Community Psychology

What is Community Psychology and How to Choose a Career in It?

Community psychology is a new, emerging branch of psychology which studies the relationship of an individual with a community. It believes that community has a serious role to play in the mental health of individuals. Let us learn more about the topic.
Community psychology is the branch of psychology that deals with the study of the relationship of an individual with society. Community psychologists are of the view that the surroundings in which an individual lives, shape to a large extent, his thoughts and behavior. As community psychology is relatively a new branch of psychology compared to other traditional established branches of psychology, there is a lot of work that is going on in this field. Community psychology is closely related to allied fields such as sociology, but rather than just focusing on research, the community psychology aims to put theory into practice and help communities in developing themselves.

The need for community psychology arose as some psychologists felt that treating mental health problems on an individualistic basis was not fully effective and the relationship of society with an individual's mental health was important. Also, the need to have preventive measures in place was another reason that contributed to the growth of community psychology. Community psychologists try to deal with the root-cause of the disease so that its occurrence can be prevented.

Many researchers point out that community psychology has an important part to play in the current global and political scenario. The happenings over the past one decade have created a lot of tension and mistrust between communities. Also, the recent sub-prime crisis hampered the growth of many individuals, causing widespread unemployment and bankruptcy. Community psychologists aim to study a host of factors like these with an aim to improve the mental health of individuals affected by these factors. Community psychologists also make an attempt to study the issues affecting communities as a whole such as gender-violence, substance-abuse, crime etc.

Career as a Community Psychologist

As a result of the efforts of community psychologists, a lot of work has been done to help the weaker sections of the society, and this in fact has led to an increase in demand for community psychologists. There are a lot of schools that offer both Bachelor's and Master's programs for aspiring candidates. Community psychologists are responsible for looking into the following areas:
  • Community psychologists are responsible for conducting research on a particular community by the means of surveys or by using the available statistical data. For example, if a community has a high prevalence of drug abuse, a community psychologist may focus his research on factors like median income, literacy rate etc. to have an insight into the problem.
  • Community psychologists coordinate with non-government organizations to help those who are in need of counseling. A lot of times, a conflict can be prevented if corrective steps are taken to curb the factors that lead to it. Community psychologists create awareness among high-risk groups so that they can take better control of the situation and progress in life. An example of this can be spreading awareness among drug-users about the spread of life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS through used needles.
  • Community psychologists are also actively involved in helping with the rehabilitation of those who have been labeled as 'misfits' to live in the society. The job of a community psychologist also revolves in helping the minority and the subjugated groups to contribute effectively to the society's growth.
This was some information on community psychologists. Aspiring candidates should feel contended with the fact that a career as a community psychologist offers job satisfaction as they have to work directly with people who need help. It allows an individual the opportunity to change someone's life and help them live a meaningful life.
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