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Areas of psychology

Community psychology

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Supporting People in Communities

Community psychologists are trained in understanding and supporting communities and individuals within communities, as they face various challenges to their physical and mental wellbeing, such as natural disasters, unemployment, violence and poverty.

Community psychologists identify and facilitate the strengths and competencies of community members, from elected leaders to grassroots organisers and groups. 

They recognise human differences and diversity within community contexts. To address this, they are committed to processes that support flexibility, equity and respect for cultural diversity in meeting the needs of different communities.

Community psychologists work as consultants in partnership with groups, organisations and residential communities to achieve their goals and aspirations, to solve problems and to prevent or reduce threats to individual and collective wellbeing, to promote social connectedness, and to facilitate the engagement or re-engagement with communities, including of marginalised individuals and groups.

Community psychologists work in a variety of roles in urban and rural settings, in areas such as local government, education, community health, neighbourhoods and non-government organisations. They are also involved in organisations providing assistance in community development overseas.

Skills of community psychologists

Community psychologists have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Conduct community-focused psychosocial research.
  • Assess the psychosocial needs of individuals, groups, organisations and residential communities.
  • Conduct community consultation to inform public policy development.
  • Enhance engagement and collaboration within a diverse community.
  • Evaluate the processes and outcomes of community programs that address psychosocial needs.
  • Coordinate systems to manage projects.
  • Educate staff in community consultation skills.
  • Provide counselling and advocacy for individuals and groups.
  • Negotiate and mediate to manage and resolve conflict.
  • Develop, facilitate and evaluate group-based intervention and education programs.
  • Develop and conduct health promotion and education programs.
  • Promote and manage attitudinal and behavioural social change in individuals, systems, organisations and communities.

Areas of expertise

Community psychologists provide expertise in:

  • Needs analysis for communities at risk, such as immigrant groups and rural and remote communities.
  • Community asset mapping of social capital and related resources.
  • Community generated problem solving based on collaboration and social justice.
  • Community capacity building to manage change and address risks and threats.
  • Evaluation of psychosocial environments with respect to sense of community, quality of life, social support networks, resilience, etc.
  • Social impact assessment related to environmental issues such as drought and climate change.

Standards

The APS College of Community Psychologists promotes the highest standards for practice in Australia. These standards are also consistent with international standards for community psychology practice. Members of the College of Community Psychologists also have the following post nominals after their name:

  • MCCOMP (Member of the College of Community Psychologists)