Bahrain

Summary

Counselling Associations

All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.

There is no association or accredited organization related to counselling in Bahrain. 

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

University of Bahrain 

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Pravasi Guidance Forum (PGF)

A non-profit organization formed to address the social needs of the Kerala Indian community members residing in Bahrain. Its members consist of certified counsellors, either trained by PGF or international educational bodies. It also offers counselling courses, such as the Advanced Diploma Counselling Program (ADC) and the Foundation Diploma in Counselling (FDC), in which both can be completed within 6 weeks and 36 hours, respectively. Upon completing, graduates receive a certificate accredited by the Kerala Clinical Counselors’ Association (KCCA). Although, it was not mentioned whether the courses were accredited or recognized by the Ministry of Education of Bahrain.  

Mosanada Center for Child and Family 

A non-profit child and family consultation center that provides a range of therapy services to meet the needs of children, adolescents, parents, and caregivers in Bahrain. Its staff consist of internationally certified, licensed psychologists. 

Background & Context

Counselling as a profession is not widely recognized or utilized in Bahrain. Most literature on counselling in the country covers premarital counselling that emphasizes genetic consultation for couples wanting to marry (Al Arrayed & Al Hajeri, 2009). This is due to the mandated law that was issued by the government in 2004, in an attempt to reduce genetic diseases such as thalassemia. 

Also, clinical mental health counselling and psychiatry appear to be the main domain of mental health professionals in the country, considering that the Psychiatric Hospital of Bahrain is the only public psychiatric hospital with the most comprehensive mental health service system. The departments include but are not limited to: psychiatry, psychology, and social work. The psychology unit offers services such as child and adolescent-focused services, long stay, daycare, and drug addiction. It also provides psychosexual therapy and marital counselling.

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

Counselling is not recognized as an autonomous profession in Bahrain. It falls under a broad profession of psychologists alongside clinical, child, educational, marriage, and family and occupational psychologists, according to the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA; 2017) of Bahrain.  Thus, counsellors are able to attain a license by following some of the organization’s requirements which include having a Bachelor’s Degree in the psychology field. 

Practice Settings

There is no explicit report on the number of professional counsellors in the country, let alone information on their day-to-day practice. However, counselling in limited extents has been indicated or implied in the following settings:

  • Private counselling centers
  • Faith centers 
  • Universities
  • Genetic departments for premarital counselling 
  • Psychiatric hospital 
  • Primary and secondary schools 

Challenges & Trends

Although a considerable amount of work is needed when it comes to the development of professional counselling in Bahrain, the potential for developing and promoting it is good with the establishment of a Master’s counselling program at the University of Bahrain. The program is dedicated to providing education to students and preparing them for careers as professional psychologists in various fields. Besides that, a licensing board also exists which cements the legitimacy of the profession in the country. 

Most, if not all private, counselling centers in the country have counsellors who attained their academic qualifications and counselling license from international agencies and universities. Although this might be due to the centers’ preference, however, this may potentially cause discrimination against counsellors who attained theirs locally.

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:

Bahrain
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