Dr. Heather Macdonald came to Lesley University after years of practice as a clinical psychologist whose work involved community outreach, child assessment, and individual therapeutic services to children and families in the foster care system and with youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Gang resistance initiatives, youth violence prevention and cultural psychology have been long standing areas of professional interests. As a community based clinical psychologist and a person who has lived in Asia and Africa, she has always sought to understand mental health issues within the context of their respective social, economic and political environments and believes that groups and communities are the preferred sites of intervention.
Heather’s work in the urban environment and abroad has led to scholarly research on the interface between culture, social justice and psychotherapy. Her research draws upon a cross-fertilization of ideas and disciplines including cultural phenomenology and theories of embodiment. Her most recent articles include: Issues of Translation, Mistrust and Co-Collaboration in Therapeutic Assessment and Levinas in The Hood: Portable Social Justice. Both articles consider the danger of imposing overarching psychological universals to specific cultural environments. She is now researching and writing a paper on culture, history, memory and the role of ancestral warriors in South African politics.
Heather is also the co-director of Theoretical, Historical, and Philosophical Psychology Research Lab at Lesley wherein she co-facilitates a team of undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate researchers in the study of multiple domains of the psychological discipline including (but not limited to) critical psychology, moral developmental theory, intersubjectivity and relational psychoanalysis, hermeneutical and dialogical psychologies, and the interfacing of religious/theological and psychological theories of selfhood. The lab membership is interdisciplinary and inter-institutional, with members from Harvard, Boston University, Lesley University, and Assumption College.
Heather holds a BA from Chapman University, a MA from Seattle University and a PsyD from Pacific University