5 Professional Organizations for Community Psychologists

As a community psychologist, you can always choose an area of specialization from various fields. This will be mostly determined by your training and the amount of experience you have amassed. Among the various career paths, you can choose to be an educator, consultant, policy developer, program director and even a researcher in public institutions such as universities and various government agencies.

A psychologist needs to observe, interpret and record the relationship between people with fellow human beings as well as with their environment in order to learn and understand various processes in human life including cognitive, social and emotional aspects, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nevertheless, you cannot always work alone and you’ll therefore need to team up with other professionals in the field. The best ways of gaining additional skills and experience as well as getting a chance for active participation include joining other professionals in various organizations for community psychologists.

1. American Psychological Association

It is one of the largest professional organizations for psychologists in the United States. With about 117,500 members, it has annual budget of $115m and is made up of 54 divisions with a deep interest in psychology. The professionals included in its membership are drawn from different specialties and related fields. By becoming its member, you’ll be joining consultants, clinicians, educators, scientists and students. The main aim of APA as a scientific and professional psychological organization is creating, communicating and applying the gained knowledge and experience in the psychological field in improving the well-being of the society and the individual lives of people.

2. Society for Community Research and Action

The organization is the 27th division of the American Psychological Association. Their main focus is community research and action through several different disciplines. Its members are charged with empowering individuals, groups and solving problems that negatively affect them by promoting health and providing empowerment to communities.

The principles of the organization are based on four pillars of community psychology. They include a global reach, inclusion of different sectors in the discipline of community psychology, values of social justice and promotion of social justice through research. As a member of the psychological organization, you will be expected to be actively involved in fighting oppression and empowering disadvantaged people as well as reducing inequalities in the social arena.

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3. The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

With a 2,500-strong membership, SPSSI has a strong focus in topics affecting the society. Since 1945, it has published the Journal of Social Issues, which puts to light several issues affecting the community. They include those linked to health, education, poverty, religion, technology, politics and well-being of workers as well as relationships between groups.

Contributors of the journal are drawn from various nations. They include career scholars, researchers and professionals from a range of relevant fields. The journal editor and the editorial board work closely together to produce a quarterly issue with articles related topolicy, theoretical and empirical considerations. The organization holds regular conferences to explore issues related to social psychology.

4. Association for Psychological Science 

Formerly known as American Psychological Society, APS is an international organization with the aim of applying scientific psychology in research, teaching and improving human welfare. To its name, the organization has a number of continuously published journals. It also makes available the findings of psychological research to the public in annual meetings.

Among its 26,000 members are scientists, scholars, clinicians, teachers, administrators and researchers. Upon joining APS, you’ll automatically gain access to its various publications including Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Psychological Science, Clinical Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, the Observer and Perspectives on Psychological Science. You’ll also get an opportunity to advance your career by networking with other members and researchers as well as presenting your research in the organization’s Annual Convection.

5. Association for Psychological Science Student Caucus

As the division of the APS, the APSSC represents the psychological students’ body. Undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in pursuing a degree or a psychology equivalent at a recognized institution are allowed to be members. If you are graduate or undergraduate student affiliate of the parent association, you have the benefit of becoming a member of APSSC automatically.

Its membership comes with several opportunities for advancing your career and gaining experience in community psychology. They include acting as a representative in campus, participating in research competitions and even getting your work published in two of the student publications: Undergraduate Update and Student Notebook. Every year, the Annual Convection, by APS, provides a range of programming for both students and professionals who are just beginning their practice.

Related Resource: 5 Great Books for Applied Psychology

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A community psychologist is expected to go the extra mile in his or her practice. This means that apart from the usual focus on the mental health and well-being of the individual, you’ll have to include many other areas in your career. They include cultural, social, economic, political and environmental aspects of humankind and you, therefore, have to be a member of one or more of the available professional organizations for community psychologists.