ECPA calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an end to the genocide of the Palestinians. The Palestinian people have the right to have a place to call home, in which they can feel safe, feel legitimised in their existence, and have their needs recognised. It is time to end the violence against, and the oppression of, the Palestinian people, and to give them back spaces of dignity, recognition, and power. The Palestinian people are not Hamas! The Palestinian people have a right to a future and to their land; they cannot suffer oppression and the violation of human rights any longer. As European community psychologists committed to social justice, we repudiate war and demand respect for the human, civil and political rights of the Palestinian people.
We have learned that Victoria University finally decided to close the Master’s program of Applied (Community) Psychology, despite vast opposition from the community of academic and professional psychologists across the world.
ECPA want to express its solidarity with its Australian colleagues and is willing to offer its support to keep Australian Community Psychology active and strongly present in the Global Community. ECPA website and virtual spaces welcome any initiative that can contribute to this scope.
Dott.Anita Rubino, Dipartimento per le dipendenze Asl Napoli1 Centro
Psychology today and Environmental future issues
Prof. Christoph Steinebach, President EFPA
Dr. David Lazzari President CNOP
Prof. Santo Di Nuovo President INPA
Prof. Cinzia Albanesi President ECPA
10.00 How to use the tools of Community Psychology (e.g., Participatory Research) to support and stimulate climate engagement?
Chair prof. Immacolata Di Napoli
Promising projects to fight climate change based on Community Psychology principles
Prof. Minou Mebane EFPA WG CP Project on climate change
Prof. Bjørn Z. Ekelund
Strengthening innovative capability for community engagement and climate issues.4 cases applying Theory U and Diver
Community psychological perspectives on climate change
prof Emeritus Bernd Roehrle, University of Marburg
Climate change and community psychology issues
Prof. Fortuna Procentese, President SIPCO,University Federico II Naples
11/25 UN day to fight violence against women and climate change. The respect of the earth as a non-predatory feminine value
Marina Passos, phd Student University Federico II
12.15-14.00 Workshop The New Bank of Community Ideas and Solutions In Quest of a Common Global Currency of Tomorrow
In this 2-hours workshop, we will analyze and present patterns of success built into the moments and sense of community, in order to make them transferable to other situations and areas. Interactively, we will discuss conditions needed to create and tell transformative community stories, and share our own stories.
Wolfgang Stark (Germany), with Bill Berkowitz, Leslie Hatch Gail, Brad Olson, Jordan Russell, MoDena Stinette, Tom Wolff (USA), Liesette Brunson (Canada), Caterina Arcidiacono (Italy), Nicholas Carr (Norway)
The ‘New Bank for Community Ideas and Solutions’ offers concrete examples how we build community and collaborate creatively as a community. It recognizes and appreciates inspiring stories of community resilience and creativity as shared ‘societal treasures’ and as an important part of our ‘common social wealth’.
The editorial team of JCASP has just published an editorial that outlines the scope and the new orientations of the Journal. More focus on social impact, and on relevance for the communities, openness to different theoretical approaches and research (and intervention) methodologies and author-friendly approach. Read the editorial here or download it here and see how you can contribute to the journal. Thanks to the editorial team, and in particular to the editor Loris Vezzali for sharing.
I found community psychology from professional practice. During my final year of psychology degree studies, I started working on a community project in the Torre Baró neighborhood in Barcelona. This was a project that aimed to contribute to the community organisation to build together with the Barcelona City Council a new urban plan for that neighborhood. It was the 2000-2001 academic year. And when I finished my psychology studies in June 2001, I started to find out what type of psychology I could connect with what I was doing. I knew that the tools and knowledge I had known about social psychology did not fill all the concerns and challenges that I faced is this project, which began being 6 months for an urban plan and ended up lasting 4 years for the integral transformation of the three neighborhoods that make up the north of Nou Barris, “north of the north” as we said in Barcelona. I quickly realised that community psychology allowed me, as a psychologist, to work not just to imagine a better world, but to try to build it. It allowed me to reinforce a concern I had as a teenager: Trying to change those things that I did not like in the world that I had to live in.
