All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.
Afghan Psychological Association
- Website: N/A
- Organisation Size: N/A
Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
According to several studies in the past, the Afghan population has been reported to experience high levels of mental health disorders, which also include adversity-related distress and non-psychotic disorders (Berdondini, Kaveh, & Grieve, 2019). In 2003, the Ministry of Public Health included mental health in Afghanistan as part of a basic package of health services. Later in 2010, psychosocial counselling also became part of the package, and since then, the development of mental health training and service resources for the Afghan population have been implemented along with several intervention programs (Sayed, 2011). Though the programs related to mental health have been included in the national healthcare system, the counselling profession as well as services are still barely visible in Afghanistan.
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
There is no up to date or accurate information available on the current status of counsellors or private counselling practices in Afghanistan. Currently, any expenses incurred from going to counselling services or mental health services are not being covered by any health insurance programme in the country. As of 2018, there were only two cities that offer counselling training in Higher Education in Afghanistan: Kabul, with two departments offering courses at the bachelor’s level, and Herat with one.
Information on the exact number of counsellors in Afghanistan is currently unavailable. There was only one non-profit organization called Medica Afghanistan that provided counselling services in the country, located in a search. However, the main targets for their services are women. They also provide training which mainly focuses on traumatic healing. Counselling services can also be found in several universities including University of Herat and Kabul University. No private services can be found online in the country.
Challenges & Trends
As the country has been experiencing three decades of war which affected the mental health of its population, the main focus of counselling services in Afghanistan should be trauma-healing. Several studies have found high levels of depression and other psychosocial problems amongst the Afghan population as the result of violence. Yet, seeking mental health treatments is still considered as a taboo in the country. Moreover, overcoming cultural barriers and developing models of treatments that are compatible with the Afghan traditions and belief systems should also be considered (Berdondini, Kaveh, & Grieve, 2019).
Additional Information & References
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal & website articles:
- Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). The World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html
- Kavaler, T. (2020, January 1). Afghanistan’s mental illness emergency. The Media Line. https://themedialine.org/by-region/afghanistans-mental-illness-emergency/
- Berdondini, L., Kaveh, A., & Grieve, S. (2019). Counselling training in Afghanistan: The long term development of the INSPIRE project. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 41(2), 230–239. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-018-9369-4
- Sayed, G.D. (2011) Mental health in Afghanistan: Burden, challenges and the way forward. Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper. World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/13589