It may be useful to describe community psychology by distinguishing it from other disciplines with which it is closely allied. Community psychology is like clinical psychology and community mental health in its action orientation. That is, community psychology aims to promote human welfare. But community psychology arose largely out of dissatisfaction with the clinician’s tendency to locate mental health problems within the individual. Community psychologists are more likely to see threats to mental health in the social environment, or in lack of fit between individuals and their environment. They typically advocate social rather than individual change. They focus on health rather than on illness, and on enhancing individual and community competencies. Community psychology employs various perspectives within and outside of psychology to address issues of communities, the relationships within them, and related people's attitudes and behavior. Like Rappaport (1977) discusses the perspective of community psychology as an ecological perspective on the person–environment fit (this is often related to work environments) been the focus of study and action instead of attempting to change the personality of the individual or the environment when an individual is seen as having a problem. Community psychology grew out of the community mental health movement, but evolved dramatically as early practitioners incorporated their understandings of political structures and other community contexts into perspectives on client services.
History of community psychology in the US
In the 1950s and 1960s, many factors contributed to the beginning of community psychology in the US. Some of these factors include: A shift away from socially conservative, individual-focused practices in health care and psychology into a progressive period concerned with issues of public health, prevention and social change after World War II and social psychologists' growing interest in racial and religious prejudice, poverty, and other social issues The perceived need of larger-scale mental illness treatment for veterans Psychologists questioning the value of psychotherapy alone in treating large numbers of people with mental illness The development of community mental health centers and deinstitutionalization of people with mental illnesses into their communities Swampscott Conference
In 1965, several psychologists met to discuss the future of community mental health as well as discuss the issue of only being involved with problems of mental health instead of the community as a whole. The Swampscott Conference is considered the birthplace of community psychology. A published report on the conference calls for community psychologists to be political activists, agents of social change and "participant-conceptualizers." Theories, Concepts and values in community Psychology
Ecological levels of analysis
James Kelly (1966; Trickett, 1984) developed an ecological analogy used to understand the ways in which settings and individuals are interrelated. Unlike the ecological framework developed by Bronfenbrenner (1979), the focus of Kelly's framework was not so much on how different levels of the environment may impact on the individual, but on understanding how human communities function. Specifically, Kelly suggests that there are 4 important principles that govern people in settings: Adaptation: i.e. that what individuals do is adaptive given the demands of the surrounding context. It is a two-way process: Individuals adapt to the restrictions, constraints, and quality of the environment, while the environment adapts to its members Examples: In regards to adoption of the individual, take for instance, when an individual adapts to the demands of a new job, they adapt to that environment by learning or acquiring any necessary skills that they may need to perform their tasks well. On the environmental side of adoption, we can imagine...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document