Manuel Capella

Manuel Capella

PhD Student at University College London, UK
BSc. Clinical Psychology (University of Guayaquil, Ecuador)
MSc. Social Psychology (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain)
Division of Psychiatry
6th Floor, Wings A and B, Maple House,
149 Tottenham Court Road,
London W1T 7NF



I am a lecturer at the Faculty of Psychological Sciences at the University of Guayaquil, currently on leave until completion of my PhD at UCL. My doctoral research consists in an ethnographic study of psychology training in Guayaquil, Ecuador. It critically unpacks worldviews, moral values, and social practices linked to such process of professionalisation, with a special focus on the negotiation of identity and the response to local experiences of suffering. Previously, I have worked as a clinical and community psychologist in diverse contexts, including NGOs and private practice.



Research Interest(s):

  1. Social, cultural and critical psychology
  2. Mental health and marginality/relegation
  3. Social and clinical community interventions
  4. Psychodrama/sociodrama and creativity
  5. The professional culture of psychology

Current research project:
My current research examines psychology training and the moral grammar it embodies. It aims at unpacking how identities are negotiated through the process of becoming a psychologist; and through the engagement with local experiences of suffering, especially those affecting marginalised urban communities. Researchers around the world have studied the professional identity of psychologists before. However, an intensive ethnographic examination of training –  with a focus on identity, morality and suffering –  is missing. Literature focused on Ecuador is notoriously scarce, and crucial cultural dimensions of local training remain unexplored. The study presents original findings, obtained after a 12-month fieldwork – which included participant observation; semi-structured interviews; and critical discourse analysis – at an important training institution in Guayaquil.  It focused on academic spaces, but also included constant visits to marginalised communities where undergraduate and graduate trainees intervene, and a 3-month stay in one of these locations. Preliminary findings relate to contemporary debates around professional identity; the moral nature of the “psy” sciences; the global-local dynamic; and the need for a critical, culturally-sensitive training that genuinely engages with local experiences of suffering



Journal Publications:

Capella, M., Jadhav, S. and Moncrieff, J. (2017). Violence, history and collective memory: Implications for mental health in Ecuador. Transcultural psychiatry. In review.

Capella, M. and Andrade, F. (2017). Hacia una psicología ecuatoriana: una argumentación intergeneracional sobre la importancia de la cultura y la glocalidad en la investigación [Towards an Ecuadorian psychology: An intergenerational argument about the importance of culture and glocality in research]. Teoría y crítica de la psicología. Accepted.

Capella, M. and Jadhav, S. (2016). Challenges for public mental health in Ecuador: Preliminary ethnographic findings. To be submitted.

Capella, M. (2014). [Review of the book Identity and violence: The illusion of destiny, by A.Sen]. Cuadernos de Relaciones Laborales, 32 (1), 223-226

Workshop, Seminar and teaching:

  • January – April 2017: PGTA (course lead: Dr Sushrut Jadhav) – “Culture and the Clinic” module. Postgraduate programme (MSc. Mental Health Research), UCL Division of Psychiatry, London, UK
  • August 2016: “Investigando nuestra cultura professional psicológica, sus supuestos morales, y su relación con el sufrimiento social” [Researching our profesional psychological culture, its moral assumptions and its relationship with social suffering]. Faculty of Psychological Sciences, University of Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • May 2015 – “Psychology´s culture and mental health care within marginalised communities of Guayaquil, Ecuador” – Work in progress seminar. UCL Health & Humanities, London, UK.
  • November 2014 – PGTA (course lead: Dr Sushrut Jadhav) – “Culture and diversity in research: Ethnographic methods in mental health” – Seminar. Postgraduate programme (MSc. Mental Health Research), UCL Division of Psychiatry, London, UK
  • May – September 2014 – Lecturer on “biological foundations of psychology” and “the psychology of communication”. Undergraduate programme. Faculty of Psychological Sciences, University of Guayaquil
  • April 2014 – Clinical-social workshop around the notion of “self-esteem”, targeted at women living with HIV in marginalised urban areas. Misión Alianza (NGO). Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • May 2013 – “Getting ready for the return” – Workshop for Ecuadorian population residing in Madrid, forced to return to Ecuador due to unemployment. Asociación Hispano – Ecuatoriana Rumiñahui (NGO). Madrid, Spain.
  • April 2013 – “Prevention of substance abuse” – Workshop for vulnerable Ecuadorian population residing in Madrid. Asociación Hispano – Ecuatoriana Rumiñahui (NGO). Madrid, Spain.
  • March 2013 – “Self-esteem and unemployment”– Workshop for unemployed Ecuadorian population residing in Madrid. Asociación Hispano – Ecuatoriana Rumiñahui (NGO). Madrid, Spain.
  • March 2013 – “Communicating with our children”– Workshop for Ecuadorian migrant population raising “second-generation” children in Madrid. Asociación Hispano – Ecuatoriana Rumiñahui (NGO). Madrid, Spain.
  • September 2012 – “Psychodrama in action” – Workshop. Psychodrama School of Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • May 2009 – “Dramatizing our realities” – Workshop at the 7th Ibero-American Psychodrama Congress, Quito, Ecuador.
  • May – November 2008 & 2009: Community workshops to promote “A culture of peace” in a grade-school located in a marginalised urban area. Misión Alianza (NGO). Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • February 2006 – September 2008: Community workshops on issues related to parenting, communication and violence, targeted at families living in marginalised urban areas. Vivamos Mejor Ecuador (NGO). Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Conference Papers:

  • Capella, M, González, A. & Valery, J. (2013). La actitud hacia el uso del preservativo en estudiantes latinoamericanos residentes en Madrid: Una aproximación desde la teoría de la acción planificada [Attitude towards condom use among Latin American students residing in Madrid: an approximation from the theory of planned behaviour]. 11th Congreso Español de Sociología [11th Spanish Sociology Congress]. Madrid, Spain.

Book Chapters:

None at present


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