It is difficult to become a clinical psychologist in Malaysia without first completing a postgraduate course in clinical psychology. The country has no professional association or representative society for clinical psychologists. The postgraduate program in clinical psychology is not yet accredited by any of the accredited bodies. This article looks at some of the options available in Malaysia.
The Master of Clinical Psychology is a two-year postgraduate course designed for students who are interested in specialized psychology. It aims to train clinical psychologists with a wide range of knowledge, skills, and attributes so that they can provide psychological services and advise clients on their treatment options. In addition, it seeks to instil a commitment to rigorous scientific inquiry.
In the UK, clinical psychologists work in major hospitals and are split between two to three departments. In Malaysia, the Ministry of Health aims to station two clinical psychologists in all government-owned hospitals, while the Public Services Department established 105 psychology officer positions. The shortage of supervisors also impedes the progress of a clinical psychology course, which is an integral part of the practice.
In order to address the shortage of clinical psychologists in the country, the Ministry of Education should play a key role in offering a postgraduate program. After the completion of a master’s program, clinical psychologists can opt to work in a variety of settings, including clinics, private centres, high schools, universities, and hospitals. Different career pathways will require different training and requirements.
There are several schools offering psychology courses in Malaysia. The University of Malaya has one. It has a number of discount options available for physically challenged learners and students who repeat courses. However, it charges a non-refundable fee for the first semester.
The number of clinical psychologists in Malaysia is small but these professionals are important for the treatment of psychological disorders. Their main duties are to screen clients, investigate their conditions and give advice on the best treatment for their clients. They also play a significant role in the health care system and contribute to issues such as health promotion, behavioral medicine, neuropsychological assessment, and forensic science.
While there are numerous allied health professions in Malaysia, the shortage of clinical psychologists is an issue unique to the country. Unlike in the UK, where there are thousands of practitioners in all fields, Malaysia has a small number of clinical psychologists. This lack of professionals is making it difficult to train a large number of future clinicians. The first training courses in the field of clinical psychology were offered by the National University of Malaysia and HELP University. Since then, several universities have started offering clinical psychology training courses.
Despite the absence of a national association, there are several groups that support psychologists. In Malaysia, the PSIMA is one of these organizations. It is a non-governmental organization that provides a forum for psychologists to network and share information. It also encourages members to practice psychology ethically.