What makes community psychology special?
For me, community psychology (CP) is like a bonsai within psychology. Something small but very nice, something that requires care and affection. What makes it special, though not unique, within psychology is that it is nothing against the current. Because it is a psychology that goes from the person to the macrosocial. That is, it tries to understand what we do by looking at the person, the context, the culture, the laws, the others…. It has a multilevel look, which breaks with the individualising look that prevails in mainstream psychology. CP asserts that many of the psychological and social problems that people experience have their causes or their roots in the collective, and have their solutions, also, in the collective. Because it is a psychology that recognizes the other: One that not only sees their problems or weaknesses but sees their opportunities and potentialities; one that recognizes their abilities to add, that is capable of learning from “the poor”. CP shows what many people do not want to see because it makes inequalities that are normally hidden visible, because CP denounces these inequalities. CP is a power-building effort for oppressed groups.
Please tell us about an event that was formative for your interest in or engagement with community psychology.
Although in the last 20 years I have had the opportunity to participate in many congresses and training events of CP, at local, national and international level, I always remember in a special way the first international conference I attended outside Barcelona. It was the first community, work and family congress, held in Manchester in 2004 (I think). I had the opportunity to participate thanks to the fact that the previous year, at the European Congress of CP held in Barcelona, I had met Carolyn Kagan and Mark Burton, and they invited me to participate in Manchester. It must have been for the youth, for the transformative energy that I felt in the execution of the community project in which I was working at the time, because it was the first time that I attended a congress outside of Spain, and especially because of the fantastic climate created in the congress that I continue to keep an enormous memory of that time. To discover that there were people in other parts of the world who shared passions, values and the desire to change the world. And to discover that it was possible to organize a scientific meeting at a university where all participants could feel welcomed, cared for and recognized remains a huge recollection and impetus for my interest in CP.
From that meeting of 2004, between scientific sessions, innovative workshops and some pints, two milestones emerged that helped me greatly in my academic consolidation in the field of CP. A 6-month stay at the Research Insititute for Health and Social Change (RIHSC) led by Carolyn Kagan between February and July 2008 and a European project, Residency, between 2013 and 2015 led by Mark Webster from the UK. I also had the opportunity to meet Maritza Montero, who offered to translate the presentation I made in Spanish into English. In addition to starting friendships that are still present today. (Thank you Carolyn for sharing that experience.)
In your assessment, what is the future of community psychology in Europe?
The future of CP in Europe is positive, especially in professional terms. The effect of the context on people’s well-being is becoming increasingly evident. And if we talk about taking the context into account, CP is able to look at the social, the political, the cultural, the environmental contexts, and see how they affect people and their interactions. Now, if we look at it in academic terms, CP, like many other disciplines, risks becoming intranscendent. In a discipline locked in itself, worried about publications and impact rates, and moving away from the oppressed groups it committed to make visible. And give up trying to make a fairer world. This is a problem that goes beyond CP and involves the university and the technocratic publishing drift in which it is immersed.
What are the main challenges community psychologists in Spain are facing today?
The main challenge faced by community psychologists in Spain has to do with their professional recognition. It is true that social and community intervention psychologists are recognized in some basic services, such as social services. For years they have been working in different NGOs and they face the challenge of professional recognition of the figure of the general health psychologist. This figure, created by law to regulate the profession of clinical psychology in the private sphere, is becoming a serious threat to the figure of the psychologist of social and community intervention, for whom there is no regulation by law. From many services and NGOs, the idea of a health psychologist has been confused with the idea of psychosocial intervention. It is necessary to generate an in-depth debate in Spain on the need, or not, to promote by law the figure of the psychologist of social and community intervention. I remember having this discussion with some European colleagues, especially with Caterina Arcidiacono of Italy, who defended precisely the importance of having a specific profile for the community psychologist.
