Critical Psychology, Social Psychology, Psychotherapy

Skeptical Psychology

Head of the Department of Psychology at MUNI (Czech Republic)

Zbynek Vybiral is a Czech psychologist, lecturer and currently the Head of the Department of Psychology at Masaryk University. He conducts research in the areas of Psychotherapy, Verbal Communication and Critical Psychology. Vybiral lectures about Psychotherapy, Critical Psychology, theoretical and applied Social Psychology and Counseling Psychology (with an emphasis on marriage and family). Between the years 2002 and 2010 he was the coordinator of the Czech branch of the international E-Learning project SEPTIMUS, pertaining to psychotherapeutic theory, and conducted research in Internet communication. He is a member of the Society of Psychotherapy research.
He is author of ten books. In the “Psychologie jinak” (Psychology Otherwise), as the first critical book in the Czech psychology, he explores many facets of scientific weakness of the traditional discipline, like overestimated traditional typology, dichotomisation, simplifications, naïve realism, and other biases. As the editor and co-author of the book “Soucasna psychoterapie” (Contemporary Psychotherapy) offers widespread view of the field of psychological treatments, included some fringe and risky approaches. Among the Czech psychologists, he is a leading critical figure, who criticizes unethical or misleading practice of some colleagues in public discourse. He repeatedly debunked many false or simplified claims in pop-psychology, counselling practice and psychotherapy. He has opposed the spreading of holding therapy in the Czech Republic and protested against its support given by official Czech Psychological Association. Consequently, he decided to step out of the National Psychology Association because of the continued support of the holding therapy. He encouraged several public, and academic discussions focused on other risky “treatments” like “family constellations”, or “pure school fanaticism” in psychotherapy. Recently, he has written entry „psychotherapy“ in Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology. He translated Paul Watzlawick’s books in the past.    
In 1984 he acquired his doctorate degree from Charles University in Psychology and in Czech Language. After continued work in the field, he acquired another doctorate degree in 1999 in Clinical Psychology at Palacky University. He has been lecturing at Masaryk University since 2000, receiving tenure in 2011.
He was Editor-in-Chief of the psychotherapeutic journal Konfrontace for 16 years and for the journal Psychotherapy for three years, currently residing on the board of the later journal.


Talk Title

Why Psychology Is Not Only in a Replication Crisis

Why popular and unscientific claims in psychology and in psychotherapy come to be accepted as true? In the paper “familiarity backfire effect” is mentioned. Other process is called as “life advices from The Little Prince”. Further explanations for popular simplifications are searched and suggested. The paper is focused very concretely on several examples, like Albert Mehrabian’s “the 7%-38%-55% rule“, bystander effect, “Marshmallow test” of delayed gratification, behavioural priming or seductive allure of neuro-explanations in today’s psychology. The today’s psychology stands not only within replication crisis, but also within scientific crisis. The historical roots in early psychoanalysis or in some Maslow’s and Eysenck’s statements and mission are mentioned, as well. Critical psychology and critical scientific thinking offer several explanations for so widespread pop-psychology and pop-therapies, which should be repeatedly discussed.