Descriptive Psychology

What is Descriptive Psychology?

Descriptive Psychology is “a set of systematically related distinctions designed to provide formal access to all the facts and possible facts about persons and behavior—and therefore about everything else as well.” -Peter G. Ossorio (1982)

Descriptive Psychology (“ DP”) is first and foremost a conceptual framework for the science of Psychology. Created in its original form by Peter G. Ossorio in the mid-1960s at the University of Colorado, it has subsequently been the subject of hundreds of books and papers that have updated, refined, and elaborated it, and that have applied it to domains such as psychotherapy, psychopathology, artificial intelligence, spirituality, organizations, communities, psychological theory creation, and research methodology. What DP primarily attempts to do is to provide the kind of precise, systematic, and comprehensive conceptual framework that is a pre-empirical requirement for the adequate conduct of psychological theorizing, research, and application” -Raymond Bergner, Advances in Descriptive Psychology—Vol. 9


Descriptive Psychology provides a coherent conceptual framework for all of behavioral science. Descriptive Psychologists organize and articulate the implicit structure of that discipline.