Introduction To Community Psychology - Week 2


Community Psychology and Community Mental Health

Community psychology not synonymous with community mental health

Community psychology itself is not applied psychology but a set of principles for doing research in itself


The Principles of Community Psychology (adapted from Orford, 1992 and Rappaport, 1977)

1. Assumptions about the causes of problems

An interaction over time, between person and social settings and systems, including the structure of social support and social power

2. Levels of analysis

From micro-level to macro, especially at the level of the organization and the community or neighborhood

3. Research methods

Include quasi-experimental designs, qualitative research, action research, and case study methods

4. Location of practice

As near as possible to the relevant, everyday social contexts

5. Approach to planning services

Proactive, "seeking out", assessing needs and special risks in a setting

6. Practice emphasis

Prevention rather than treatment

7. Attitude to sharing psychology with others

Positive towards formal and informal ways of sharing including consultation

8. Position on working with non-professionals

Strongly encouraging of self-help and non-professionals and seeks to facilitate and collaborate


Person in Context Approach

Community psychology embodies Lewin's (1951) equation, B=f(P, E)

Psychology has often been biased toward the P component

Marsella (1984) asserts mutual influence, that settings and individuals and their transactions make up distinct whole

Psychology has suffered from a lack of theoretical ideas about these transactions


CP emphasizes importance of intervention at appropriate level (Rappaport, 1977)


What are we doing when we "do" Community Psychology?