Community Psychology
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Think about the following situations:
1. A situation in which you experience a sense of
community through bonding, close relationships
and attachment
2. A time when you felt excluded and isolated
3. A situation in which you felt empowerment to
do something or achieve something
4. An occasion in which you felt powerless and
without a sense of control
Rappaport introduced the concept of empowerment
to indicate that power and control over community
resources would be just as important as a feeling of
communion
 Sense of Community:
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 “the sense that one belongs in and is meaningfully a part
of a larger collectivity; the sense that although there may
be conflict between the needs of the individual and the
collectivity, or among different groups in the collectivity,
these conflicts must be resolved in a way that does not
destroy the psychological sense of community; the sense
that there is a network of and structure of relationships
that strengthens rather than dilutes feelings of loneliness”
(Sarason, 1988, p.41)
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Also known as “community cohesion”
The potential of communities to improve the
well-being of their members through the
synergy of associations, mutual trust, sense of
community, and collective action
 “Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects
and human capital refers to properties of individuals,
social capital refers to connections among individuals
– social networks and the norms for reciprocity and
trustworthiness that arise from them” (Putnam, 2000,
p.19)
Levels of
Analysis
Processes
Outcomes
Individual
•Training in critical thinking
•Participation in action groups
•Mentoring experiences
•Connecting with people in similar situations
•Training in value-based practice
•Consciousness-raising
•Participation in social action
•Assertiveness
•Expanded options in life
•Sense of Control
•Mentoring Others
Organizational
•Shared leadership
•Training in group facilitation
•Participation in decision making
•Sense of common purpose
•Increased resources
•Enhanced connections
•Solidarity with other groups
•Influences public opinion
Community
•Access to government
•Participation in civic organizations
•Political education
•Target local issues
•Improved quality of life
•Enhanced health and well-being
•Democratic institutions
•Improved access to services
•Coalitions for well-being
•Tolerance of diversity
Societal
•Struggles for democracy
•Struggles for liberation
•Solidarity across social groups
•Resisting globalization
•Political and economic literacy
•Redistributive policies
•Support for disadvantaged people
•Government accountability
•Control of resources by the poor
•Progressive social policies
•Resists economic neoliberalism
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Power refers to the capacity and opportunity to fulfill or obstruct
personal, relational, or collective needs
Power has psychological and political sources, manifestations and
consequences
We can distinguish between power to strive for well-being, power to
oppress, and power to resist oppression and strive for liberation
Power can be overt or covert, subtle or blatant, hidden or exposed
The exercise of power can apply to self, others, and collectives
Power affords people multiple identities as individuals seeking wellbeing, engaging in oppression, or resisting domination
Whereas people may be oppressed in one context, at a particular time
and place, they may act as oppressors at another time and place
Because of structural factors such as social class, gender, ability and
race, people may enjoy different levels of power
Degrees of power are also affected by personal and social constructs
such as beauty, intelligence and assertiveness, constructs that enjoy
variable status within different cultures
The exercise of power can reflect varying degrees of awareness with
respect to the impact of ones actions
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Sense of Community / Team
Sense of Power
 Power to promote health and wellbeing
 Power to oppress and suppress
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Sense of Individual Liberty
Sense of Equality
Sense of Opportunity
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It’s still best to cross the street holding hands
Partnerships and Solidarity (Team)
Organizing to Solve One’s Own Community
Issues at a Local Level
Bonds and Bridging
Social Capital can be directed in Adaptive or
Maladaptive Methods, and sometimes both at
the same time
Too Much Power vs. Too Little Power
“You gave me the power” – Bobby Ewing
“No one gives you power. You TAKE power!” – Papa Ewing
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Being involuntarily disconnected from the
economic and social mainstream of the
society in which one lives: generally involves
being discriminated against, being poor,
having limited personal and collective power,
and being excluded from social opportunities
Symptoms of
Marginalization
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Those who CHOOSE to be on the Margins
 Hobos, cults, communes, artists, poets, writers,
philosophers, etc
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Those who DON’T CHOOSE to be on the
Margins
 Immigrants, poor, mentally ill, illiterate, socially
disapproved relationships
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Poverty and Economic
Marginality
Impaired Social Support
Networks
 Including Social
Marginalization
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Ideological Aspects
Resistance and
Resilience
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Thekaekara and Thekaekara (1995)
 “No matter what one has done occupationally…
[once marginalized] …there is no way one can
escape the experience of a social context that is
like a stagnant pond in which we are the
suffocating organisms. There is an absence of the
social conditions that make optimism and hope a
realistic life strategy.”
