Published: August 24, 2018
It takes a special skill set to build a successful career in community psychology, a field that focuses on the application of psychological concepts to promote wellness in individuals and communities.
It requires you to be empathetic to difficult situations while simultaneously being able to step back and objectively analyze them. But if you can do this, you’ll discover a rewarding career that offers a variety of opportunities to positively impact lives.
Continue reading to discover five traits we’ve identified as essential to becoming a successful community psychologist. You can also check out our post about five careers you can pursue with a degree in community psychology, or learn more about what community psychology is here.
It may sound cliché, but the desire to want to help people is at the most fundamental level of community psychology. A community psychologist must be compassionate and possess a desire to make a positive difference at an individual and community level. This is a necessary foundation to succeed in this line of work because of how their careers can impact the everyday lives of people and the communities they live in.
Community psychologists must be confident in their understanding of how psychological principles can be applied in various contexts. They also must be ready to stand behind any potential research findings that advocacy groups may use as a foundation to advocate for systemic reforms.
Those who enter the field of community psychology should not take things at face value. When presented with a problem, their curiosity should drive a need to dig deeper in search of the root cause of a potential issue. For example, if there is an increase in the number of teenagers within a community who are cutting class, some may say they’re just teens being teens. But a community psychologist digging deeper may reveal that his or her school’s curriculum is not suited to the student’s learning styles, or the school lacks the resources to engage at-risk students.
Community psychologists must possess strong analytical skills. This will help them interpret, analyze, and translate their research findings. This also means that a community psychologist, though empathetic, must be able to examine a situation from an objective perspective.
When trying to understand exactly what is going on with an individual or community, conceptualization provides community psychologists to look at a situation holistically and historically to better understand what may be affecting them currently. At Pacific Oaks, this skill is embedded throughout the curriculum of our community psychology program, further enhancing our students’ ability to succeed in the field.
Pursuing a degree in community psychology can be a great first step to help you refine these skills. If you would like to learn more about community psychology programs at Pacific Oaks, visit the program page, or fill out the form below to request more information.