IAC Member Associations & Organizations
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Additional Counselling Associations & Organizations
Malta Association for the Counselling Profession (MACP)
Council for the Counselling Profession
Universities & Training Institutes
IAC Education Institute Members
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Additional Education Institutes
University of Malta
- Programme Types: Master in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice, Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Supervision, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Wellbeing Studies, Master of Counselling, Master of Psychology in Counselling Psychology
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices & Centres
IAC Member Centres/Group Practices
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Background & Context
The counselling profession emerged over 20 years ago when counsellors received a diploma in school counselling. At that time, school counsellors were concerned with the psychosocial needs of students as well as their career choices. In 2008, the University of Malta offered the first master’s course in counselling. Since then, the profession has become more regulated by law and nowadays counsellors must be credentialed to practice the profession. The majority of credentialed counsellors have a Master’s degree, while the others were credentialed on the basis of “grandfather rights”, i.e. grandfathering. (cf. Zammit Genovese, 2020)
In 1999, a group of counsellors* began discussing the possibility of forming an association. The first meeting was held in January 2002 at the University of Malta, where the constitution was presented. Most of the energies of MACP (Malta Association for the Counselling Profession) were invested in the annual National Conference and Training Weeks. The most important endeavor for MACP, was the regulation of the profession. On February 24, 2015, it was realized with the third reading of the Counselling Bill and finally came into force on March 3, 2015. This includes the establishment of practice standards that include supervision and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) hours. These standards must be met annually by counsellors* in order to continue practicing. (cf. Galea, 2020)
Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition
Counselling has been regulated by law since May 2015. (cf. ibid.) In the Maltese Act, Chapter 538 – Counselling Profession – deals with the arrangements for regulating the counselling profession and all related matters. More details can be found in the draft law.
There is a register listing all authorized counsellors* with full authority and a register listing all authorized counsellors* with temporary authority. The registers can be viewed on the website of the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity.
The Master in Counselling program is offered at the University of Malta and lasts eight semesters. Applications are open to persons with a Category 2 Bachelor’s degree in Humanities or Social Sciences and any other field of study deemed relevant by the Board. In addition, applicants* need practical experience of at least one year “in a formal human or psycho-social setting”. (cf. University of Malta – Master in Counselling, 2020) Finally, they must undergo a personal interview and personality test. There it will be determined if they are qualified for the profession.
Counsellors in Malta work in a variety of settings:
- They mainly practice in schools
- Also a few counsellors working in social welfare agencies
- There is good number of counsellors who work privately in various clinics (U2)
- They work trough Non Governmental Organisations
- They work in hospitals,
- In Migrant-related services,
- In Addiction related services,
- In Private Practice
Challenges & Trends
The challenges and trends that survey participants consider important are described below.
“Counsellors working in schools seem to be, sadly, phasing out. There seems to be a hidden agenda behind this. Counselling psychologists and play therapists are trying to find their way into the education system, which is good, but not at the expense of losing counsellors. Counsellors never had opportunities in the medical hospital – only psychologists work there unfortunately. It is saddening to see that there is still a huge discrepancy between the different helping professions here in Malta. I work in a multi-disciplinary team, and the richness that comes out of these reflective conversations is superb. I feel blessed. Another challenge that locally we encounter is with regard to supervision. There is no consensus with regards to whether counsellors can access supervision from let’s say psychologists or psychotherapists, or whether the qualified supervisor needs to necessarily be a qualified counsellor, even after one gets the warrant.” (vgl. Zammit Genovese, 2020)
“Even though it is a warranted profession, still it is not available in many sectors, eg health department/hospital. Psychology was awarded a warrant after counselling, yet, there is still this social believe that psychology is preferred for some reason or another. Counselling jobs available are not well paid, and not taken care of.” (vgl. Lehtonen, 2020)
“That it needs to be respected more by psychologists and employers like the government and welfare agencies.” (vgl. Zammit, 2020)
“Having been a ‘cinderella’ profession for a long time & acquiring regulation long after that of psychology it still struggles to reach various entities.
The Covid era has opened a new window in the form of online counselling which was previously hardly practiced here due to the fact that Malta is a small country so distances are short. However traffic jams are very common. Presently Malta has a population of about 440,000 with around 40,000 registered cars on an island measuring 316 km². Clients just calculated the extra time they needed to get to their session according to the traffic congestion at a particular time of day & level of parking difficulty. Now this issue might not be a stumbling block any more. Short courses on Online Counselling have been organised to help in this process.” (vgl. Galea, 2020)
Additional Information & References