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Doyal and Gough (1984 and 1991)
Two fundamental human needs:
 physical health and autonomy
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Autonomy:
 Autonomy of agency: the ability to initiate actions
 Critical autonomy: the opportunity for
participation in political processes
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Are we arrogant enough to believe we can
“show the way”?
Is this the messiah complex all over again?
What the heck to we know?
Do we know that we do not know?
Are we willing to be educated?
Are we willing to let the marginalized lead us
and teach us?
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Conscientization: a person or group achieve an
illuminating awareness of social forces shaping their
destiny and of their ability to transform that reality
The human being is transformed through changing his
or her reality, through an active process of dialogue
2. In this process, there is gradual decoding of the world, as
people grasp the mechanisms of oppression and
dehumanization. This opens up new possibilities for
action
3. The new knowledge of the surrounding reality leads to
new self-understanding. Such learning is about the
roots of what people are present and what they can
become in the future
1.
What is our role as therapists? As citizens? As
members of many intersecting communities?
 Do we have a role to play in the issues of
Globalization?
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 “Human survival and well-being [are] now embedded in an
entangled web of global economic, political, social and
environmental events and forces! …The scale, complexity
and impact of these events and forces constitute a
formidable challenge for psychology as a science and
profession. They demand a major disciplinary response,
including a rethinking of psychology’s assumptions,
methods and interventions and a rethinking of
psychology’s roles in understanding and resolving the
challenges now before.” (Marsella, 1998, p.1282)
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Ideology: a system of ideas and practices that
sustain social relations of domination and
oppression
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Should we have an ideology?
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The Idea of Global Community Psychology
 Think Globally, Act Locally
 Engage / Develop Participatory Democracy
 Link Global Issues to Local Issues
 Protect Basic Human Rights
“
– Anais Nin
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
by Robert Fulghum
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Adaptation: how people adapt to the demands of different
environments
Behavior Setting: a way of thinking about settings that is
characterized by a standing pattern of behavior and time and
space dimensions
Circular Causality: the notion that people influence environments,
as well as environments influencing people
Cycling of Resources: a focus on the resources within an ecosystem, how they are distributed and how they can be used
Holism: a value that emphasizes interrelationships and
interconnections
Ecological Metaphor: a way of thinking about people and their
environments that is borrowed from biology and stands in
contrast to the mechanistic metaphor that is dominant in
psychology
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Incidence: the number of new cases of disease in a population or
community within a specified time period
Interdependence: the notion that different elements and levels of
an eco-system are interconnected
Mediating Factors: the mechanisms that link stressful life events
with psychosocial problems
Miasmas: noxious odors emanating from swamps that were
believed to cause disease
Normalization: a philosophy in the field of disabilities that
emphasizes approaches that promote community integration,
rather than segregation or exclusion
Person-Environment Fit: the idea that the adaptation of the
individual is a function of the interaction between the individual
and the environment
Primary Prevention: Reduction of incidence
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Protective Factors: resources that moderate, buffer, or protect
individuals from the adverse consequences of risk factors
Risk Factors: stressful life events, the strains or other conditions
that increase the likelihood that an individual will develop a
problem in living
Secondary Prevention: early detection and treatment
Selective (high-risk) Prevention: prevention that is aimed at
individuals considered to be at risk of developing problems
Social Climate: the perceived or felt environment, consisting of
three broad dimensions: relationships, personal development, and
systems maintenance and change
Succession: a long-term perspective on people and systems
Universal Prevention: prevention that is aimed at everyone in a
population
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Community: a group of people affiliated on the basis of common
bonds, such as geographical location, religion, profession,
nationality or other factors
Power: the capacity and opportunity to influence the course of
events in one’s personal life or in the life of others in the
community
Self-Help / Mutual Aid: groups of people who congregate in order
to help each other with a particular challenge in life
Sense of Community: the feeling derived from belonging to a
particular group where the individual experience bonds of
affection, influence, companionship, and support
Social Capital: collective resources consisting of civic participation,
networks, norms of reciprocity and organizations that foster trust
among citizens and actions to enhance the common good
Stress-Buffering Hypothesis: theory describing how social support
may enhance coping and mitigate the negative effects of stress
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Fatalism: the attitude or belief that one has little influence over
what happens to one personally or to one’s people
Naturalized: used to indicate (implicit or explicit) the suggestion
that a phenomenon which as a social origin is regarded as either a
natural or innate characteristic of a people
Neoliberal(ism): refers to the doctrine of the prime importance of
the market in ordering society and defining value. Associated with
policies that reduce state spending on health, education, and
welfare, and constrain trade union and collective rights and
freedom
Phenomenological: to do with personal, felt experience.
Knowable through qualitative, participative and non-reductionist
methods of inquiry
Praxis: the combination of theory and practice, each feeding the
other. Usually implies a radical orientation