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For a concept to be psychosocial means it relates to one's psychological development in, and interaction with, a social environment. The individual needs not be fully aware of this relationship with his or her environment. It was first commonly used by psychologist Erik Erikson in his stages of social development. Contrasted with social psychology, which attempts to explain social patterns within the individual. It is usually used in the context of "psychosocial intervention," which is commonly used alongside psycho-educational or psycho-pharmacological interventions and points toward solutions for individual challenges in interacting with an element of the social environment.
Problems that occur in one's psychosocial functioning can be referred to as "psychosocial dysfunction" or "psychosocial morbidity." This refers to the lack of development or atrophy of the psychosocial self, often occurring alongside other dysfunctions that may be physical, emotional, or cognitive in nature.
Psychosocial support is an approach to victims of disaster, catastrophe or violence to foster resilience of communities and individuals. It aims at easing resumption of normal life, facilitating affected people's participation to their convalescence and preventing pathological consequences of potentially traumatic situations.
The Association for Psychosocial Studies is a learned society, bringing together researchers, academics and practitioners who are interested in contributing to the development of this exciting inter/trans-disciplinary field of study. The Association for Psychosocial Studies organize regular conferences, seminars and workshops that explore a wide range of psychosocial phenomena and perspectives. The Journal of Psychosocial Studies is a peer reviewed journal available online.
However, not all psychosocial activity is therapeutic. In some environments and social movements, such as with post-WW2 East Germany Stasi's zersetzung, which has been called psychosocial crime, the development of the individual is intentionally exploited to cause damage to the individual's ability to form social bonds.
Committee on Developing Evidence-Based Standards for Psychosocial Interventions for Mental Disorders; Board on Health Sciences Policy; Institute of Medicine (2015). England, Mary Jane; Butler, Adrienne Stith; Gonzalez, Monica L., eds. Psychosocial Interventions for Mental and Substance Use Disorders: A Framework for Establishing Evidence-Based Standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-31694-1.
- The International Red Cross Reference Center for Psychosocial Support
- The Journal of Psychosocial Studies
- The Psychosocial Research Unit
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