Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications

Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications

Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications

Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications

Synopsis

Updated and expanded in this third edition, Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications presents the most recent literature, empirical work, issues, and events in the field and the relevant policy debates surrounding them. The book maintains the basic architecture of the previous edition-integrating theory, research, and practice across the diverse subject matter of community mental health and community psychology-but reduces jargon and improves clarity. Contents:PrefaceLife is a Soap OperaThe Origins of Community PsychologyA Conceptual Road Map of Community PsychologyThe Ecological AnalogyFive Psychological Conceptions of the EnvironmentLabelling Theory: An Alternative to the Illness ModelAdaption, Crisis, Coping, and SupportPreventionSelf-Help GroupsThe Problem of ChangeSchool Desegregation: A Societal Level InterventionCommunity Development and Social Action in CommunityScience Ethic, and the Future of Community PsychologyIndex

Excerpt

What Is Community Psychology?

Community psychology represents a new way of thinking about people's behavior and well-being in the context of all the community environments and social systems in which they live their lives. Our intention in this book is to develop that way of thinking and to show how the perspective is applicable to a very wide range of contemporary problems.

One of the most exciting aspects of community psychology is that the field is still developing and defining itself. It is not easily reduced to the traditional subdisciplines in psychology for several reasons. First, community psychologists simultaneously emphasize both applied service delivery to the community and theory-based research. Second, they focus, not just on individual psychological makeup, but on multiple levels of analysis, from individuals and groups to specific programs to organizations and, finally, to whole communities. Third, community psychology covers a broad range of settings and substantive areas. A community psychologist might find herself or himself conducting research in a mental health center on Monday, appearing as an expert witness in a courtroom on Tuesday, evaluating a hospital program on Wednesday, implementing a school-based program on Thursday, and organizing a neighborhood association meeting on Friday. For all the above reasons, there is a sense of vibrant urgency and uniqueness among community psychologists—as if they are as much a part of a social movement as of a professional or scientific discipline.

The new and disparate areas of community psychology are thus bound together by a singular vision: that of helping the relatively powerless, in and out of institutions, take control over their environment and their lives. Community psychologists must, however, "wear many hats" in working toward the creation of social systems which: (1) promote individual growth and prevent social and mental health prob-

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