The Community Psychologist as Critical Friend: Promoting Critical Community Praxis

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7 Scopus citations


Community-engaged researchers have a responsibility to community partners to get beyond the traditional researcher stance to take on the active role of critical friend. On the basis of my own community research experiences in the USA, in this article, I argue that there is added value in taking on the practice of critical friendship to encourage a higher degree of critical reflection and critical practice in our partners and in our work together. In the context of long-term, trusting relationships with community partners, researchers can play the role of critical friend working together to shape critical community praxis on the basis of critical theorizing, critical reflection, and a shared commitment to working for social justice. Those trying to make a difference in communities are often isolated and can benefit from opportunities for dialogue with other community practitioners within a critical frame of reference. Although not without risks and challenges, stepping into this role allows us to put into sharper relief the gap between community practice that challenges injustice and practice that maintains it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-368
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Community psychology
  • Critical friend
  • Critical practice
  • Critical reflection
  • Human service organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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