Community psychology is a perspective that analyses social problems, including crime, as largely a product of organizational and institutional characteristics of society. Community psychology which is closely related to sociology, deals with the relationships of the individual to communities and the wider society and community psychologists study the quality of life communities, society and individuals.
The Swampscott Conference in 1965 where several psychologists met to discuss the future of community mental health, 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.
AN INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY, Douglas D. Perkins, Founding Director, Center for Community Studies. - In addition to the clinical and testing psychologists, with whom the public is most familiar, many people, at all levels of professional training, are entering a relatively new field called community psychology. Community psychology is fundamentally concerned with the relationship between social systems and individual well-being in the community context.
Thus, community psychologists grapple with an array of social and mental health problems and they do so through research and interventions in both public and private community settings. One of the most exciting aspects of community psychology is that the field is developing rapidly and is still in the process of defining itself. Community psychologists simultaneously emphasize both (applied) service delivery to the community and (theory-based) research on social environmental processes. Community psychologists focus, not just on individual psychological make-up, but on multiple levels of analysis, from individuals and groups to specific programs to organizations and, finally, to whole communities. Community psychology covers a broad range of settings and substantive areas. A community psychologist might find herself or himself in a variety of roles. 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."
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