Saturday, March 27, 2010

Community Psychology

Community psychology is a psychological discipline that focuses on social development, social justice, health, territories and individuals in their environment. It is a discipline that differs from clinical psychology focusing not on individuals but individuals in their (s) environment (s). It differs from social psychology in that it seeks to promote social justice (equity and social health) and can be qualified discipline involved.

It is rooted in different movements:
social movements of the 1960s (a movement for civil rights, women's movement ...),
awareness (Paolo Freire)
the movement for recognition of the rights of people living with a mental disorder (psychiatric community).

Current applications of the discipline are in the field of action research, where practitioners and users in a collaborative working relationship, define community needs and resources available. Emphasis is placed on empowerment (or promotion of skills and resources) and not on reducing risk or suffering, clean approach to psychopathology. By working closer to the place of living with which they work (ecological approach, Bronfenbrenner, 1979), community psychologists work primarily for the development of practices to promote mental health.

The French translation "community" is ambiguous: characterizing the territorial aspect of community action, it is sometimes confused with the sociological sense (communitarianism).

We usually distinguish two trends in community psychology:
A stream near critical psychology (particularly inspired by Michel Foucault), located particularly in the universities of northern Europe and providing a critical light on social justice in Western society.
A current close to the promotion of health, nearest to the field of health, developing planned and intended actions of individuals and territories, based on a design intermediate between public health and community health.

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