What is Community Psychology?
“Community psychology is about understanding people within their social worlds and using this understanding to improve people’s well-being” (Orford, 1992, p. vii). It recognizes that many of the problems people confront arise not simply from disturbances within their individual psyches, but from the failures of community systems to adequately socialize and support its citizens. It replaces the traditional clinical perspective on helping that sees people in terms of their pathologies and deficits with the notion that all people have strengths and competencies.
A Focus on Prevention.
Community psychologists have taken to heart Henry de Bracton’s (c. 1420) statement that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A major focus of our program is on developing and delivering interventions that can prevent the onset of psychological problems such as substance abuse, interpersonal violence, and depression.
Work Settings of Community Psychologists:
Community psychologists work in a wide variety of settings including local and state government, nonprofit organizations, and schools. Most work at the program planning and development level, although some of our graduates also work in direct service positions.