Community psychology is the psychological discipline that offers theoretical tools to understand the ongoing world crisis. The ecological model is our theoretical hallmark. The ecological model assumes that community integration is the adaptive result of direct influences of the community context, the social networks and personal and group characteristics. Peculiar of the ecological approach is the fact of emphasizing the importance of material, cultural and social resources availability (Prilleltensky, 2009). Community psychology studies the interactions between individual and contexts taking into consideration relational, organizational, cultural, economical and political issues, in their single domains as well as their actions and reciprocalinteractions on each single event of the psychic and relational life of the individuals and groups.
Furthermore, the emerging of continuous social transformations that interest the citizen contexts invites scholars and administrators to tackle new problems.

The complexity of social changes and the phenomena of marginalization and exclusion, together with the interdisciplinary interest of various experts working in the field of psychology, town-planning and economics for territorial planning and for sustainable development, open up new study and intervention perspectives by placing the individuals and more specifically the citizens at the centre thereof.


[What are the purposes of Community Psychology?]

On this basis:

• CP can explain how social facts affect individuals; how organizational and relational issues related with laws and cultural demands and safe environment influence people’s lives.

• CP has a special concern in enlightening the effects of oppression, liberation and wellbeing on people. Unemployment and job insecurity have been demonstrated to have destructive and socially unjust consequences for individuals, families, organisations, communities and countries. So its focus is not only on prevention, but rather on social change. Its main goals are then both epistemic and transformative. Justice, equality and democracy are its values.

• CP analyzes the role of power, justice, and equality in relation to wellbeing. Therefore it assumes social justice and equality as values.

• CP analyzes the effects of the dominant culture in relation to social development: it analyzes the effects of colonization and financial domain on minorities and overwhelmed groups.

• CP analyzes the power in the microphysics of relationships distinguishing between dependence, and interdependence.

• CP, therefore, gives value to the bonds and ties and put in relation the respect for the individual’s rights along with the interdependence awareness.

• CP does not agree about the adoption of individualistic solutions and in its perspective interdependence is a main value. CP, therefore, promotes the respect for individual’s rights, justice and fairness.

• CP operates towards the fair distribution of power and social opportunities within our societies and seeks to prevent or reduce the negative consequences of unjust societal arrangements by working collaboratively at both objective and subjective levels with people, in their everyday community contexts, to increase their control over their lives through bringing about societal change.

  • CP activity concerns the awareness about the influence of global economics on individual wellbeing.
CP performs an activity of advocacy for the respect of minorities.
  •  CP provides training as negotiator and mediator of individual and local conflicts.
In our globalized world, CP will be an awareness instrument for the de- ideologization, deconstruction and decolonization of psychology, contributing to a more critical approach to human sciences.


Caterina Arcidiacono, President ECPA 2011-2013

(ECPA Bullettin 1,2012,p.12)