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Community Psychology “Community psychology is, in part, an attempt to find other alternatives for dealing with deviance from social-based norms. What is sought is an approach that avoids labeling differences as necessarily negative or as requiring social control. Community psychology viewed in this way is an attempt to support every person’s right to be different without risk of suffering material and psychological sanctions. ” Julian Rappaport (1977)
Zeitgeist The Sixties • Freedom Struggles • National Organization for Women • Gay Liberation Movement • American Indian Movement • Chicano Movement • Black Panthers • Chicago Seven The Community Mental Health Movement • Conditions • Kennedy’s sister • Deinstitutionalization The Swampscott Conference
SCRA MISSION STATEMENT September 26, 2001 The Society for Community Research and Action is an international organization devoted to advancing theory, research, and social action. Its members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals. SCRA serves many different disciplines that focus on community research and action.
SCRA’S GUIDING PRINCIPLES Community research and action requires explicit attention to and respect for diversity among peoples and settings; Human competencies and problems are best understood by viewing people within their social, cultural, economic, geographic, and historical contexts; Community research and action is an active collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and community members that uses multiple methodologies. Such research and action must be undertaken to serve those community members directly concerned, and should be guided by their needs and preferences, as well as by their active participation; Change strategies are needed at multiple levels in order to foster settings that promote competence and well-being. http: //www. scra 27. org/about
Guiding Principles of Community Psychology 1 Research, theory, and practice develop within a value system. 2 One cannot understand an individual without also understanding the many-leveled social context in which that individual lives. 3 The perspectives of diverse groups, especially disenfranchised groups, must be honored. 4 The meaningful improvement of people’s lives often requires social change. 5 Research, theory, and practice are best advanced through a strengths model rather than a deficit model.
Orienting Concepts of Community Psychology Stress and Coping Chapter 8 Crises entail both danger and possibility Chronic vs. Acute stress Coping mechanisms and mediation Interventions Prevention Chapter 9 Primary, secondary, tertiary Indicated, selective, universal Empowerment Chapter 10 Power, empowering, empowerment Micro/macro systems Resilience Chapter 11 Adjustment, adaptation, context
Hot Topics in the Field • Dropout prevention • Unemployment • Housing/Homelessness • Community mental health
Community Psychology Clinical Psychology Considers the individual in social context Focus on the individual in isolation Advocates social change Collaborates with citizens to enhance their strengths Improve lives through individual adaptation Medical model, deficiencies Not the expert Expert role
Community Psychology Social Psychology Attends to forces in outside world Individual interpretations and perceptions of the environment Looks to the peculiarities of social position and context Values social action; real world observation – in context Identifies universal properties of human nature that make them susceptible to social influence Theoretical understanding; experimental observations
Community Psychology Social Work Focuses on community, organizational level One-on-one services to people in need Research/theory discipline Alleviate poverty by promoting personal change among poor people Intervene at the individual or family level A profession; has a practice Both focus on individual in society, values, social justice, enhance strengths, attention to marginalized people
Community Psychology Environmental Psychology Socially constructed environment and social problems Physical environment: crowding, noise, resource conservation Emphasis on Partner with mental health practitioners, social service providers, educators, community activists, policy makers Emphasis on experimental methods Partner with resource managers, community planners, architects Both focus on settings with the goal of improving the quality of people’s lives. Value interdisciplinary approaches to research and practice
Preventing Burnout ◦ Expectations for improvement ◦ Expectations of simple solutions ◦ Expectations of immediate success ◦ Expectations of client motivation ◦ Expectations of appreciation
Seven Qualities of Community Psychologists Clearly identified competence Creating an Eco-identity Tolerance/Appreciation of diversity Coping effectively with varied resources Commitment to risk taking Balance of patience and zeal Giving away the by-line James Kelly, 1971
Who Are Community Psychologists Organizers, teachers, program directors, politicians, consultants, educators, healers, co-learners, technical assistants, writers, ambassadors, problems solvers, visionaries, activists, fundraisers, workshop leaders, facilitators, service deliverers, mediators, analysts, problem solvers, managers, administrators, documenters/historians, evaluators, researchers, planners, advocates, policymakers, and trouble makers.
