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Becoming EcologicalAn Expedition Into Community Psychology$
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James G. Kelly

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173796.001.0001

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Education and Training for an Ecological Perspective

Education and Training for an Ecological Perspective

(p.274) 17 Education and Training for an Ecological Perspective
Becoming Ecological

G. Kelly James

Oxford University Press

Graduate education in clinical or community psychology is often restricted to requiring doctoral students to learn only the precepts of their major discipline. In doing so, the unintended consequence is that education becomes insular and restrictive, losing useful knowledge about contextual topics necessary when practicing ecological research. Thinking ecologically is not an easy activity. Ludwig von Bertalanffy, one of the founders of general systems theory, referred to it as “uncommon sense.” In understanding how to acquire this uncommon sense, opportunities must exist to examine the implicit premises of both U.S. culture and the psychology profession. Then, after some sensitivity to our own cultural and professional heritages, the education to acquire uncommon sense can begin. Most times, the behavioral sciences and the mental health professions reward individual achievement rather than collaborative work. So the instructor of ecological concepts is obligated to put American culture and psychology in perspective before embarking on ecological education.

Keywords:   education, community psychology, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, uncommon sense, ecological concepts, mental health, behavioral sciences

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