Role of Community Psychology

6 years ago

What is your perspective on the role of community psychology in today's world?


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Community psychology plays a very important role in today's world. Because of the development of community psychology we have been able to combine individualistic cultures with collectivistic cultures. The mix of these two help to fill the desire and need to belong. Since Maslow's hierarchy of needs ranks needing to belong high, it is great that community psychology has been adapted. With community psychology we can establish leadership using organization, joint efforts, recognizing individual talents, and empowering the community. For this sense of community it is important to have membership, influence, integrationg and fulfillment of needs, and a shaped emotional connection. With community psychology we have been able to open up resources and lines of communication, which helps to show our pure altruism. Community psychology as a whole has come so far taking its background in clinical psychology and psychiatry. It is important that community psychology exists so as world we can begin to work together using every person collectively. As a community we can eliminate things such as the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility. By taking these initial steps we can also eliminate instances of such things like the New York apartment killing. Community psychology opens a whole new door to the world, which can enlighten us all.

It seeems to me that the role of community psychology in today's world is just as much a tool of social change as it is a sub-discipline of the greater field of psychology.  From the information provided in our textbook as well as from the other relevant sources it can be understood that the definition of a community includes the principle that all the community's members will work together to acheive a specific goal or set of goals.  Regardless of whether that would be the quest to satisfy basic needs through resource distribution or through the maintainence of relevant databases for information distribution, the fact remains that all communities must work together to acheive the desired effects that will benefit all of the members.  Therefore, the study of community psychology naturally would include a strong sense of activism in addition to simply studying the phenomena of people engaged in a particular community; in this way CP is unique from other branches of psychology because it seeks to actively change the environment that it studies.  In my opinion community psychology plays an important role in making sure that today's communities understand where members of their own group stand, as well as where those in the out-groups stand.  I believe that it would be beneficial for all communities to at least have a basic understanding of the principles of CP, in order to give some well-needed perspective on the vast dynamics that are characteristic of human group interaction.

Offline Joel Lopez said 6 years ago

The role of community psychology can play an important role to further advance the goals of communities.  By understanding the dynamics of a well run community and a poorly run one we can become more efficient and make better decisions as a community.  My favorite clip from the lecture was that of Sister Act and Whoopi Goldberg as the example of community leadership.  It was amazing to see how the choir leader prior to her character was running it and members of the choir viewed themselves as not being very good. She relinquishes control to Whoopi who quickly tries to determine the state of the choir. Then begins to identify individual talents and begins to group them according to their strengths.  Immediately there is a positive response and the group sounds better. What is interesting to me is that the "ingredients" or the talent had not changed but was simply managed better and played to their strengths and the results were significantly better. I believe that community psychology can have a huge role in developing community leaders as it appears to me right now we have a huge void.  Community psychology can also help us to better understand individualistic and collectivist cultures much similar to Whoopi identifying who would be comfortable as an indvidual or "star" and who would be more comfortable being a part of the group to better utilize the talents and abilities of every community.

