What is Community Psychology?
Community psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of how individuals relate to their communities and the reciprocal effect of communities on individuals. “Communities” are not solely defined as a neighborhood or geographic areas. Schools, church groups, or other organizations are communities, and as such, have their own social and psychological dynamics.
It applies knowledge from a variety of fields including psychology, public health, organizational development, sociology, social work and others to understanding and solving community, organizational, and societal problems.
Through examining these disciplines together, community psychology emphasizes understanding individuals within their social and cultural context, and aims to promote community well-being through research and action. It has an established history of focusing on the identification of community needs and the development of resources to address those needs. An example would be using research to determine the need for a food kitchen in a lower-income community.
Why choose a Community Psychology degree at Pacific Oaks?
At Pacific Oaks, we apply well-established community psychology principles and techniques to improve well-being and effectiveness at individual, organizational, and community levels. We do so with an explicit concern for social action, inclusiveness and participation, the value of diversity, collaboration, prevention, and a focus on strengths.
Our Community Psychology program aims to enhance protective factors and prevent the development of problems in communities, groups, and families.
The program is designed to teach students the skills to identify the needs of a community and design interventions that lead to positive and sustainable results.
Careers in Community Psychology
Graduates from the bachelor’s Community Psychology degree program have a diverse range of career paths to choose from. They may find opportunities in higher education or public education; governmental health and human service agencies; law enforcement or probation departments; non-profit groups, such as community-based organizations, advocacy groups, religious institutions, or neighborhood groups; public policy organizations, research and evaluation firm, independent or consulting groups.
Some specific roles may include:
- Credentialed K-12 teacher
- Social and community service manager
- Probation officer
- Correctional treatment specialist
- Residential caseworker
- Peer support specialist
- Behavioral interventionist
- Entry-level counselor
- Special events development manager
- Social media content analyst
- Community parent educator
- Community programs director
- Family support specialist