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Open Access

Degree Program


Degree Name

Thesis (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded



Mental health, Puerto Rican


The task of determining the needs of a community precedes the possibility of planning services or developing relevant social programs and action for that community. The approaches used in the assessment of community needs respond to methodologies that are informed by theoretical frameworks containing particular implications as to their implicit purposes. Historically, the methods which have been used are characterized by the relative, if not total, lack of participation of the community in this assessment process. The outcome of these methods which intend to develop programs for the community, while negating active community participation, is to maintain people as marginal and passive recipients of these services and to maintain an oppressive and colonizing ideology. Such methods serve the purpose of controlling people and legitimizing the present social order (Aponte, 1978). They are hierarchical and non-participatory, and in relation to the minority communities in the United States they further contribute to an alienating reality which not only mystifies the sources of conflict and stress in community life, but also fosters oppressive experiences and relationships.