FALL 2006 (18501)

Instructor:  Otto Wahl     Office: East Hall 117H
Phone: 860-768-5385     Office hours: W 4:30-5.
Fax:  860-768-4184

I.  Goals of the course: This course is intended to introduce students to the concepts and practices of Community Psychology.  This includes topics such as prevention, indirect service/consultation, mental health promotion, empowerment, systems intervention, and work with traditionally underserved populations.

II.  Format of the course: Course material will be presented through lecture, student presentations, and class discussion.  There may also be occasional videos and outside speakers.

III. Instructional philosophy

 The instructor for this course will strive to insure inclusion of curriculum material consistent with the Programís mission of affirmative diversity.  The aim of such inclusion is to help foster social and political awareness of, interest in, respect for, and competence in understanding all groups, and skills in providing services to people of diverse backgrounds.

The instructor for this course will also include curriculum material that addresses the importance of empirically supported evidence, multiple critical viewpoints, and the current literature concerning relevant interventions, assessments, diagnoses, theoretical constructs, and other clinical issues and/or techniques relevant to the topic area. An empirically supported approach is consistent with the Programís mission statement of providing training where scientific knowledge is integrated with clinical practice (practitioner/scholar model), as well as the American Psychological Association (APA) Ethics Code concerning ethical teaching approaches and service delivery.

Every student with a documented physical, psychiatric, or learning disability has the Programís commitment and support in obtaining accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids. When seeking accommodations, students with a disability must identify themselves as an individual with a disability in a timely manner to the Coordinator of Services for Students with Medical, Physical, and Psychological Disability within the Student Affairs office at the University (, and to the Associate Director/Coordinator of Student Affairs of the GIPP. The student should also consult with the instructor at the beginning of the course for specific needed accommodations.

IV.  Course assignments and grading:

1. Class participation: It is expected that students will have consistent and timely attendance in class, will prepare for class by completing the assigned readings prior to the date listed on this syllabus, and will be active participants in class discussions.  Class participation counts 10 points toward the final grade.

2. Quiz:  There will be one quiz approximately halfway through the semester.  The quiz will ask for brief answers to 5-10 questions related to readings and discussion to that point in the course.  Quiz will count 25 points toward the final grade.

3. Student paper and presentation: Each student will select one of the general topic areas listed on the syllabus and present to the class a summary of a Community Psychology effort/project related to mental health that is consistent with that topic area.  The goal is to provide examples of Community Psychology in action.  The Community Psychology project described must be one that is published in a professional journal or in a book or book chapter.  Projects described on the internet may be acceptable but will require prior approval of the instructor.  The student will summarize for the class what was done, what the Community Psychology concepts are that have been utilized, what were the results of the intervention, and what we can learn from the effort.  The presentation should be accompanied by a 4-6 page paper reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the project presented with respect to the goals and principles of Community Psychology and include at least five additional primary source references related to the topic.  (Note:  Title page, abstract, and reference list should not be counted as part of the 4-6 pages.)  The paper should be double-spaced and follow APA publication guidelines.  Papers are due at the time of the presentation.  The published paper that is the basis of the student report should also be turned in at that time.  Paper and presentation will count 40 points toward the final grade.

4. Final exam: Students will be presented with an example of a community intervention and asked to critique it from the perspective of a Community Psychologist.  That is, students will discuss how Community Psychology principles and procedures have been used, misused, and/or omitted in the example presented and how the intervention might have been improved.  This will be a closed book, take-home exam, which students will have one hour to complete.  Final exam will be due by the end of class on November 29, 2006 and will count 25 points toward the final grade.

Grades will be assigned according to the following point accumulations:

95-100 = A 87-89 = B+ 80-83 = B- < 75 = F
90-94 = A- 84-86 = B 75-80 = C

Tentative Schedule of Class Topics and Readings

Textbook:  Scileppi, J. A., Teed, E. L., & Torres, R. D. (2000).  Community Psychology: A common sense approach to mental health.  Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Assigned readings:  Non-textbook readings (and other information related to the course) can be found on the University of Hartford Blackboard site for this course.

8/29 Introduction to Community Psychology

 STT, Introduction, pp. 1-6.

9/6 Community Psychology history

STT, Chap. 1: Overview of Community Psychology, pp. 7-26.

Gregory, R. J. (2001). The spirit and substance of community psychology:
Reflections. Journal of Community Psychology, 29, 473-485.

9/13 Ecology/context/diversity

 STT: Chap. 2: Ecological model, pp. 27-51.

