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
University of Macau
- University Website: https://www.um.edu.mo/
- Programme Website: https://www.um.edu.mo/fed/med_admission201314_en.html
- Programme Types:Master of Educational Psychology, Master of School Counselling
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
Mental health services, in particular psychological counselling, are significantly new, and not as developed locally compared to Hong Kong and other South-East Asian countries. (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013). Psychological counselling in Macau is underdeveloped in terms of services, licensure, training, and opportunities to pursue professional development and supervision (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013). There are no school psychologists that officially work in any of the schools, however teachers with higher education in educational psychology and school counselling are evident in a few schools. The Centre for Psycho-Pedagogical Support and Special Education of the Education of Youth Affairs and Bureau also provides Psychological and school-based counselling and assessment to all school grades with no distinction (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013).
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
All school counsellors in Macau have received a degree in either Psychology or Social Work, however the role of school counsellor is not clear and there are always misunderstandings about the school counselling profession (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013). This also affects the enthusiasm of counsellors as they are treated as an extra work force. The minimum requirement to become a school counsellor is a bachelor’s degree, which might undervalue their work, therefore even staff at a school can assume that anyone can be the school counsellor (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013).
Despite Macau’s high gross domestic product (GDP), undergraduate programs have a short history, starting from 2002 at University of Macau (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013). There are certain requirements that state that every “school counsellor has to handle 50 cases at school and organize a minimum of 25 activities per year for students at the school” (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013, p.159). Besides school counselling, citizens in Macau also face issues with gambling addiction, so Erick Cheung Lik Hang, a psychological counsellor working at Professional Psychological Services Centre (Macau) provides counselling services specifically to addiction issues (Schalkwyk & Sit, 2013).
Since there are state provided counselling services to the citizens of Macau, counsellors practice in a wide range of settings:
- Private Practices
- Non-profit & Non-governmental Organizations
- State-based Organizations
- College Counselling Centers
Challenges & Trends
Chan (2011) stated that a challenge to family therapy in Macau stems from the gambling problem within the country, which happens to be Macau’s main source of revenue. While some parents may be gambling their life and hard-earned money away, it is the children who may have no physical parental guidance and may be lingering on the streets and refuse to stay at home. Continuing with the lack of parental guidance, “some parents compensate for their absence by giving their children extra money” (Chan, 2011, p.4). Due to these absences, there is an increase in drug addiction in Macau. Another trend is that parents are either working for casinos or are addicted to gambling, this causes kids and teenagers to become addicted to gambling as well (Chan, 2011). It could be a challenge to help those who are in need in Macau because many respondents still have the traditional Chinese view that disclosing family issues is a shameful act (Chan, 2011).
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:
- Chan, S. T. (2011). Family therapy in Macau: development, challenges and opportunities. Journal of Family Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6427.2011.00578.x
- Schalkwyk, G. J. van, & Sit, H. H. Y. (2013). Evaluating school-based psychological and counselling services in Macao using a qualitative approach. School Psychology International, 34(2), 154–165. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034312453395