Competencies for Community Psychology Practice

 After the 2011 Biennial, the Community Psychology Practice Council and the Council of Education Programs appointed a task group focused on defining practice competencies for the field. These competencies were developed with the intent to  communicate the nature and contributions of community psychology practice to prospective students and psychological colleagues, and to articulate for prospective employers the the set of skills they could expect from a practicing community psychologist. The 18 competencies were not developed to be standards for accrediting programs. Instead, they offer a framework for discussion of the skills involved in community psychology practice, fosters innovation in opportunities for developing these skills in graduate education and allows for transparency of graduate training. To read more about the practice competencies, click here: Dalton & Wolfe (2012).

Community Psychology Value Proposition

The following document was created to articulate the value of community psychology practitioners in various workplace settings.

  1. Evidence based Community Psychology Value Proposition

Articles on Community Psychology Education and the Practice Competencies

The Community Psychology Practice Council and the Council of Education Programs have collaborated on several articles concerned with the state of community psychology education as well as the extent to which community psychology competencies are addressed in graduate programs. Each of these papers can be found in the The Community Psychologist. Click on one of the titles below.

  1. Education Connection and The Community Practitioner
  2. Graduate Training in Community Psychology Practice Competencies: Responses to the 2012 Survey of Graduate Programs in Community Psychology
  3. Examining the Guiding Competencies in Community Psychology Practice from Students' Perspectives

Foundational Principles

1.  Ecological Perspectives 

The ability to articulate and apply multiple ecological perspectives and levels of analysis in community practice.

2.  Empowerment

The ability to articulate and apply a collective empowerment perspective, to support communities that have been marginalized in their efforts to gain access to resources and to participate in community decision-making.

3.  Sociocultural and Cross-Cultural Competence  

The ability to value, integrate, and bridge multiple worldviews, cultures, and identities.

4.  Community Inclusion and Partnership

The ability to promote genuine representation and respect for all community members, and act to legitimize divergent perspectives on community and social issues.

5.  Ethical, Reflective Practice

In a process of continual ethical improvement, the ability to identify ethical issues in one’s own practice, and act to address them responsibly. To articulate how one’s own values, assumptions, and life experiences influence one’s work, and articulate the strengths and limitations of one’s own perspective. To develop and maintain professional networks for ethical consultation and support.

Community Program Development and Management

6. Program Development, Implementation and Management

The ability to partner with community stakeholders to plan, develop, implement and sustain programs in community settings.

7.  Prevention and Health Promotion

The ability to articulate and implement a prevention perspective, and to implement prevention and health promotion community programs. 

Community and Organizational Capacity Building

8.  Community Leadership and Mentoring

Leadership: The ability to enhance the capacity of individuals and groups to lead effectively, through a collaborative process of engaging, energizing and mobilizing those individuals and groups regarding an issue of shared importance.

Mentoring:  The ability to assist community members to identify personal strengths and social and structural resources that they can develop further and use to enhance empowerment, community engagement, and leadership.

9. Small and Large Group Processes

The ability to intervene in small and large group processes, in order to facilitate the capacity of community groups to work together productively.

10. Resource Development

The ability to identify and integrate use of human and material resources, including community assets and social capital.

11. Consultation and Organizational Development

The ability to facilitate growth of an organization’s capacity to attain its goals.

Community and Social Change

12. Collaboration and Coalition Development  

The ability to help groups with common interests and goals to do together what they cannot do apart.

13. Community Development

The ability to help a community develop a vision and take actions toward becoming a healthy community.

14. Community Organizing and Community Advocacy

The ability to work collaboratively with community members to gain the power to improve conditions affecting their community.

15. Public Policy Analysis, Development and Advocacy

The ability to build and sustain effective communication and working relationships with policy makers, elected officials, and community leaders.

16. Community Education, Information Dissemination, and Building Public Awareness

The ability to communicate information to various segments of the public, to strengthen competencies and awareness, or for advocacy. To give community psychology away.

Community Research

17. Participatory Community Research

The ability to work with community partners to plan and conduct research that meet high standards of scientific evidence that are contextually appropriate, and to communicate the findings of that research in ways that promote community capacity to pursue community goals. 

18. Program Evaluation

The ability to partner with community/setting leaders and members to promote program improvement and program accountability to stakeholders and funders.

Adopted from Dalton & Wolfe (2012 Education Connection and The Community Practitioner. The Community Psychologist, 45 (4), 7-13.


Practice-Based Books to Develop Core Competency Skills

These books may be used to promote skill development by educators and students, as well as graduates and practitioners that wish to develop specific CC related skills to enhance their professional development and expand skills in demand by employers.
[See The Community Psychologist 45(4), p.8-14 for a detailed description of the development and approval of the eighteen Core Competencies. The listing below identifies various texts and some of the core competencies illustrated, along with a journal review to provide further context.]

Corbett, C. (2011). Advancing nonprofit stewardship through self-regulation: Translating principles into practice. Sterling, VA.: Kumarian Press.
Core Competencies: 5, 11, 12 & 15.
Book Review: Journal of Nonprofit Education & Leadership, Dec. 2013; 3(2), 112-114.

Jason, L. (2013). Principles of social change. New York: Oxford University Press.
Core Competencies: 7, 8, & 12-17
Book Review: The Australian Community Psychologist, June 2013; 25(1), 111-113.

Jason, L. & Glenwick, D. (Eds.) (2012). Methodological approaches to community-based research.
Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Core Competencies: 1, 3 & 17.
Book Review: Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, March 2013; 4(1).

Odell, C & Wineburg, R. (2010). Pracademics and Community Change. Chicago: Lyceum Press.
Core Competencies: 2, 6, 10, & 12-16.
Book Review: Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, Jan. 2011; 1(3).

Viola, J. & McMahon, S. (2011). Consulting and evaluation with nonprofit and community-based organizations. Sudbury, MA.: Jones & Bartlett.
Core Competencies: 11, 15 & 18.
Book Review: Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, Jan. 2011; 1(3).

Wolff, T. (2010). The power of collaborative solutions: Six principles and effective tools for building healthy communities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Core Competencies: 2-4, 6-9 & 11-17.
Book Review: Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, Sept. 2010; 1(2).