TCP 52 (2) Spring 2019

A Publication of the Society for Community Research and Action
Division 27 of the American Psychological Association

Volume 52 Number 2 Spring 2019

From the PresidentBrad_Olsen.jpg

Bradley Olsen
National Louis University Chicago

The theme of the Biennial this year is Ecological Praxis: System Complexity, Cycles of Action, and Extending the Metaphors with the Natural World. 

What does this mean?

Quite a few Biennial submissions received, interpreted, and expanded the “ecological praxis” theme, quite accurately –not that there was a wrong answer—and they did so in intriguing ways. The “Ecological”, in part, recognizes Jim Kelly as a founder of our field and his pioneering, and continued work, on “becoming ecological”. Our attention to “ecology” is now central to SCRA. And yet the ecology metaphor and the ecological realities still possess potential meanings, ecology as, for instance, social systems, multiple-levels, person, and environmental fit. Multiple meanings have instantiated themselves into our community psychology consciousness in complex ways. There is the social ecology in which we work and live. Yet equally meaningful is the connection of ecology to the most meaningful non-human ecosystems around us. The non-human ecology existed before the human, social ecology, and hopefully they will continue on this earth for a long time.


From the Editors  


Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates, and Dominique Thomas, University of Michigan,

In January 2018 The Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization at Pacifica Graduate Institute was poised to host the Community Research and Action in the West (CRA-W) conference. The theme was Deconstructing Coloniality / Creating Decoloniality in Community Psychology. Unfortunately, the conference was canceled after unprecedented flooding following wildfires. While we were grateful that the Pacifica Graduate Institute campus was spared, we were saddened by the tragic disaster surrounding the campus and disappointed that this exciting opportunity to delve into decoloniality was lost to us. As a response, we invited the faculty and students who had worked hard to organize this conference to submit a special feature to TCP. In this issue we are eager to present the amazing and thought-provoking set of articles they assembled. We hope TCP readers find them as engaging as we did.


Special Feature:  Decoloniality and Positionality

Edited by Breana Johnson, Tarell Kyles, and Mari Larangeira, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Colonialism and resistance to it, began in the 15th century with the imposition of European cultures and geopolitical powers upon Indigenous cultures. While simultaneously carving up land and bodies in terms of the material exploitation of non-European entities, colonialism also resulted in a sort of “carving up” of human consciousness and psyche. These fracturing processes, which culminated in European settler-colonies within the non-European world, the near annihilation of indigenous peoples, and the genocide and enslavement of Africana peoples has led to a paradigm shift of a most horrific kind: a global colonial matrix of domination that continues in the ongoing exploitation of the Global South by the Global North.


The Community Practitioner

Edited by Nicole Freund, Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute Center for Applied Research and Evaluation

Getting Ready for the Year Ahead: A Year in Review

Written by Olya Glantsman, Depaul University and Nicole Freund, Wichita State University

One of the aims of the Community Psychology Practice Council (CPPC) is to support community psychology practice in settings outside academic institutions and increase the visibility of this work. In 2018, the CPPC continued to expand the visibility, reach, and impact of community psychology practice through opportunities for connection, support, and professional development across SCRA and other professional organizations and committees. We did that by helping to:

  • Continue conversations about defining practice,
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of community work,
  • Increase opportunities to be seen as legitimate and acknowledged,
  • Increase the visibility of Community Psychology practice, and
  • Provide individual and institutional support.

This column will highlight some of the work done in 2018 and the plans forming for the coming year.