Please provide us a photo that, for you, symbolizes what CP is about.
This photo represents the superpowers from our CP students have in their transition from students to professionals. It arises from a session where we work on this transition and ask them to paint their superpowers on a mask. It is in the last sessions of the semester that the class group feels like a community.
How about a song?
Gracias A La Vida by Mercedes Sosa. “Thanks to life!” tells me how lucky I am to be a community psychologist.
As a Norwegian psychologist I was fortunate to be attracted by the national pioneers in community psychology (CP) during my early student years in Bergen. University of Bergen had a more eclectic profile than Oslo, with influences from Europe. The very first professors in Bergen were my teachers. Bjørn Christiansen (3rd row, fifth from left in the photo) was one of those who attracted my attention and became my supervisor. My graduation thesis was a follow up on his ongoing research on the role of psychologists working in the community.
These people and their knowledge are what attracted me to CP. The notion that «it takes a community to raise a child» is evident when looking at the photo of my teachers and mentors who I met in early student years. Later on, I was fortunate to be part of the very first post graduate community psychology training in Norway. The program lacked teachers, so we had to import scholars from Europe, which put me in touch with colleagues I still enjoy contact with today.
Please tell us about an event that was formative for your interest in community psychology.
After graduation my thesis became a reference to ongoing reforms in the post graduate training of psychologists. For me it was formative to experience that psychological knowledge can have a direct impact on health services planning and policies.
I discovered early how CP provides insights to achieve social justice, placing the cultural and political context at the heart of what psychologists do. I wished to orient myself further towards a systemic view of social and psychological problems, and my first job was in a remote community isolated by fjords on three sides! I was given a great deal of trust and equivalent responsibilities.
Working close with the rural youth, gave huge inspiration and meaning for me as a young clinician and school psychologist. The position gave a free mandate to fill according to personal preferences. The first meeting of partners in this project was a major formative event for my growing interest in CP. When I asked the boys dropping out of school what their preferred activity was, the responses gave an impulse to a community project still growing after 35 years.
The early formative years were probably long before my professional years began. Born in the 1950s UK with a psychiatrist and a nurse as parents, the choices of profession were already made. I grew up in a caring environment dominated by the asylum ward next door to the doctors flat. Being a student of Dr. Anna Freud, my father was influenced by the early psychoanalysts. This gave me an opportunity to develop a critical position to the dominating power relationships in clinical settings. My brother and sister both graduated at the same medical college as my father Dr. R.B. Carr, the renowned St. Bartholomew College in London. The opposition role in discussions about mental health has been formative from my early years. I deeply respect my father’s work in prisons during his late years, providing therapy for prisoners doing life-time sentences for murder, having no rights for mental health care services.
As a practitioner more than a researcher, I have taken the odd jobs as a student in major psychiatric institutions to learn how the system functions. There I was confronted with class inequalities inside the hospital. I have never forgotten the less privileged patients from these days.
What makes community psychology special?
The multidisciplinary origin and the diversity of CPs around Europe is a strength for any profession. Personally, I have developed a strong identity and connection, making CP special to me by going beyond the professional role. I see CP as a way of thinking more than a discipline within psychology. It connects to a value-based psychology in order to address the underlying causes of mental problems. Teaching CP on how to analyse determinants of participation and sense of community gave me access to an active professional network in the 1990s.
I began to see the psycho-social processes through which inequality and injustice impact on communities’ health and well-being. This has been crucial in my suicide prevention work, adding a supplying perspective to the individual suicide prevention strategies.
The key message and what makes CP special to me, is that CP challenges the idea that human crisis affects only the individuals, and promotes the idea that well-being is always connected to social and political contexts. By strengthening the bonds, trust and sense of belonging between people and institutions, CP helps communities to recover and give hope after the crisis. Why some communities recover quicker than others, is related to resilience and togetherness. I have always been more interested in the strengths than the weakness of people and communities.
