While community psychology is one of the fastest growing professions, its basic focus remains providing the best support possible for members of the society in different environments. In addition, it serves to help prevent a larger number of problems endangering their mental health. In short, the responsibility of a communist psychologist is to enhance the well-being of people in every level of society.
No doubt that community psychology is still a part of the larger psychology family. Nevertheless, there are distinct characteristics that should set you apart from other professions in that family, according to the Society for Community Research and Action. Remember, you should have a global outlook with an exceptional ability for organization.
1. Impeccable Communication Skills
Like in many other professionals, communication skills are an important characteristic. The difference with community psychology, however, is that your oral and written skills should not only be good but also perfect. The main reason for this is the fact that your job will involve direct communication with people drawn from diverse groups in the community.
Keep in mind that a community psychologist is primarily a provider of solutions to different problems affecting the community. They include mental health issues and conflict resolutions as well as social justice. To provide these solutions, you’ll need exemplary communication skills when corresponding with not only affected people in the society but also fellow professionals as well as those who specialize in other fields.
2. Identifying With Members of the Society
In order to be effective in your work as a community psychologist, you must convince the people who make up the particular society in which you wish to work that you are part of them and you have their interests at heart. For this, you’ll need to possess excellent interpersonal skills. By identifying with the people, you’ll not only be able to understand their problems through experience, but also easily find local solutions to them. In addition, you’ll also be able to bring different individuals together in the quest to provide a common solution to a problem affecting the general society as well as identify talents and characteristics that may go a long way in speeding up the problem-solving process.
3. Ability to Embrace Diversity
Anytime a community psychologist is assigned to work in a certain community, he or she is expected to quickly adapt to their way of living with ease. Therefore, ability to abandon any former culture and welcome a new one is an indispensable quality. In addition, diversity is bound to be a part of any population that you come across along the way and you must solve everyone’s problems in the most practical and comfortable manner. You will also need to appreciate the fact that different communities have different resources and economic strengths and you must, therefore, be ready to work with whatever resources are available in the particular community you are working with.
4. Risk Taker
Not every community psychologist can expect to get the best atmosphere for his or her work. In the course of your work, you will be sure to encounter several difficulties. You should, therefore, be ready to take risks and come up with new ideas and implement them for better problem-solving.
Remember that a new idea, irrespective of how well thought-out it is, may still fail. The difference between you and any other psychologist is the ability to never give up even after several failures. One of the best ways of handling failures and ensuring more opportunities for success is abandoning the common line of thought and applying more creative means to successfully effect change in the society.
Unlike other professionals in psychology, community psychologists will often find themselves working with people from different backgrounds. This means that there are different emotional and physical experiences involving pain and feelings of discrimination and injustice. In order to make the people feel at home with you and, therefore, gain success in your career, empathy should be a natural part of you. Additionally, you will be required to be patient with the different people you will be helping and not expect instant results from them. Keep in mind that you will have to spend a lot of time conducting research and you’ll have to wait for emergence of the expected results.
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The most important qualities of a community psychologist are ones that allows the professional to shift his or her focus from personal aspirations. In addition, he or should be able to keep aside the institutions that may have sponsored him or her. The above characteristics play a great role in enabling community psychologists to carry out their work without much difficulty and ensuring success in their careers.