Community Psychology Practice Competencies
Community Psychology Practice Competencies
At the Biennial, the SCRA Council on Education Programs and the Council on Community Psychology Practice conducted a plenary session where we presented a revised draft set of competencies for Community Psychology Practice. This list of competencies generated active discussion at the plenary, and a competency for Prevention was added to our list (thank you, Anne Bogat). We are writing to ask you to comment on our draft list.
Do you agree that the competencies listed below are the core competencies for practice in community psychology?
What changes would you advocate?
We would love to have your feedback and discussion.
Please use the comment feature to add your ideas. Let's have a lively discussion
Jim Dalton, Chair, Council on Education Programs
Tom Wolff, Greg Meissen, Co-Chairs, Council on Community Psychology Practice
Community Psychology Practice Competencies (Biennial 2011 list)
- Advocacy & Community Organizing
- Collaboration & Coalition Development
- Community Based Research
- Community & Organizational Development
- Ecological Theory, Analyses & Perspective
- Grant Writing & Resource Development
- Information Dissemination & Public Awareness
- Need & Asset Assessment
- Small & Large Group Processes
- Policy Analysis/Development
- Program Development & Implementation
- Program Evaluation
ADD YOUR IDEAS BELOW (Click on "Edit Article" above to edit this document - login first - or add your ideas using the comments feature):
- Critical Analysis & re-framing - analysis and consciousness of authority and power - analysis of life in communities and larger social and political forces at play. Ability to reframe individual/family problems in terms of structural/systemic conditions.
- Critical Reflexivity - making positions of power and privilege (including one's own) transparent along with awareness of the assumptions, positions, and values practitioners bring to the process.
- Critical Reflection - the ability to critique and learn from practice/acton - successes and failures - alongside those with whom practitioners make alliances.
- Other additions and edits to competency culled from the SCRA list serve responses listed below:
- Serving as a catalyst for change
- Leveraging resources or partnerships
- Ability to empathize with those denied social justice and access to resources
- Primary prevention from ecological perspective
- Community change, community development
- Community and systems change
- Social marketing and public awareness
- Psychology of community
- Cross cultural competence
- Project and management skills
- Community engagement
- Community based research inlcudes: community based participatory research, community level measurement,qualitative research
- Tiers of competencies: general and specialized - what at MS level, what at Ph.D./Psy.D level, what post doc
- From Neville Robertson: List members may be interested to read our (Kiwi) competencies for community psychologists. See appendix 9 (p.86) of the document at http://www.waikato.ac.nz/wfass/subjects/psychology/commpsych/handbook/PGDipPracPsych-Intern-Handbook.pdf
- From Adrian Fischer: The Australian approvals and accreditation process is rather more complex as it has dual focus of generalist training of our students as "psychologists" with the addition of specialist training in the chosen field. From page 24 of the a Course Approvals document there is a detailed listing of requirements for CP training: http://www.psychology.org.au/academic/course-approval/
- Scott, Raymond L. (2007). Establishing core competencies for students in community psychology training. The Community Psychologist, 40(1), 38-41. [Commentary, pp. 41-46]
SCRA-L Postings June 27-28
Posted below are comments from the SCRA-L discussion on June 27-28, through 3 pm EDT. Thanks to Tom Wolff for posing these, and to Scot Evans for creating this wiki page. -- Jim Dalton
Thanks Jim and others for raising this. Good list. Hard to say any one is not important at this level of generality. The "angels are in the details," so to speak. For example, prevention is very broad and I would argue that most prevention strategies are not community psychology's potential contribution. What about the often stated commitment to primary prevention? Shouldn't that be an emphasis of a community psychology? That seems more relevant and where the void in the field is. How do you take an ecological perspective in prevention? There are answers that community psychologists should be aware of through their training.
Focus on community: There is a major difference between working in the community (community based work) and changing communities (community change or community development work). I would like to see more emphasis on community and systems change theories (not the same as the ecological approach), research, and strategies. Community organizing are a couple of those skills, but not the whole picture (e.g. social marketing and public awareness). The big picture of community and systems change is missing. It is still odd to me that community psychology training programs cannot find enough space to teach a course on community (the psychology of community) and other systems. Shouldn't what makes for a healthy and capable community the organizing concept for a true community psychology? What are the subsystems, how to the operate? How do they change? This should be a core expertise of community psychologists.