What do we do? With a Masters degree Community psychologists: Work with a community service agency for children, families, the homeless, older citizens, disabled persons or those with mental illness Work with local, state, or national government agencies assisting in policy analysis and policy making roles, such as serving as staff to elected officials Conduct evaluations of community programs and policies Provide consultation on community development and change initiatives Work with not-for-profit and grass roots organizations Work on initiatives to solve community problems and improve quality of life in communities Work with prevention programs in a variety of settings
What do we do? With a Doctoral degree Community psychologists: Teach and do research in a college or university Direct a community service agency Work with local, state, or national government agencies in policy analysis and policy making roles Conduct evaluations of community programs and policies Apply the research skills of the doctoral degree to analysis of community change Provide consultation on community development and change Direct initiatives to solve community problems and improve quality of life in communities implement and evaluate prevention programs Work in business or industry on quality of life and workplace issues, prevention of organizational problems, or employee assistance programs
Research Basic research: designed to test hypotheses and add to the body of knowledge Applied research: clear and purposeful implications for social intervention Action research: challenges the status quo and promotes social change. Knowledge accumulates though cycles of planning/action using results to plan anew. Participatory research: the disenfranchised people of concern to researchers do not simply supply the data; they set the research agenda, define the questions, interpret the data and disseminate the results. The researcher gives up control and the expert role. Evaluation: process/formative evaluations, outcome/summative evaluations, cost-benefit analysis – hold the program accountable to the funders and the community
Academics vs. Application For academics, reflection and writing are part of the scholarship required in a research setting Practitioners are too busy doing to write about it. Although both work to improve communities, conduct research, and develop theory, they have different priorities, face different challenges and receive different rewards.
Guiding Principles Affect Research Guiding Principle Challenge to Research VALUES: Knowledge develops within a value system Research is not objective and value free CONTEXT: Individuals are Research should capture embedded in a many-leveled social processes that occur beyond the context level of the individual DIVERSITY: The voices of diverse groups must be honored Researches should be culturally sensitive SOCIAL CHANGE: people’s lives should be improved through social change efforts Research should not simply add to the body of knowledge, but be socially useful PEOPLE’S STRENGTHS: The strengths of those we seek to help should be emphasized rather than their deficits Respect for people’s competence should be reflected in what we study and how we study it
The Applied Side Our values, theories and research do not house families, provide teenage mothers with day care and jobs or prevent young men of color from crowding the jails. Only a practice of community psychology can show what a difference our field can make” David Chavis, 1993
Consultation Models: ◦ Client-centered ◦ Consultee-centered ◦ Community consultation Characteristics: ◦ Sensitive to group processes and networks of relationships within and across the setting ◦ The setting is in charge – dispense advice, not orders, offers a fresh perspective of the organization and help identify and nurture indigenous resources – brings a level of honesty and openness
Consultation Stages: ◦ ◦ Entry Diagnosis Implementation Disengagement Challenges: ◦ Conflict between consultant values and group values ◦ Time commitment and length of involvement ◦ Do not foster dependence
Creation of Alternative Settings “Any instance in which two or more people come together in new relationships over a sustained period in order to achieve certain goals” New and untried ways of addressing social problems Form out of dissatisfaction with existing settings, coupled with optimism about the possibility of having a positive effect Programs, support groups, shelters, alternative schools
Alternative Settings Challenges: How to become established while remaining radical Funding Coalitions/collaborations Sustainability
Community Organizing & Coalition Building “Intentional activities to bring community residents together in joint action designed to improve the context of their lives both locally and in the broader society” Bill Berkowitz Saul Alinsky (1971) – visible enemy, confrontation, redistribution of power Coalitions bring together community members, organizations, and other constituencies to resolve local problems and meet resident needs