Why Psychology Should Be Taught in Every School


Humanist psychologists strikingly identify globalization, health, ecology, and spirituality as areas of contemporary and future human problematic behavior, and point to a large population of depressiveness worldwide.

Do you also think humanity hasn’t yet found a good recipe for peace, justice, and happiness? In fact, it is our all aspiration to make the best possible contribution to the well-being of all. Just, how to do even better as there is obviously still a lot of potential? One may understandingly give up hope in the face of the historically everlasting conflicting human nature that is perpetuation greed and violence causing so much suffering.

There is hope, though!

The psychological understanding of human behavior equips us with practical strategies to relief mental tensions and become more mindful, all helping to direct our “dark side” towards non-harmful and moral attitudes for the better of each of us individually and society as a whole. Just think how you’re already successfully transforming destructive emotions such as anger and aggression into positive energy in many situations, be it in sport, in professional conduct, or social relationships. How much more would be possible if we more systematically learned the science and art of psychology!

Does that sound unrealistic to you? Maybe yes, because we don’t make it an educational priority. If psychology were taught consistently from early years on, a more conscious personal and, as a result, social development of human behavior would be the result, protecting people and the environment from inhuman and unnatural conditions.

It’s never too late to increase emotional awareness and mental fitness, and to adjust life to one’s real purpose, based on healthy self-esteem, courage, intrinsic motivation, and self-control. The biggest impact we can make for next generations is helping to acquire and apply the knowledge of how to lead a happy, fulfilled, and inspiring life. Psychological progress will help the evolution of the vastly destructive behavior of the ‘homo economicus’ towards a more compassionate, thriving, and sustainable ‘homo mentalis.’

It won’t be technological progress, but rather a changed human attitude and behavior from each individual that will change and save the world. Be a role model today, and a hero tomorrow.

  • I agree with you on the principal, unfortunately psychology is a failure as a science. It is mostly opinion based on faulty data. Spirituality should remain unconfined by the constraints of psychology. Just look at the solutions they have brought into the world in recent times– drugs(millions of children subjected to stimulants and antidepressants), shock treatments, institutionalization, brain washing, etc.
    Though religion has its faults, it is still and should remain the playing field of spirituality.

    • Hi Richard. Many thanks for your comment, much appreciated. Good points and important to hear such concerns. Psychology is still a relatively young science and as you say, the assurance in terms of quality data, replications, and reviews has to continue to improve.

      I agree with you that one-sided bio-medical methods such as over-reliance on pharmacological treatment are not state of the art. Indeed, I think the nowadays good practice of whole person (biopsychosocial) approaches including mindfulness techniques (also linking spirituality) is a promising way to follow.

      For education I think, rather than the clinical psychology, social psychology is providing most value in terms of understanding human behavior individually, in groups, and society. I find it beneficial to assume an interdisciplinary perspective, why spirituality for me is a field beyond religion. Thank you and all the best!

  • Very true. Developing positive ways to transmute negative energy is the way to go. Emotional awareness is also critical.
    We’d be much better off if we developed traits like empathy, kindness, warmth and generosity.
    By exercising these traits we are sure to have a more positive outlook on life.
    Awesome post 🙂

  • totally agree, but then we come to the base of how our society functions and what matters and making awareness a subject would clash with most of it ?

    • Thank you for your comment, much appreciated! Absolutely, that’s why psychology or philosophy isn’t taught regularly in schools. We get prepared to function in our capitalist society, to economically contribute, but not necessarily to maximally thrive as human beings. As it doesn’t make happy many people, this is changeable. Either the social system is changed and people learn socially, adapt to it (as they do today too), or enough individuals change, so the system starts to change. It’s a bit the hen and egg question:-). We should create awareness on both fronts: being an individual role model bottom-up, and trying to (politically) influence society top-down. All the best!

  • Intriguing discussion, Mathias! Indeed, we might know how to read one another’s behaviors better if psychology were studied at all schools.

    • Many thanks, Christy, for your deep forward pass! You’re right, and the big benefit from understanding each other better, Marie Curie put it that way: “Nothing (me: or nobody) in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” I wish you a great day!

