Estonia

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Summary

Counselling Associations

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

Estonian Associaton of Career Counsellors 

  • Website: www.kny.ee
  • Organisation Size: 121 Members 

Estonian Union of Psychologists

Estonian Association of School Psychologists

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

Tartu University, Institute of Psychology

Tallinn University, School of Natural Sciences and Health

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Background & Context

There is not so much information about the history of counselling in Estonia. This may be due to the fact that the country does not have developed and established counselling structures at the present time. In contrast, psychology seems to have a longer history in Estonia. For example, psychological schools focusing on clinical psychology or educational psychology have existed for a relatively long time. For this reason, these areas of work are much more developed in terms of professional development, training (accredited programs at universities), and job opportunities (state funding) (see Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020).

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

Psychological counselling in Estonia is not regulated by law. Although there are psychologists working as counselors in various fields, the counselling profession itself has received little state support (cf. Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020). The funds that are made available are usually very scarce and limited in time, so that the counselling initiatives can hardly make a living from it. Furthermore, there is a lack of information on qualification standards, which is one of the reasons why independent counselling associations have not yet existed in Estonia (cf. ibid.).

However, there are cases where psychological counselling is subsidized by the state. For example, social insurance covers psychological counselling in victim assistance programs (victims of crime) and in social rehabilitation (cf. Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020). Social rehabilitation is intended for all persons with a disability and persons with partial or no ability to work who need assistance in their daily lives to cope with the limitations resulting from their disability or special needs. Furthermore, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund covers psychological counselling for the unemployed to assist them in finding a job (work rehabilitation). Furthermore, the Ministry of Education covers psychological counselling in schools for pupils and students (cf. ibid.).

Practice Settings

Psychological counselling is practiced in:

  • Schools (at all levels of education, including higher education) (cf. Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020).
  • Private practices (cf. Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020).
  • Businesses (cf. Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020).
  • NGO-s for rehabilitation services and support of different client*groups (for example victims of sexual abuse, violence, people with addiction problems and so on) (cf. Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020).

Thus, the counselors do not work in the health care system, since the state health insurance does not cover the counselling services. Only the services of clinical psychologists are covered by the health insurance (cf. Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020).

Challenges & Trends

Mental health enjoys increasing attention in Estonian society. Many current problems such as depression and suicidality among young people, domestic and sexual violence, psychosocial stress due to stressful life situations, especially as a result of COVID-19, are of concern to the population (see Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020). These issues are discussed more often in public and more and more people recognize the need for psychological support in everyday life, which in turn leads to a greater demand for psychosocial services, including psychological counselling (cf. ibid.). Nevertheless, there are still not enough specialists in this field. Thus, one of the biggest challenges is the development of educational programs for counsellors (including lifelong education) (cf. ibid.). Furthermore, a suitable qualification system should be implemented and the counselling profession should be introduced in Estonia, so that both employees and employers have certain guidelines to orient themselves by.

Despite the increasing attention to mental health within the Estonian population, there is still a need to increase the reputation of the counselling profession in society (see Kastepõld-Tõrs 2020). It is possible that in the future counsellors will also be allowed to offer their services under the state health insurance system (cf.ibid).

Additional Information & References

Unfortunately, no reading in English has been found that would allow a deeper insight into the current state of the counselling profession in Estonia.

Estonia
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