Origins of Community Psychology

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Category: Philosophy and Psychology

Date Submitted: 09/12/2011 01:39 AM

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“Health is a crossroad: It is where biological and social factors, the individual and the

community, and social and economical policy all meet. In addition to having its own

intrinsic value, health is a means toward personal and collective realization; it is

therefore also an index of the success achieved by a society and its government

institutions in the search for well-being, which, after all, is the ultimate goal of

development” (Frenk, 1994;68).

In order to understand both the Public Health approach and the Community

Psychology approach, this paper aims to critically compare and contrast both

approaches to social problems.

Initially the Community Psychology approach and the Public Health approach are

discussed, followed by the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Then

similarities and differences between the two approaches will be summarised .

The conclusion will explain whether the two approaches can complement each other

and if they can, how it can be done.


Community psychology is concerned with mental health, moving towards prevention

rather than cure. Mental health focus on the prevention, immunisation against risk

for mental illness and skills-enhancement. Community Health is focused on

understanding behaviour of individuals as determined by traditions, customs and

beliefs specific to different communities.

Albee sees mental health and illness as part of a larger social phenomenon such as

poverty and exploitation. He focuses on community rather than individual psychology.

His vision is to model his thinking after the public health approach – preventing

diseases and socially harmful behaviours (Reader, 2002:84).

Important reform...