Criminal Justice Interest Group 

Edited by Jessica Shaw, Boston College of Social Work

The Criminal Justice Interest Group Column features the work and ideas of our members. We encourage readers to reach out to the authors if they are interested in learning more or exploring potential opportunities for collaboration. We also invite readers to join one of our upcoming Learning Community Series presentations in which Criminal Justice Interest Group members share their work virtually to foster a learning community. More information, and recording of prior presentations, can be viewed at


Immigrant Justice Interest Group

Edited by Fabricio Balcazar, University of Illinois Chicago and Kevin Ferreira, California State University Sacramento

Working Alongside Refugees in Mental Health (WARM)

Written by Jordan Snyder, Samantha Skirko, Dale Golden, Nyabony Gat, and Sara L. Buckingham, University of Alaska Anchorage and Issa Spatrisano, Catholic Social Services Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services

On a crisp Saturday in January 2019, mental health practitioners and affiliates gathered for the first Working Alongside Refugees in Mental Health (WARM) full-day workshop in Anchorage, Alaska. Representing various mental health professions and levels of training – psychologists, counselors, social workers, and graduate students – all workshop attendees had a unified purpose: To understand more of refugees’ experiences and cultural and contextual considerations when providing mental health care. Jointly developed between Alaska’s refugee resettlement program, Catholic Social Services Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services (RAIS) and a faculty member in the Clinical-Community Psychology PhD Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and her students, the ultimate goal of WARM is to increase the availability of culturally-relevant, linguistically-appropriate, evidence-based mental health treatment for refugee community members in Alaska. And so, the cold morning had an air of excitement surrounding the start of a new network that could meet a significant community need. Below we discuss reflections on WARM, including its rationale, our partnership, the first workshop, preliminary evaluation, and future directions.


Regional Network News

Edited by Scot Evans – Regional Network Coordinator

Do you know what’s going on in your region? It is always a good time check out your SCRA region information on the website and contact the regional coordinators to see what is going on ( Has your region been too quiet these days? Get involved and shake things up! I’m looking at you students! Check out the latest news from the Southeast and Midwest regions of the U.S.


Research Council

Edited by Chris Keys, DePaul University 

Inaugural Cohort of SCRA Research Scholars Selected

Written by Chris Keys, DePaul University

The SCRA Research Council is delighted to announce the outcome of the initial cycle of recruitment, review, and selection of Research Scholar applicants. Initially known as SCRA Research Fellows, the program name was recently changed to SCRA Research Scholars to use a less gendered term. The SCRA Research Council was founded in 2017 and decided a good way to begin supporting community research would be to help untenured community psychology faculty enhance their research programs and become tenured. Such scholars may become tenured faculty, contribute to community research literature, and mentor future scholars for decades to come. In winter 2018 the SCRA Executive Committee (EC) approved the SCRA Research Scholars Program and committed $10,000 to support two Scholars. In addition to financial support for two Scholars, all Scholars receive mentoring assistance from an accomplished senior researcher in community psychology or related field. After final approval by the EC in the summer, in fall the Research Council called for applications and was happy that 13 talented young university researchers on the tenure track applied. After carefully reviewing the large number of talented applicants, the Council members selected the following four very promising assistant professors in community psychology graduate programs or programs including community psychology as SCRA Research Scholars: Elan Hope, North Carolina State University; Nkiru Nnawulezi, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Ida Salusky, DePaul University; and Victoria Scott, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

To introduce the readers of The Community Psychologist to this inaugural cohort of Research Scholars, here are a brief biography of each Scholar and a short account of their plans as a Research Scholar:


Rural Interests

Edited by Susana Helm, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

The Rural IG column of The Community Psychologist highlights rural resources as well as the work of community psychologist and allied professionals in their rural environments. Please email me if you would like to submit an article or brief report for the Rural column or if you have resources we may list here (

We invite submissions from current and new Rural IG members, from people who present on rural topics during SCRA biennial and other conferences; and from leading and emergent rural scholars publishing in rural-focused journals (e.g. Rural Sociology, Journal of Rural Studies, Journal of Rural Health, Journal of Rural Mental Health, Rural and Remote Health). Please refer your colleagues and friends in academia and beyond to our interest group and column. We especially appreciate submissions from students, early career scholars, and practitioners.