  • Very compelling and completely agree. Through psychology, I believe much can be learnt about ourselves and those around us. While Psychology certainly has its flaws, so do many sciences- it is the process of peer-review that makes a scientific hypothesis, a scientific fact and psychology has a way to go on that front. Thank for the post! Looking forward to more

    • Hi Olivia. Thank you very much for your valuable comment! I fully agree and you’re right in pointing to quality assurance as a critical point. Besides that I think holistic approaches and interdisciplinary collaborations are also important factors for the progress of psychology as a science providing integrated everyday applications for the benefit of society and the well-being of all. Happy to be connected here! All the best

  • Psychology-class or Religion-class…yep, I favor Psychology too. As a matter of fact, I enrolled in a study a few weeks ago; Existential Well-being Counseling: A person-centered Experiential Approach. Subjects as Positive Psychology (without neglecting the negative), Well-being attitudes (f.i. the importance of gratitude) and the value of spirituality (a multi-cultural approach) and for me so important; the holistic view…definitely should be integrated at school.

    • Hi, Patty. Oh, that is excellent news! The study program as you describe it sounds great. I’m sure that it will be a good investment with a lot of return for you and everybody. We can always learn more about how to make a positive impact. But most important is that we want to do so; I’m not surprised to hear your further commitment to proof being such a ‘beautiful soul’ (to use your term:-)). Thank you

      • Ah, Mathias..you always make me blush 😉 Indeed, the personal-centered approach is what I needed right now: so far, the feelings of confirmation that I am on the right path are priceless. And for me also the study provides the right words/terminology to put into words, what I have felt and visioned all my life.
        And I have to add; you and your vision inspire(d) me to keep walking on this path. So, once again, let me tell you how grateful I am our paths crossed.

  • I would like psychology and sociology taught in our younger years at school, as both are contrasting to an extend but yet compliment one another with there perspectives. Where I come from psychology can be taught in 5th year. Regards

    • Hi. Thanks for your comment. I agree, especially social psychology may be beneficial to prepare children for life, why it’s good to hear your example of early awareness / possibilities of such topics. Would be interesting to get more specific examples on how psychology for early school years is (or should be) applied in practice! All the best to you and your interesting blog:-)

  • It is very much introduction level aka founding fathers of each paradigm and then touches on theories. That being said, you school of thought has president over another or researched further in depth however it is 5th grade (age 15/16yrs). It’s a start…regards

    • Thanks for your reply! Sounds indeed like a good start! I’m very much interested in promoting an appropriate level of (social) psychology (rather than politics) at any school age. All the best!

  • I liked this upbeat approach to psychology. I agreed with your final expressed thought of how we can finally reach peace. Very meaningful message here. Smiles, Robin

    • Hi Robin. Thank you for your kind feedback and encouragement. I am sure such an educational approach will soon be implemented by progressive policy makers. Without fundamental change in thinking and behavior there is no fundamental change in the level conflicts and of peace. So we need big changes:-) Interesting and fulfilling to be part of! Thank you and all the best!

  • Fascinating subject! I joke with a friend that the human brain should come with an owner’s manual and operations guide.

    I think your notion of universal education in psychology will one day be largely realized — albeit it might be quite sometime before that happens. Still, as the psychological sciences and neurosciences mature, I believe the advantages of such an education will become obvious to many.

    I’m intrigued by Sam Harris’ suggestion that there ought to be science of spirituality. Indeed, such a science might already be emerging.

    Great post!

    • Thank you very much for your kind and valuable comment. I agree with you that there is a lot of progress. I like your mentioning of the link between psychology and spirituality. For me, this is exactly the key. We don’t need to wait until neuroscience has more physiological findings until psychology can be made part of core education. Psychology should not teach only a materialist understanding of psyche but rather a human one in the sense of human consciousness inclusive the probably always remaining spiritual part that is not explainable by biochemical processes. For me to teach psychology at all school levels should be triggered by the “why” rather than the “what,” the former being about human behavior increasing peace and well-being individually and collectively.