Perceptions of community psychology among registered psychologists
Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
The current South African mental health context can be described as skewed in favour of the predominantly white, paying clientele in the private sector. The mental health needs of the predominantly poor, black population and people in rural areas are consequently left unmet. Community psychology is identified as a suitable approach to providing relevant psychological services to the South African population. However there are many structural barriers to the efficient practice of community psychology, which is further compounded by misconceptions and discouraging connotations attached to this field of practice. The overarching aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of registered psychologists regarding different aspects of community psychology. A further aim was to explore the current practice patterns of registered clinical, counselling, research and educational psychologists in the Cape Winelands district. A postal survey was undertaken, which incorporated both quantitative and qualitative components. A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to all psychologists in the Cape Winelands district who have been registered with the Professional Board of Psychology of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for at least three years. The data was analysed using frequencies and descriptive statistics as well as content analysis. In this study psychologists raised diverse opinions about community psychology, barriers to service delivery, service providers and users of such services. It appears that despite numerous calls for a more relevant psychology in the South African context, psychologists maintain a preference for the private practice setting. Suggestions were also made for changes so that the provision of community-based psychological services could be more attractive for mental health professionals in South Africa.