Critically Compare Community Psychology and Public Health Approaches to Social Problems Essay

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Assignment 01 PYC 4811- 723697 Community Psychology This essay will critically compare the community psychology and public health approaches to social problems. Community Psychology Community psychology seeks to move beyond the treatment of individuals with mental illness and include entire populations or small groups and communities into treatment initiatives. Community psychologists feel that it is not enough to focus on a few individuals only, who would benefit from psychotherapy sessions but leave the rest of the community or population abandoned as their access to psychologists is very limited. In an interview conducted with Dr Albee, Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, Vol 5 207- 214 (1995) he mentions the following which highlights the limitation of mainstream curative therapy: “When you need to have your teeth fixed you would go to a dentist who would treat it to prevent decay and loss of teeth which has a therapeutic and cosmetic effect. However one person having this treatment does not affect the dental problems of children and other people. It’s only when fluoride is added to drinking water, which is a form of primary prevention that we reduce the rate of dental deterioration in the population.” Reducing the rate of incidences in the population through effective interventions is the ultimate goal of this approach. However prevention will not be possible unless we understand the social origins of problems such as unemployment, poverty and illness. It is necessary to move beyond individuals by taking into account broader social and economic stressors. Only when we understand this can we deal successfully with treating them and possibly curing them. Social change is required as so many problems have at their root a social origin. An example of a Community Psychology centre is the UNISA Health Psychology Unit and Centre for

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