Self-Help Interest Group

Edited by Tehseen Noorani, University of East London

Peer Bridgers: A Distinctive Kind of Peer Provider Connecting Homeless People to Collaborative Housing ad Self-Help Support Groups at SHARE!

Written by Elizabeth G. Hartigan, Ruth Hollman, and Jason Robison, SHARE! The Self-Help and Recovery Exchange

The principles and practices of member-run mutual-help groups or self-help support groups have been increasingly adapted into new forms of mental health peer provider roles.  An increasing number of US states sponsor peer provider credentialing programs that are reimbursable by Medicaid, and mental health consumers are frequently being employed as peer providers in consumer-run services and in professional, clinical, and rehabilitative services (Myrick & del Vecchio, 201; Salzer 2010).


Student Issues

Edited by Erin Godly-Reynolds, University of North Carolina Charlotte

"A Voice for Our Neighborhood": A Community Photovoice Collaboration with Youth

Written by Lindsey Roberts, Bowling Green State University

Researchers have long recognized the importance of environments in shaping youth development. Neighborhoods shape the daily experiences of residents, and in turn, neighborhood environments are shaped by residents. Most often, researchers focus on how economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods expose children to risk factors that, when compared to their peers in more affluent neighborhoods, place them at a higher risk for poor outcomes. Despite the evidence that neighborhoods influence residents of all ages, youth perspectives are often not valued, and youth input is largely excluded from intervention planning and decision-making processes (Frank, 2006; Santo, Ferguson, & Trippel, 2010).

SCRA Member Spotlight

Edited by Dominique Thomas, University of Michigan 

The SCRA Member Spotlight is a new way for us to engage our members and highlight great works! Each issue will we solicit submissions of accomplishments. We especially would like students, early career scholars, and practitioners to submit their accomplishments and work. Submission can include but are certainly not limited to:

  • New jobs
  • Post-docs
  • Promotions
  • Thesis/Dissertation Defenses
  • Newly published journal articles, books, chapters
  • Podcasts, blogs, news items that are by or about you
  • Certifications or other credentials
  • Retirement
  • Grants
  • Awards
  • Successful/ongoing projects
  • New projects of community initiatives

If you are interested in submitting for the next issue, please click this link and fill out the form. We hope to hear from you!


From our Members

Edited by Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates

Nurturing the Student Expert in Graduate and Undergraduate Community Psychology Course

Written by Heather Lewis Quagliana, Lee University


As professors, I think we have the tendency to teach students first, and then have them apply course content later. Community psychology courses lend themselves to a practical, creative way of teaching that I have come to call, nurturing the student expert. In this approach, students are emerging experts in the field, offering complementary expertise to me and their classmates. With graduate students, this can be easier to nurture as they are typically engaged in practical work, have some experience from their undergraduate years, and often take more responsibility for their professional development. With that said, I think there are specific ways in which we can engage graduate students more effectively in developing both confidence and expertise.


SCRA Announcements

Edited by Susan M. Wolfe       

2019 SCRA Awards Announced

Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research in Community Psychology Award: Dr. Thomasina Borkman

Dr. Thomasina Borkman has made substantial contributions to community psychology theory and research on self-help/mutual aid groups and voluntary community–based organizations. For over four decades, she has conducted innovative survey based, ethnographic, and participatory action research into the processes and understandings of self-help and mutual support groups. Dr. Borkman’s research, leadership, and policy work helped the field of self-help move forward nationally and internationally and has contributed to research and knowledge in the fields of community psychology, sociology, policy studies, and voluntary action. She introduced the important concept of experiential knowledge as an overlooked but critically important form of knowledge possessed by non-academics and non-professionals, which values the lived experiences and knowledge of community members. Through her research and policy work, Dr. Borkman has advocated for using the language, perspectives, and voices of community members within community organizations to more fully understand the roles, processes, and strengths of mutual support groups and other community-based organizations.