In the article, the author examines the role of critical social work in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic with reference to theory, practice and pedagogy. The author argues that the COVID-19 crisis was not only a crisis of public health but also an ideological crisis. In this context, the author explains that a combination of political theory and psychotherapy theory is necessary when treating individuals for whom the political–ideological space is central to their experience of distress. Such an integration, which is essential to critical social work, can exist when political theory and psychotherapy theory are treated as complementary theories that illuminate the human experience from different angles. Bereavement due to COVID-19-related loss is examined as a theoretical case study to explore the topics of the article alongside the concept of political psychotherapy.