Community development and organizational development are very different in their focus, theories, and practice, so I don't understand the combination. They are separate.
Oddly, Cross cultural competence (i.e. the ability to work effectively across cultures) is missing
Project and other management skills ( doctoral level practitioners will spend more than 90% of their time managing people, resources, and time if they are successful)
However the most glaring omission to me is that these are mostly skills or methods for a process with a clear statement on the end or product of the process, What will the collaboration accomplish? Lots of collaboration out there, not a lot of documented results from it. What strategies should they be implementing to improve communities in order to address certain social problems and injustices? What is working? What are the factors that have made some community change initiatives (CCI's) successful so far? What strategies provide sufficient scale and sustainability to change a community's social, political, physical or economic environment (isn't that the purpose of an ecological or community change approach)? I would argue that you can do all the things on the list and not improve the quality of life for people in that community unless you know what it take to bring about the most effective changes.
Finally, as an employer and a someone involved in community change, having "community psychology values" has the impact of one hand clapping. Knowledge and skills to be able to change communities and systems will be a lot more attractive to employers and will serve the public a lot more. If you really value something, shouldn't you be trying to be the best you can at knowing about it and doing it? In my opinion, showcasing our values as our prime contribution has lead to complacency in the field and frankly, they are not unique anymore.
Thanks for sending this list around. I'm wondering if you would consider community engagement as a core competency. It is implied in competencies like community organizing and development, and in community-based research, but it might be good to make engagement explicit. Perhaps separately or adding it to community organizing. In my teaching I emphasize the process of working with community members and organizations, and how important relationships are in "engaging" community members in our collaborative work.
Department of Psychology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Given the depth and nature of responses so far, and the profound implications for many different programs, people and interests, to me a higher level systems approach would be helpful and warranted.
One possibility would be a Call For Papers that would be issued by one or more of the various CP related publications, The Community Psychologist, AJCP, the Global Journal of CPP for example, preferably with a diversity of Special Edition editors. While this would take some time perhaps about a year, given the implications and what is at stake, and the age of the Field, it seems a worthwhile investment of both time and resources.
Something along the lines of: "Should the Field or Programs establish Core Competencies for the Training of Community Psychologists? If so, How? If no, Why Not?"
Ideally responses would be published from diverse interests from various nations including Program Directors, employers of community psychologists, field leaders including past SCRA presidents, masters' and doctoral level graduates, as well as such students, along with any others that care about the future of the Field. Commentary with recommendations on moving forward from all these interests seems essential to get a balanced view.
To me, this would allow this newest list of proposed competencies as well as any prior proposed conceptions to be carefully considered and factored into developing consensus on how to move forward. chris
List members may be interested to read our (Kiwi) competencies for community psychologists.
See appendix 9 (p.86) of the document at http://www.waikato.ac.nz/wfass/subjects/psychology/commpsych/handbook/PGDipPracPsych-Intern-Handbook.pdf
While I have some mixed feelings about lists of competencies - they are not always realistic and can be lead to ossification of the field - we have found our competency statements to be very useful, particularly in making the assessment of student interns much more transparent.
Neville Robertson, School of Psychology, University of Waikato (021) 408 558 or (07) 838 4466 ext 8300
I have been enjoying the ongoing discussion of core competencies, both as it has developed over the past few years (at the LA Biennial, in the Practice Council), and through email today.
I am about to graduate, and I have thought a lot about what I have to offer as a community psychologist that is different from a PhD in public health or other field. What Kelly anothers have said makes a lot of sense to me, that it is grounded in community psychology values, and the specific competencies are more like specializations within the field.
The model that my graduate program used for our training in community practice (though it is not necessarily called this) may add to this discussion. We are expected to develop basic competence in multiple areas through coursework, experiences in coursework and research, and practica. In our community psychology comprehensives project, we are expected to move toward expertise in a few of these areas. The task of the graduate student is to identify three core skills which they will use to conduct a project in the community. The student proposes this to a committee, and then defends it when it is complete with an explicit discussion of how this has built competency in those areas.
Perhaps a way to address this issue is multidimensional (I mean, we are community psychologists!): This would include values in one way (social justice, an ecological focus, etc), and two tiers of competency: one that is general, such as the list above, and one that is a specialization, such as a few skills in which one can consider her/himself an expert.
I'm sure there is a more parsimonious way to address this, but perhaps not. We've been thinking about this for a long time! I look forward to hearing more opinions about this!
