Original Articles

Challenging the Frontiers of Community Psychology: A South African Experience

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 16, issue 2, 2006 , pages: 283–291
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2006.10820132
Author(s): Ilse RuaneDepartment of Psycology, South Africa

Abstract

The development of community psychology is of vital importance in South Africa because of the historical context, questions about the relevance of mainstream western psychology and the current social change in the country in the post-apartheid era. Accordingly successful community psychology practices for a South Africa in transition need greater dissemination for access and utilization in the communities. This article draws on the community work conducted at the Itsoseng Clinic to show how and why community psychology could be made more relevant to the new South Africa. The Itsoseng Clinic is a psychology clinic that is situated in the township of Mamelodi. The clinic provides several services including counselling, psychometric assessment, psycho educational workshops, and HIV/AIDS pre and post-test counselling. The clients and community that the clinic serves are of low socio-economic status and struggle with a lack of material and personnel resources. The individuals working within the Itsoseng Clinic represent a diversity that is in itself a valuable resource for supporting the core activities of the clinic. This article explores various themes that were identified within the research study such as, making community, entering the ecology of life, closing the divide and bridging the boundaries.

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