Psychology and Sexuality

Historical and ongoing forms of oppression have resulted in various inequalities, and these are of significant concern to psychologists who focus on social justice. One major issue is the reliance on Western methods to understand the mental health of people from diverse backgrounds in terms of race, gender, and sexuality. This article introduces a different approach based on African-centered ideas called Optimal Psychology or Optimal Conceptual Theory (OCT). This approach helps us better understand the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of oppressed groups, like African-descendant members of the LGBQ community.

Optimal Psychology offers a more culturally sensitive way to explore different viewpoints and how they affect mental health. We showcase this using a case study from the US. In this study, we highlight how OCT can be used to provide supportive psychological treatments that both respect cultural backgrounds and challenge the typical Western-centric approaches, sometimes referred to as ‘WEIRD psychology’.