I believe CP can play a crucial role in facilitating growth and resilience during our ongoing global crisis. I feel comfortable in my role as coordinator between people and institutions to increase participation and civic engagement. Working with youth in schools, addiction and mental health services has given me huge pleasure in facilitating and moderating human growth in groups, volunteer organisations and communities. I have a strong perception that CP is welcomed in almost every other discipline of psychology, and we are thereby able to be generous and give CP away.
What is the future of CP in Europe?
As a growing discipline, in contact with real life problems, such as climate change, war in Europe and after effects of the pandemic, I believe we can play an important role in future Europe.
In the songs from the film «Searching for Sugarman» there is a longing for something beyond knowledge, a human experience of connectedness between people. I see a paralel story to this film in the way CP is coming back from the US to Europe, being rediscovered in countries where the ideas originated. The album «Cold Fact» which the film is based on, never sold in the US, but became a cult classic in South Africa. Kids in school could recite the song texts, and the album became a huge inspiration among youth in their struggle against apartheid. Rodriguez’s family came over from Mexico, and he grew up in Detroit. Rodriguez was loyal to his heritage and working class background, and was never interested in making a commercial success.
The most important future challenge is to connect with the multi-disciplinary field of climate change research and action. Looking at the APA Climate Advisory Group in the U.S., the CP perspectives are clearly missing. To fill in the gap, CP approaches can play a significant role by bringing in participation research, communiy resilience, transforming and building communities, climate justice and global sense of community. As a citizen in Norway, a country responsible for the worlds highest carbon emissions I feel a personal responsibility to take part in the fight against climate change.
What is the most important piece we are missing in community psychology in Europe?
I do not think we miss anything specific, as we are extremely diverse with many traditions and cultural backgrounds. What we need in order to have a greater impact in a European context is a unifying element in our different associations. We have for a long time been fragmented and not well connected in professional networks. After 1996 in Rome we saw the first step towards a unifying network across national borders with the ENCP. In 2006, the European Community Psychology Association was formed, which hosted biannual international events. Then in 2011, European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA) launched a Task Force, developing into a permanent Standing Committee in 2013. This year in Brighton we are witnessing nothing less than a turning point for European CP. For the first time in the ECP history, the congress is waving a high profile on CP in the official program. The signs are very clear; CP is one of the main thematic tracks, the Scientific Committee has a CP member, the Interdisciplinary Topics are typical CP research areas, a community psychologist is giving a keynote, and the CP pioneer Marie Jahoda will be presented in a historical panel session.
From a position outside EFPA, not well known in mainstream psychology circuits, CP has established itself in the centre of EFPA activities, with an influence on other fields of psychology and society on the whole. This is only the beginning, now we need to build CP as a EuroPsy field of practice and develop CP training at all major universities in Europe. This is what we are missing.
Please offer us a song that, for you, symbolizes what community psychology is about.
The song «Cause» is from Rodriguez’s second album «Coming from Reality».
When I started my studies in psychology, I had originally planned to pursue a clinical career like most of my classmates. However, as I progressed in my training, I began to explore other fields that held a greater allure. Among them was community psychology. I had the opportunity to do my internships at a municipal community health center, where I collaborated with other professionals of different disciplines. In that inter-professional context, I witnessed how psychology contributed to the well-being of communities, improving living conditions in neighborhoods, and promoting the social welfare of vulnerable groups.
Later, my doctoral research focused on evaluating social organizations, which gave me a broader perspective on the significant role that the social sector plays in social well-being. Subsequently, I got involved in evaluating programs aimed at disadvantaged neighborhoods. This specialization led me to engage in teaching community psychology, participating in undergraduate and postgraduate training programs. Concurrently, I actively worked to ensure the proper development of this academic and professional field. In Spain, we have a strong network of professionals dedicated to the field of social intervention psychology, closely linked to community psychology. Unfortunately, recent professional regulations and socio-political changes have posed challenges to this sector. As a result, I have been actively involved in the efforts of our professional association to ensure the continued strength and empowerment of this field of practice, as its initial beginnings.
