Malaysia

Summary

Counselling Associations

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

International Counselling Association of Malaysia (PERKAMA International)

National Association of Christian Counsellors Malaysia (NACC Malaysia)

Malaysian Board of Counsellors (Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia, LKM)

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

HELP University

Monash University 

University of Malaya 

National University of Malaysia (UKM)

University Malaysia Sabah 

  • University Website: https://www.ums.edu.my/
  • Programme Website: https://www.ums.edu.my/v5/
  • Programme Types: Bachelor of Psychology (Counselling), Master of Psychology (Counselling) – Coursework, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Children and Family Psychology Counselling

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Befrienders 

Focus for Families Malaysia 

Than Hsiang Mitra Welfare KL

Background & Context

Counselling in Malaysia started after the Ministry of Education released a policy in 1963 on having “guidance” in schools, as an integral part of the Malaysian education system (Amir & Latiff, 1984 as cited in Ching & Ng, 2010). Throughout the 1960s to the 1980s, the counselling profession grew, however those who were trained were limited to either becoming school or drug counsellors (Glamcevski, 2008). In the 1980s, mental health advocacy in Malaysia surged, with the need for a more professional body to represent its identity, reflected in the creation of  the Malaysian Counsellors Association (PERKAMA) and later in 1998, the Board of Counsellors of Malaysia (Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia; LKM) by which all professional counsellors have to be registered under Act 580 in order to formally practice counselling. By the 1990s, counselling expanded its scope and branched into working within the health system and offering their services to the larger public through hospitals and mental health clinics (Glamcevski, 2008). As of October 2019, 8773 counsellors are currently registered through LKM.

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition

Counsellors in Malaysia are registered by the Malaysian Board of Counsellors, or locally known as Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia (LKM). The LKM board exists to supervise the regulation of counselling practices, with practicing counsellors registered, licenced, and formally recognized under the Malaysian government’s Counsellor’s Act (580).  As of 2019, AIA Malaysia, part of the AIA Group Limited companies,  has stepped up to offer insurance benefits with an enhancement to its original medical plan, now including benefits for mental health. Although the plan is not specifically applicable to counselling, AIA states on their website that customers of their A-Plus Health plan will be able to claim up to RM1,500 a year in psychiatric consultation fees when visiting any private or government hospital, and that the benefit will cover six mental health conditions, which are Major Depressive Disorders, Postpartum Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-compulsive Disorder and Tourette Syndrome, which is a promising move towards mental health inclusion, advocacy, and aid in Malaysia. 

Practice Settings

Malaysia’s counselling services are offered through a variety of sources such as:

  • Primary & Secondary Schools
  • Universities
  • Community & Faith-based Counselling Centres
  • Family Service Centres
  • Hospitals and Mental Health Facilities
  • Private Practices
  • Non-profit & Non-governmental Organizations

Trends

Counselling started as vocational guidance for secondary schools in the 1960s and has moved onto being available for the rest of the Malaysian population via the healthcare system, and also offered by multiple government bodies. Many universities are now starting to offer degrees, diplomas, and masters in counselling degrees as the profession is gaining popularity. 

Challenges

An identifiable and unique challenge of the counselling profession is in regards to Malaysia’s multiculturalism. As Malaysia is a mixed pot of different languages, religions, and cultures, it is essential that counselling services are aware and competent to each of the client’s unique needs and values that may be specific to their cultural context (Aga Mohd Jaladin, 2013). Thus, it is often seen that counselling services in Malaysia can be categorized based on the types of clients they receive. For example, though they are open to everyone, government/state counselling centers often offer their services in Malay and have a larger client-base of Muslim Malays, whereas the Chinese Malaysian counselling organizations run their services in Chinese languages and have a client-base of mainly Chinese individuals (Ching & Ng, 2010). 

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:

Malaysia
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