Garbarino, J. (2001). An ecological perspective on the effects of violence on children. Journal of Community Psychology, 29, 361-378.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2001).  Mental health: Culture, race, and ethnicity.  Executive Summary.  Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General.

9/20   Prevention I

 STT:  Chap. 3: Prevention, pp. 52-80.

Albee, G. W. (1999). Prevention, not treatment, is the only hope. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 12, 133-146.

Mason, D. T., & Lusk, M. W. (1992). Beyond ideology in drug policy: The primary prevention model. Journal of Drug Issues, 22, 959-976.

9/27   Prevention II

Greenberg, M. T., Domitrovich, C., & Bambarger (2001). The prevention of mental disorders in school-aged children: Current state of the field.  Prevention and Treatment, 4.

Bethea, L. (1999).  Primary prevention of child abuse.  American Family Physician, 59.

10/4   Mental health promotion
Weissberg, R. (November, 1998). Healthy Children 2010: Next steps? Paper presented at the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy.  Atlanta, GA.  Available online at (pp. 30-35).

Herman, H. (2001). The need for mental health promotion. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 35, 709-715.

10/11 Crises, coping, and social support I

 STT, Chap. 4: Crises and coping, pp. 81-100.

Pincus, D. B., & Friedman, A. G. (2004). Improving childrenís coping with everyday stress: Transporting treatment interventions to the school setting. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 7, 223-240.

Frankish, C. J. (1994). Crisis centers and their role in treatment: Suicide prevention versus health promotion. Death Studies, 18, 327-339.

10/18 Crises, coping, and social support II

STT, Chap. 5: Social support and self-help, pp. 101-119.

Shepherd, M. D., Schownberg, M., Slavich, S., Wituk, S., Warren, M, & Meissen, G. (1999). Continuum of professional involvement in self-help groups. Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 39-53.

Lampropoulous, G. K., & Spengler, P. M. (2005). Helping and change without traditional therapy: Commonalities and opportunities. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 18, 47-59.

10/25  Consultation

 STT, Chap. 6: Consultation, pp. 120-137.

Shannon, P., Daly, D. C., Malatchi, A., Kvarfordt, C., & Yoder, T. (2001). Capacity for statewide implementation of positive behavior supports: A needs assessment strategy. Journal of Positive Behavior Intervention, 3, 95-100.

Lenihan, G., & Kirk, W. G. (1990). Using student paraprofessionals in the treatment of eating disorders. Journal of Counseling and Development, 68, 332-335.

11/1  Program evaluation

 STT, Chap. 7: Program evaluation, pp, 138-155.

Perloff, R., Perloff, E., & Sussna, E. (1976). Program evaluation. Annual Review of Psychology, 27, 569-594.

Lusky, M. B., & Hayes, R. L. (2001). Collaborative consultation and program evaluation. Journal of Counseling and Development, 79, 26-38.

11/8 Empowerment and system change I

 STT, Chap. 8: Community change, pp. 156-171.
Chamberlin, J. (1997). A working definition of empowerment. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 20, 43-46.

Deegan, P. E. (1992). The Independent Living Movement and people with psychiatric disabilities: Taking back control over our own lives. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 15, 3-19.

11/15 Empowerment and system change II

STT, Chap. 9: Strategies for change, pp. 172-197.

Nelson, G., Lord, J., & Ochocka, J. (2001). Empowerment and mental health in community: Narratives of psychiatric consumers/survivors. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 11, 125-142.

Corrigan, P. W., Markowitz, F. E., & Watson, A. C. (2004). Structural levels of mental illness stigma and discrimination. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 30, 481-491.


11/29 Reducing mental illness stigma


Wahl, O. F. (1999). Mental health consumersí experience of stigma. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 25, 467-478.

Estroff, S. E., Penn, D. L., & Toporek, J. R. (2004). From stigma to discrimination: An analysis of community efforts to reduce the negative consequences of having a psychiatric disorder and label. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 30, 493-509.

Sartorius, N., & Schulze, H. (2005). Reducing the stigma of mental illness.  A report from a global programme of the World Psychiatric Association.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
 Chap. 1: Developing the programme, pp. 1-12.

12/6 The future of Community Psychology

 STT, Chap. 10: The changing face of community in the information age, pp. 198-212.
 STT, Chap. 11: The future of Community Psychology, pp. 213-230.

New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003). Achieving the promise: Transforming mental health care in America. Executive Summary. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Toro, P. A. (2005). Community Psychology: Where do we go from here? American Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 9-16.