Queer Humanism: Toward an Epistemology of Socially Just, Culturally Responsive Change

Kristopher M. Goodrich, Melissa Luke, Aaron J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Queer theory is a postmodern critical theory that grew out of the women’s, gay, and queer studies’ movements of the 1990s. As a critical theory, queer theory explores the disconnect between biological sex, gender, desire, identity, and culture, and how the discrepancies between each can speak to the multiple forms of reality present within the world, and instability of binary positions. Although queer theory has been widely adopted in fields such as literature, philosophy, and critical cultural studies, little attention has been given to this theory within the fields of counseling and psychology. This article will begin by presenting queer theory and describing the tenets, followed by a discussion of how the tenets of queer theory align within the humanistic paradigm within counseling and psychology. The authors will explore the utility and application of queer theory into humanistic counseling practice, education, and discuss the possibility for future research. A pronounced focus of the article will center on the social justice implications of queer humanistic work, and the utility of the theory to promote self-exploration, holistic integration, and validation of all clients’ human potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-623
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Humanistic Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • counseling
  • humanism
  • psychology
  • queer theory
  • social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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