As far back as human history can be traced, human beings have had the sense of some sort of a community innately inscribed into their psyche. A prime example of this among evolutionary psychology is the image of humans as hunters and gatherers, where the sense of community was based on working together to fulfill the basic needs of human survival long before there was the word "community" to label the organization that had been created. We have come a far way in forming communities in today's world, and I see the primary role of community psychology in today's world as a way for people to better understand how to create the best functioning communities by understanding how people operate. It doesn't take one who is highly educated or even literate to know and feel the importance of a community, because the importance of belonging and feeling secure are things that are biological based. So some might question the importance of having the discipline in the first place if we all have and to some extent understand what is meant by a community. However, in today's world, where we are no longer just concerned with the bottom two basic needs of survival and safety in Maslow's hierarchy, the role of community psychology is important. With greater needs for power, money, wealth, prosperity, and land, inadequate so-called community leaders rise up and can negatively impact the lives of millions of people and the countries in which they live in. Among the goals of community psychology in today's world are individual wellness, empowerment and leadership through the understanding of how best to empower people, engage them in their communities and make them feel capable of contributing positively. The role of community psychology is related to ethics and good values, however, in today's world, there are so-called community leaders that rather than understanding community psychology by enforcing concepts such as identity formation and membership within a community so that a healthy society is formed, do the oppossite and strip away rights of people, where in certain areas of the world oppression is dominant. These leaders have not incorporated the concepts of community psychology in their leadership, and thus have maintained their position not because they have effectively gained the influence of their followers, but by different unethical methods. The role of community psychology in today's world is to educate so that such leaders do not exist. The role of community psychology is to help people understand how people think, feel, and what they need. One who truly understands such concepts is making use of the benefits the discipline has to offer by creating healthy communities. A leader who follows the values and concepts of community psychology is one who will have a functional, intact and healthy community if he/she understands how to effectively reach people and maintain them as good citizens. Our lives are all affected by decisions of "leaders" and if community psychology can educate future leaders into becoming the best leaders possible, then it has fulfilled it's role in today's world.

Offline Anna Markin said 6 years ago

The role of Community Psychology (CP) is to develop and promote a sense of community in where ever and when eve it can.  This need is due to the fact that there are people that are often left with out a sense of community and the field of CP is most effeciient at regognizing the need for people to have a community as well as the way in which community is developed and sustained.  The Maslow hirarchy of needs was a great example of the basic, instinctual human need to belong and the best way to attain this need is by being the member of a community.  It is also appearant from todays video lectrue that people are often lacking in this feeling of beloning from their families and parental support systems.  I remember the statistic that was quoted that one third of parents are successful at raising any type of child and one thir of parents are good at raising just out going children and one third are not equipped to raise any type of child.  I very much enjoyed the part of the lectrue that demonstrated the group of people with crossed and inter locked hand moving together.  It is important for community in order to overcome things such as the bystander effet which is much more likely to occur outside of a community setting. It is also important for Psychologist to recognize when their clients problems are stemming from a lack of belongingness which is found in communities and be able to refer clients to be participants in different health communities.  It is also important to train students in CP how to become good community leaders.  Some of the important aspects of being a good community leader are the ability to initiate, organize and empower people in order for the community to achieve empowerment.  In conclusion the goals of CP are intervention, prevention and research.

The role community psychology plays in today's world it everywhere.  We first have the need to belong to a community. According to Moslow's hierarchy of needs this is essential to everyone.  The sense of belonging bring a higher self-esteem level and a meaning of self in life.  Now we see communities taking place since the beginning of time and this is only natural because in order for people to grow and gain a better way of living they need to interact and find those talents of individuals and use them for the better of the community.  Going along those lines by having people take on responsibility and having each individual something to better the community it gives them a sense of belonging and thus causing a community.  A community in which each person is important and if that person is not there the community will suffer due to it.  And it today's world you see this everywhere from a little league baseball team to a university fraternity.  Simply having that emotional connection in doing something for something bigger than yourself and knowing that the person next to you is doing the same thing to accomplish the same goal is what we as human beings have been doing and now Community Psychology is simply trying to extend this feeling of togetherness with the whole world and try to accomplish a much larger goal.

The role of community psychology is today's world is to improve the quality of life for people.  One could argue that that is the role of psychology in general but community psychology does it in a very different way.  Traditional psychology finds people that are already "sick" in one way or another and then it takes the necessary steps to "fix" them after the problem already arrived.  It deals with "bad" people.  Community psychology doesn't see people as being "bad."  It simply sees people as adapting to their environment as best they can.  It studies people in their "bad" environments and seeks to fix the problem for others before it ever arises through prevention.  One way it does this is by changing the mindset of the community.  Today every one only thinks about themselves and in large cities such as Phoenix there is no real community because everyone is so distant.  Community psychology seeks to instill a sense of community in order to empower the people in that community to take charge and work together to improve the quality of life for everyone as a whole. 

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Posted By:
Marek Wosinski
December 17, 2009

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