Tod Sloan teaches seminars on the social context of counseling, dialogue practices, social theory, advocacy and activism. He identifies professionally as a community psychologist and is an internationally-recognized advocate for critical psychology.
Sloan’s current scholarship involves developing systems to support activists and change agents in grassroots ecological and social justice organizations. He focuses on how activists can be more effective in movements for real democracy and economic justice. For example, see the Facebook group OccuPsy: Critical Psychology for Decolonization and the Cascadia Center for Social Ecology. He also helps organize counselors and therapists to support each other in making human service agencies more effective and humane - see Portland Mental Health Workers Collective. Recently, he was instrumental in the founding of Portland’s Social Justice Action Center.
Sloan served from 2005 to 2015 as the founding co-editor of the Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, which is officially sponsored by Psychologists for Social Responsibility and Counselors for Social Justice. He also edits the Palgrave book series called Critical Theory and Practice in Psychology and the Human Sciences.
Sloan was originally trained in personality theory, counseling, and psychodynamic psychotherapy at the University of Michigan. He taught psychology at the University of Tulsa from 1982 to 2001, where he founded the Center for Community Research and Development in 1998 and served as department chair from 1999 to 2001. From 2001 to 2005, Sloan worked as the national co-coordinator for Psychologists for Social Responsibility, an advocacy organization that mobilizes and equips psychologists for peacebuilding and social justice work. He joined Lewis and Clark’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling as Professor in 2004 and served as Chair of the Department of Counseling Psychology from 2004 to 2010.
Sloan is the author of two books: Life Choices: Understanding Dilemmas and Decisions and Damaged Life: The Crisis of the Modern Psyche. In these books, he develops a psychodynamic perspective on ideological processes in personal decisions and social relations. In particular, he focuses on issues related to consumerism, citizenship, and relationships as well as on the psychosocial conditions for sustainable development and deeper democracy.
As an international advocate for a perspective known as critical psychology, which exposes the possible negative effects of scientistic psychology on societal development both in postmodern society and in the global South, he has been working with colleagues to develop relevant participatory modes of psychosocial practice. In this vein, he edited the book Critical Psychology: Voices for Change, a collection of reflections by critical psychologists on the relations between psychology and social change.
Sloan is fluent in Spanish and has been a visiting professor in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and has taught seminars in Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala. Fruits of this work include a volume of the Journal of Social Issues on “Psychology for the Third World,” co-edited with Maritza Montero; and Psychology and Poverty: From Global Perspective to Local Practice, co-edited with Stuart Carr.