I think this is a useful and interesting discussion.
One could spend one's entire career building expertise in the practice area of evaluation alone, as with many other competencies on the list. I would assert that the core competencies for a CP practitioner revolve around putting into practice the POVs of CP as a field, which are defined by value-based, value-explicit research and action with attention to context, multiple levels of analysis, and praxis (excellent examples of which are highlighted by Scotney below). Those core competencies are then brought to things like information dissemination and program evaluation.
Kelly Kinnison, PhD
Towards the goal of including some 'critical practice' competencies, a few humble suggestions for the list borrowed from Kagan, et al, 2011 and many others:
Critical Analysis & re-framing - analysis and consciousness of authority and power - analysis of life in communities and larger social and political forces at play. Ability to reframe individual/family problems in terms of structural/systemic conditions.
Critical Reflexivity - making positions of power and privilege (including one's own) transparent along with awareness of the assumptions, positions, and values practitioners bring to the process.
Critical Reflection - the ability to critique and learn from practice/acton - successes and failures - alongside those with whom practitioners make alliances.
Kagan, C., Burton, M., Duckett, P., Lawthom, R., & Siddiquee, A. (2011). Critical Community Psychology (1st ed.). Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Australian approvals and accreditation process is rather more complex as it has dual focus of generalist training of our students as "psychologists" with the addition of specialist training in the chosen field.
From page 24 of the a Course Approvals document there is a detailed listing of requirements for CP training:
I see the logic in all proposed key competencies listed to date, and I am delighted that "key competencies" are now a live topic of discussion. However, it seems to me that we are headed toward having so many key competencies that no one academic level or program can cover them all sufficiently to assure competence in all.
So, after everyone has had opportunity to suggest and debate key competencies, my supplemental questions will go like this:
Are each of the proposed key competencies really key; key to what career tracks? What do we really mean by "key"?
Which competencies should be taught at which academic levels?
Which should be introduced at undergraduate levels; or should all be introduced in overview fashion so undergraduate students have a general understanding and can select which competencies they may choose to pursue in graduate school?
Which should be taught at MS/MS levels and at Ph.D./Psy.D. levels?
Which should be taught at post-doctoral level or within a somewhat structured CPE offering?
If the latter, who might sponsor such offerings? (I keep hoping that SCRA will begin to offer CPE.)
Do we need to define several potential community psychology career tracks and teach within each track the competencies that are agreed to be key within that career track?
Can arrive at consensus and some acceptable degree of consistency and clarity across the offerings by CP training programs?
Enough questions for now. Jim, I want to urge you strongly to post this entire discussion on the SCRA student listserv, in addition to the SCRA-L. I believe that students should have full awareness of this discussion, and opportunity to comment as they choose.
From: "Medvene, Louis" <Louis.Medvene@wichita.edu>
Date: June 27, 2011 12:36:52 PM EDT
To: "Dalton, James" <email@example.com>
Subject: Community Competencies
Good to talk with you at the conference. I'm sorry we didn't get more of a chance to talk; I had no idea how important a threat the community practice emphasis would be at the conference - and is becoming.
I've looked over the competencies briefly; I've seen earlier versions of the list and have been part of smaller discussions. Many things to say here; my two cents is something that everyone talks about - that programs will need to pick and chose the competencies on which they focus. And, secondly, I think it is really useful to think in terms of the context in which these skills are practiced. Along these lines, I think it is useful to think in terms of non-profits, and maybe coalitions. In these contexts the listed competencies have to do with capacity building for the non-profits.
Louis J. Medvene, Ph.D.
Competency commentary SCRA L
From: "Jenkins, Richard (NIH/NIDA) [E]" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: June 27, 2011 12:03:06 PM EDT
To: "Dalton, James" <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: feedback needed on list of core competencies for practice
"Community-based research" seems too broad and should be broken down into major parts including those which are methodological (the list has no methodology):
Community-based participatory research (this approach is widely recognized enough that it has its own NIH study section and numerous listservs)
Community-level measurement (population-based methods, GIS, non-probability methods like capture-recapture)
Qualitative research methods (ethnographic observation, focus groups, depth interviews)
Richard A. Jenkins, PhD-
Health Scientist Administrator
Prevention Research Branch
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
6001 Executive Blvd.
Rm. 5185 MSC 9589
Bethesda, MD 20892-9589