bound syndromes, and can therefore be found only in the Philippines or in other societies with which Filipinos share cultural connections. Examples of such are:

Manifestation of universal mental disorders

Filipino psychopathology also refers to the different manifestations of mental disorders in Filipino people. One example of such is the manifestation of depression and schizophrenia in Filipinos, which are, for the most part, less violent.


See also


  1. ^ Enriquez, V.G. (1992). From Colonial to Liberation Psychology. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. p.57
  2. ^ Enriquez, V.G. (1992). From Colonial to Liberation Psychology. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. p.57
  3. ^ Salazar, Z. (2018). Four Filiations in Philippine Psychological Thought. Handbook of Filipino Psychology, p. 38.
  4. ^ Bostrom, Lynn C. (1968). "Filipino Bahala na and American fatalism". Silliman Journal. 3rd quarter, 1968: 399–413.

Further reading