Counselling Associations

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

The Russian Psychological Society

Joint Russian Association for Counselling 

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

Higher School of Economics (HSE University)

The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences

Moscow University for the Humanities, Moscow State University 

University of Russian Innovation Education 

Russian New University 

Friendship University of Russia 

Russian New University 

Friendship University of Russia 

The Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy and Coaching (IIPC)

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Background & Context

In Russia, psychological counselling as a field of activity was intensively developed in the early 1980s, with the emergence of the first social and psychological assistance services and psychological assistance telephone helplines. Prior to that, university psychology graduates were mainly engaged in client testing and research activities. Officially, they could not engage in psychotherapy (as, indeed, they cannot now), since according to the laws of the Russian Federation, only a specialist with a higher medical education can be a psychotherapist.

In Russia, the term “counselling psychology” appeared in the early 1990s, and in those same years the profession of a consultant psychologist was actively developing. In the 1990s a number of journal publications and books appeared that shaped the face of modern Russian counselling psychology. The experience of the development of this branch of practical psychology in our country and the great interest in it was reflected in the appearance in the 2000s a number of special books and teaching aids. Currently, psychological counselling and psychotherapy are being actively created.

In recent years, the popularity of a new consulting area – coaching – has been actively growing in Russia, which is gaining, first of all, the market of business services, and is also becoming in demand as personal assistance in solving life problems of clients (Life Coaching).

Various practice-oriented coaching schools are being opened, working both according to the standards of the International Association of Coaches ICF (International Academy of Coaching, International Ericksonian University of Coaching), and according to the author's programs (Institute of Coaching A.D.Savkin, School of System-Integrative Coaching I.V. Rybkin, etc.).

Coaching as a separate type of consulting was formed in the 80s of the last century at the intersection of psychology, philosophy, management and sports. At first, it was focused exclusively on the business environment, but gradually the coach's services became in demand in other areas.

Currently, there are about 500 types of coaching, which can be divided into two categories: coaching in business (coaching management, executive coaching, corporate, strategic, situational, project, innovative, career, motivational) and life coaching (coaching for adolescents , family coaching, leisure coaching, emotion management, etc.) (cf. Vinogradova 2010: 200ff.).

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

There is no information available online about counselling associations in Russia as these professional counselling associations are still in the formative stage. Also, there is no credentialing or licensing process for counsellors in Russia. Previous research mentioned that the Russian-American Institute in Moscow has formed an association of counsellors as a vehicle for ongoing training in the form of seminars and conferences (Christine L. Currie et al., 2012). However, there is not much information about it available. The requirements for training and certification vary across the country and are not established or consistently regulated by any governing body. 

Practice Settings

Counselling settings in Russia are available in various settings such as: 

  • Psychiatric hospitals & clinics
  • Orphanages
  • Schools
  • Substance abuse treatment centers
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Private Practice

Challenges & Trends

Russian political events have influenced the development of its mental health professions. After the 1917 Revolution, however, psychology and psychiatry became tools in the hands of the totalitarian government. Any citizen whose ideas posed a threat to the existing authority could be given a psychiatric diagnosis and confined to a psychiatric hospital. Back then, psychology became a repressive tool of the state. A continuing distrust of mental health professions has its roots during this era.

However, there has been a positive change for the mental health profession in Russia recently. The counselling profession in Russia is beginning to emerge from a directive by the Ministry of Education and Science (2009), which has added a specialization called social psychological help, housed under the social work umbrella. Social psychological help will be roughly the equivalent of counselling, with its emphasis on counselling skills and its strength-based approach. 

Historically, people diagnosed with severe mental health issues in Russia were often sent to medically oriented psychiatric hospitals where confidentiality rights were not generally considered. Throughout Russian history, its people have commonly sought counselling and psychological help from “healers” who are believed to possess “good” energy, holy powers, skills to fix people’s issues and the ability to foresee events.

Besides, the difference between psychological diagnosis and counselling therapy is still not always clear among professionals or the general public. Because of a lack of understanding about counselling, counselling interventions remain novel to most Russians. Also, the salaries of mental health professionals in Russia are comparatively low currently; therefore, although many students complete mental health degrees, relatively few continue to work in the field because they cannot survive financially.

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:

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