What makes community psychology special for you?
Community psychology (CP) can be described as a field that is dedicated to addressing social challenges and creating positive change in communities. CP is committed to achieving equity, social justice, and collective well-being. It confronts structural barriers and inequalities head on, driven by a strong determination to make a difference. Community psychologists strive to overcome obstacles and empower the marginalized individual and communities. When implementing empowerment-based strategies, the goal is not only to alleviate problems but also to address their underlying causes by driving sustainable and meaningful change. These strategies provide tools for the active participation of the individuals and communities involved, promoting decision-making and fostering the strengthening of their ability to overcome obstacles and achieve greater well-being. CP goes beyond the personal and interpersonal level and focuses on transforming social issues at their core. By employing innovative strategies, it aims to empower communities and promote equal opportunities. The adjective to describe the determination to overcome challenges and promote equal opportunity, positive social change and improve quality of life in communities is “resolute”.
Please tell us about an event that was formative for your engagement with community psychology.
It is not so much an event as a circumstance in which I am currently immersed, in addition to my work as a teacher and researcher. For the past few years, I have taken on the role of coordinating the professional area of Social Intervention Psychology in the Andalusia region (Spain) through the professional association of psychologists in the region (Colegio Oficial de Psicología de Andalucía Occidental). In this region, the regional government has the authority to legislate on social policies. From my position as the coordinator of this area and, along with other colleagues, actively lead efforts to review and improve those laws related to social policies. Although our efforts yield varied results, with success or failure (with the less successful outcomes more common), what I want to emphasize is the importance and challenge that psychologists undertake when attempting to influence social policy. Social policies play a crucial role in promoting well-being and equality within society. Therefore, we must actively participate in the analysis and proposal of changes to existing policies, ensuring that we effectively address the needs of individuals and communities. CP has the tools necessary to achieve this objective.
What is the future of community psychology in Europe?
The EFPA Standing Committee on Community Psychology, of which I am a member, is actively working to strengthen CP in Europe. We have undertaken a project to assess the implementation of CP as a field of practice in European countries; to identify the educational offerings available to students and explore the possibility of aligning CP with EuroPsy. We are fully aware of the significant diversity in the professional development of CP across European countries and there are numerous areas closely linked to CP that play vital roles within their respective area of knowledge, such as Social Intervention Psychology, Social Problems Psychology, Applied Social Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Critical Social Psychology. All these approaches share values and principles including working for the well-being of individuals and communities; promoting equity and social justice in the most disadvantaged groups; promoting social and community participation and empowerment; strengthening the sense of community, community development, and community leadership; intervening from the perspective of diversity and social change; relying on action research approaches and sociopolitical validity. The key challenge lies in harmonizing this diversity of knowledge into a recognized field of practice at the European level, which would result in strengthening the identity and visibility of CP. In addition, it would provide greater opportunities for psychology students to develop competences related to this field, as well as in other more established areas.
What is the most important piece (or pieces) that is missing in community psychology in Europe?
Rather than focusing on a topic, I want to emphasize methodology because the strength of CP lies in its capacity to foresee and embrace emerging fields. I think of the transformative paradigm, which is more than just a conceptual framework; it is a particular stance towards using methodology to bring about social change by questioning power structures and promoting social justice. I cite Donna M. Mertens, who highlighted the primacy of what is to be achieved (social justice) rather than on the rigorous adherence to a methodology, where the vision and values of marginalized groups should be at the core of the transformative process. CP is characterized by its integration of various methodological approaches, and I believe the transformative paradigm is essential.
Please tell us about an event that summarizes what community psychology is about for you.
