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Table 6

Guidelines for
Critical Psychology Practice
in Community Settings

Adapted from

Isaac Prilleltensky & Geoff Nelson
Doing Psychology Critically:
Making a Difference in Diverse Settings

Critical Psychology Tenets

Qualities of the Content and Process


Content: Community settings vary widely in the degree to which they espouse values that are ameliorative or transformative. A major task for critical psychologists working with people in community settings is to encourage the members of the setting to clarify the vision and values which guide the practices of the setting.

Process: A collaborative approach which is inclusive of disadvantaged people is needed for clarification of the vision and values of the setting. Participatory processes are needed to develop, reflect on, and implement values that promote personal, relational, and collective wellness.


Content: Many community settings are not inclusive to disadvantaged people and view disadvantaged people from the lens of a “charity” approach, rather than a social justice approach. Recognize that through participation in community settings, there is the potential for personal growth, relationship development, and social change. Encourage people in community settings to reframe the problems of disadvantaged people such that the community is seen as part of the problem and thus as a necessary part of any solution to improve the lives of disadvantaged people.

Process: Bring together disadvantaged people with service-providers and other stakeholders to develop egalitarian partnerships. It is through such partnerships that assumptions can be challenged and alternative assumptions can be formulated. Focus on the strengths of disadvantaged people and the knowledge and skills that they bring to the partnership..


Content: Develop practices and programs that are based on transformative values which promote personal, relational, and collective wellness. Focus on changing the social context, rather than changing individuals.

Process: Disadvantaged people become active agents in the development and implementation of programs and supports provided by community settings. Encourage partnership processes that reflect personal, relational, and collective values which promote wellness


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Updated 30 September 2007 - Contacts
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