In this article, we will discuss the Principles of Community Psychology. So, let’s get started.
Principles of Community Psychology
Here are some of the major themes which characterize current thinking in community psychology:
1. Social environmental factors are critically important in determining and changing behaviour.
2. Social and community interventions (system-oriented interventions as against person oriented interventions) can be effective for making social institutions
(e.g., family, school) more health enhancing as well as for reducing individual suffering.
3. Such interventions should be aimed at prevention rather than treatment or rehabilitation of emotional disorders. Not only the individual-in-need but the population-at-risk is the proper concern of community psychology
4. Intervention should have as its goal the enhancement of social competence rather than simply the reduction of psychological distress. Community-oriented programs should stress the adaptive rather than the pathological in social life.
5. Help is most effective when available close to the settings in which problems arise. Therefore, community clinicians should work in familiar settings close to the person in need rather than in socially and geographically alien settings.
6. The community clinician should reach out to clients rather than waiting passively for them to seek his services. Such services should be flexible, readily available at the place and time of need, and offered in an atmosphere which reduces rather than accentuates the social distance between helper and helped. Help should be available to those who need it most, not only to those who seek it.
7. To use available resources and to extend his potential impact, the professional should collaborate with community resource people (caretakers) and use non-professional co-workers. His work may involve consultation more than direct services.
8. Traditional role requirements and professional customs have to be relaxed. Community services require imaginative programming and new conceptual models; innovation is to be encouraged.
9. The community should participate in, if not control, the development and operation of programs which are to serve its needs. Program priorities should reflect the needs and concerns of community members.
10. Mental health problems should be broadly rather than narrowly viewed, for they interlock with many other facets of social well-being, such as jobs, housing, and education. To be maximally effective, community mental health programs should deal with as wide a range of social problems as possible.
11. Educating the public to understand the nature and causes of psychosocial problems and the resources available for dealing with them is a valued task.
12. Since many mental health problems relate to broad-scaled social stresses such as poverty, racism, urban density, and alienation, which are beyond the reach of professional interventions, the community psychologist should be oriented toward, and as possible facilitate, social reform.
13. To develop the knowledge necessary for informed intervention, community psychology requires naturalistic and ecological research approaches.