The 15M Movement comes to mind, which emerged in Spain on 15 March 2011, in response to the economic crisis that began in 2008 and exacerbated the country’s social inequality. It originated as a spontaneous gathering on the night of 15 March in the “Puerta del Sol” in the city of Madrid and quickly spread to other cities, where people settled in their tents in the main squares for a month. During this time, participants engaged in various assembly-style activities to discuss pressing issues such as inequality, housing, education, job precarity, political corruption, and the prevailing two-party system. The movement organized inclusive activities of all kinds, catering to people of all ages and backgrounds, without focusing on individual ideologies. It stood out as a citizen participation movement that served as a protest and a call for political and social changes. Although this protest movement did not achieve significant improvements in social rights, it laid the groundwork for a greater public awareness of social inequalities and caused a change in the political landscape of the country, moving away from the prevailing bipartisanship towards a new multiparty model that allowed greater representation and diversity of political options. I often refer to this historic moment with my students to illustrate the potential grassroots change.
When I was an undergraduate student in psychology in the UK, I soon became frustrated that mainstream psychology was not a psychology that could really make a difference in people’s lives, at least for the most marginalised, and be a psychology that could be about voices, inclusion, empowerment, and creativity. Thankfully, I was introduced to “critical community psychology” by Carolyn Kagan, Rebecca Lawthom and others, and I started to see that psychology could be one of hope and change, a move away from wholly individualistic and exclusionary nature of mainstream psychology. This form of critical community psychology aimed to be driven by values, working with people in context, and was interdisciplinary, driven by change and creativity in its approaches, and I could see hope that this could make a difference in people’s lives. I saw how powerful it could be in part in my own work with disabled people, homeless young people and people in poverty in Manchester, and have not stopped flying the flag for community psychology since.
What makes community psychology special?
For me, what makes community psychology (CP) special is its approach to action that focuses on oppression and liberation and on challenging systems that are unjust, and it seeks to collaborate in solidarity with workers and members of communities through a critical praxis. Participatory action research, wellbeing, and collaboration is different from the work and ideas around labs and individualism that is manifested in mainstream psychology, and CP for me provides hope in a way that critical psychology alone does not. CP, in whatever form, is a psychology that gives me hope that mainstream psychology can move forward in a way that allows psychology to become a psychology for marginalised people.
Please tell us about an event that was formative for your interest in or engagement with community psychology?
There has not been one singular event that was formative in engaging my interests in CP, but the CP festivals that have taken place in the UK since 2015 in cities including London, Manchester, and Bristol, have been hot beds for dialogue and engagement in CP, and seeing these events take place to promote CP and inspire future community psychologists have been rewarding to witness.
In your assessment, what is the future of community psychology in Europe?
Critical CP provides a platform of hope that the shortcomings and old-fashioned ways of mainstream psychology can be challenged, but critical CP also needs to be challenged and maybe the challenge is greater. After all, the well-intentioned core values, principles, and approaches of any form of critical CP is up against conservative and entrenched psychology powerbases across the world. This fits in with the neoliberal and capitalist governments agendas across many countries that only have passing reference to social justice, equality, and diversity values in their economic and political narratives, and instead prioritise medical and individualised approaches that collaborate with multi-billion-pound industries, and this will exasperate further post-Covid-19. This makes it very difficult for community-orientated, qualitative, creative, and dynamic approaches and set-ups to be founded in collaboration with marginalised people because it is not the priority of the most powerful and the elite.
More than ever, there are less degrees, modules, practitioners and speakers of critical CP and psychology’s alternatives. They have become at best a special interest topic, an opportunity for psychologists to get angry now and again, rather than making any headway in terms of penetrating, influencing, and denting the power of mainstream psychology. Additionally, the same names dominate the space, ensuring that a patriarchal and white critical CP is ever-present. Whilst more speakers and ideas are emerging in critical CP from different backgrounds and communities, it is slow paced and not making progress in challenging and changing mainstream psychology. A future critical CP in Europe needs to turn itself upside down and reconfigure itself into an identity that makes a real epistemological break from mainstream psychology, but in a way that is prepared to work with all kinds of psychologists, who can all bring skills, strengths and knowledges that have the potential to genuinely change the lives of people for the better, in collaboration with them.
