Capturing excellence in applied settings: A participant conceptualizer and praxis explicator role for community psychologists

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Community psychology faces a crisis of personpower similar to that which Albee identified in the clinical field four decades ago. It is clear that there are not, and likely never will be, a sufficient number of community psychologists to be able to provide assessment, consultation, and planned change toward facilitating an inclusive psychological sense of community and sound health and prosocial development in all settings that could benefit from such assistance. To help resolve this crisis, an expanded role for community psychologists is proposed: that of participant conceptualizer and praxis explicator. A participant conceptualizer and praxis explicator has the role not only of working within settings to understand and help conceptualize change processes but also of reflecting on action processes that are a part of the setting, of reflecting on theory, and of generating products that share relevant learnings. How action research serves as the methodology that allows the flow and interplay of theory and action to take place also is discussed. Illustrations are drawn from the work of Leonard Bernstein, Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog, and the author's work in area of school-based social competence promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-318
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • action research
  • community psychology
  • participant conceptualizer
  • practice
  • praxis
  • preventive intervention
  • social change


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