All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.
Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
Counselling services in Bangladesh started to gain recognition in the late 20th century through human rights organizations that were delivering services to disfranchised women and children (Islam, 2012). This was the first time where people started to become more aware of the importance and need of counselling services in the country. At that time, the main focus of counselling services provided by international and national organizations was ranging from identification to recovery and integration of the survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking (Islam, 2012). The need for counselling interventions also came from repeated natural and man made hazards affecting the Bangladesh population then. At the beginning, unskilled personnel with little or no training were allowed to provide services, until 1996 when the first counselling service was established at the Student Counselling and Guidance center of the University of Dhaka (Islam, 2012). In 2006, the initiation of professional courses in Educational Psychology became the opening for psychological services to be further extended to various schools and child development clinics (Islam, 2012). Counsellors started to be recruited by medical institutions, private schools, as well as NGOs. At the time, no formal training facilities were available for counsellors, thus they were provided with short-term training to build capacity and resources to work at field level. Up until 2012, Educational and Counselling Psychology was running as a distinct profession in psychology.
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
The counselling profession in Bangladesh has become a distinct profession in the psychology field. Following extensive research through online resources, mental health services including counselling services are not being covered by any health care insurance systems or programmes. There was only one state counselling center found in the country, known as National Trauma Counselling Center (NTCC), provided by the Department of Women Affairs. However, the center’s website mentioned that, currently, only two psychiatrists and two interns were available at the center (http://ntcc-mowca.gov.bd/).
Counselling services in Bangladesh have been available in the following settings:
- Private Practices
- Non-profit organizations
- Schools & Universities
- Public hospitals
Challenges & Trends
The main challenge of counselling services and profession in Bangladesh is that there is a huge demand for services yet there are not enough counsellors available in the country. Moreover, Islam (2012) stressed the importance of addressing the issue of professionalism of mental health counsellors in the country. Appropriate training programs are still needed in the country to ensure professional quality service. In order to make mental health services accessible at community level, Islam (2012) also suggested to prioritize the expansion of counselling services.
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:
- Islam, S. (2012). Development and trends in counselling services in Bangladesh: Need for professionalism. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(2), 110–114. https://www.academia.edu/8797845/Development_and_trends_in_counsellling_services_in_Bangladesh_Need_for_professionalism