For CP to thrive in Europe, it needs to decentre itself and work cross-nationally, work across disciplines, engage with technology better, be prepared to think and develop ideas in ways community psychologists have not done before, and be relational, innovative and promote and collaborate with marginalised people, with a view to decolonising all forms of psychology, with justice at the heart of its existence.
What advice would you give to aspiring community psychologists?
CP has the potential to make in-roads within mainstream psychology, with a view to helping psychology become a psychology for marginalised people, and to be able to do that, my advice to aspiring community psychologists is to always aim to underpin your work with the voices of marginalised people. Let them be CP and the foundation to how you practice and speak about CP. Without those voices being at the heart of CP, then CP is just another psychology that means nothing to marginalised people.
How about a song? One that symbolises what community psychology is about for you?
Even as a psychology student, I was fascinated by community psychology (CP). I remember studying for the exam and feeling exactly: “Wow, this is exactly the psychology I want to deepen and practise!” I studied Donata Francescato’s manual and took the class with Piero Amerio, so it was really easy to become intrigued…
What makes community psychology special for you?
I found that CP allowed me to combine my interest in collective phenomena with the psychological perspective and with some values that I had chosen as the basis for my life.
What makes CP so special for me is the possibility to have an understanding and a way to act in almost every situation of ordinary (e.g. stressful situations, collaboration, participation, healthy behaviour…) and extraordinary life (e.g., pandemic, war, climate crisis…). I am so glad to have a psychological theoretical framework that is applicable to many different problems and helps me to think in terms of both problem setting and problem solving.
Also, I was and am in love with the idea (and effort) of moving “from case to problem”: I am convinced that psychology cannot limit itself to chasing single cases (both individual and collective), but should work to limit/eliminate the causes that generate suffering, that hinder balance and harmony (within people, between people, between people and other living beings…), and to improve the resources of people, groups, communities, contexts to achieve goals related to peace, enriching coexistence, flourishing – not in a kind of “positivity at any cost”, but in awareness of power injustice and any other kind of inequality.
Please tell us about an event that was formative for your engagement with community psychology.
A year before I started my studies at the university when I was still living in my beautiful village by the sea, I read an interview with Professor Piero Amerio, who became my mentor, in the newspaper. He had been interviewed on the occasion of the opening of the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Turin. He presented social psychology as an advantage of the new degree programme.
My plans were more oriented toward a career as a social practitioner than as a clinical psychologist. And this interview was like a confirmation. I will be in the right place to do the right thing. (I still have that newspaper clipping.) Now, many years later, I am an Associate Professor of Social and Community Psychology at the University of Turin.
In your assessment, what is the future of community psychology in Europe?
I hope that CP in Europe will become less and less subject to the classical clinical view and evolve into a psychology of peace, well-being and sustainability (in the broadest sense). I would be happy if European colleagues could help shape the scientific (I am thinking, for example, of the large European grants) and political decisions of our continent, which could restore an important tradition related to the psychological study of relationships and social phenomena from the point of view of subjectivity and the social construction of reality.
What advice would you give an Early Career Researcher starting out as a community psychologist in Europe today?
I would suggest to build a solid and broad theoretical base, along with a relevant methodological knowledge, but to avoid choosing a single perspective or topic. Instead, I would suggest building on this foundation to be curious, to study persistently and to look around, with scientific and human curiosity and with empathy and a desire to make things better. I would also suggest travelling through countries and taking the best from each encounter.
Please provide a painting or mural that, for you, symbolizes what CP is about.
It has been almost a week since an earthquake struck Turkey and Syria. The devastation is horrific, and the death toll is above 20,000. We want to share the testimony of a worker from INTERSOS, a humanitarian organisation operating in Syria, in one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake and already severely affected by The Syrian Civil War.
ECPA wants to express sympathy and solidarity for those suffering from this immense tragedy and all those working in the field. We urge our members and community psychologists across the globe to donate to relief efforts. There are many humanitarian organisations collecting donations and supplies.
To donate to INTERSOS, which is an Italian organisation working in Syria, follow this LINK.