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 Botswana
- University website: https://www.ub.bw/
- Programme Types: Bachelor of Education in Counselling, Bachelor of Psychology, Master of Education in Counselling and Human Services, Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with Psychology as Combined Major
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
The history of the development of counselling in Botswana mirrors that of the history of the country itself since gaining independence, and has come as a result of several factors. The rapid social and economic changes that occurred in the country following independence brought with them an evolving set of changes in the lives of Batswana, and a corresponding need for services and structures to address these changes.
Counselling in Botswana prior to modern counselling was still tied to the traditional indigenous approaches of helping. Modern counselling was introduced to Botswana in the late 1980s as a response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. However, modern and traditional indigenous guidance and counselling services are still offered together depending on the issues presented by the clients. People still revert to the traditional family setup of counselling offered by the significant others when they have psychosocial and marital problems.
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
Besides, counselling in Botswana is facing mental health issues and social challenges that have affected a number of developing African countries. According to Garbleman et al. (2007) the development of counselling or any profession tends to accelerate as a country becomes more industrialized and economically stable. When a country does not have a stable economic situation it may fail to have a stable health system and structures and thus affecting the growth of counselling. Botswana has maintained a stable and strong political and economic growth since independence providing a healthy atmosphere for developing infrastructure and education sector. Modern counselling services were introduced in the late 1980s by different non-governmental organizations (NGO) responding to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. It was offered by foreigners and social workers. Different sectors of the economic started structures such as counselling centers and agencies to offer psychosocial services. Stockton et al. (2010), posit that counselling in Botswana is evolving into a fully developed profession and is taking place in increasing number of settings. Whereas many mental health counselling services are still specific to HIV and AIDS issues, general counselling services are increasingly offered through government ministries and community agencies, non-governmental organizations, prisons, churches, and private agencies. Not all of these services are provided by professional counsellors. In addition, in many rural areas of the country, psychiatric nurses may be more readily available to provide mental health services than are professional counsellors.
Counselling in primary and secondary schools is currently provided by volunteers and designated senior guidance teachers and ordinary teachers. Schools have a senior guidance teacher who is supposed to teach guidance and provide counselling service to the whole school. Guidance is a timetabled subject and teachers trained in guidance are expected to teach it and counselling is offered by professional counsellors.
Besides, Botswana Counselling Association has continued to play a major role of advocacy for the counselling profession in Botswana. The Association has so far hosted two successful international conferences in collaboration with National Board of Certified Counsellors (NBCC) and many other counselling organizations. The Association is currently working with the International Association of Counsellors (IAC) to explore the possibility of a joint international conference in Botswana. The Association has developed a Counselling Act that need to be approved by parliament and enacted into a law that will regulate and control counselling practice in Botswana. The Association is doing this in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders. The purpose of Counselling Act is to regulate, control and monitor the counselling practice in Botswana. The Association has mounted several training workshops for its members and different institutions in the country.
Challenges & Trends
There is a growing concern about issues of standard of practice due to a number of paraprofessionals and untrained people offering counselling. Counselling practice in Botswana is not regulated therefore this is a concern about the welfare of the clients and the quality of service provided. The problem of malpractice, supervision and misconduct by practicing professionals will always be a great concern if there are no regulatory standards. There are no registrations facilities, certification or licensing statutes, counselling service is offered by providers who have not been accredited.
In addition, the positive changes associated with the transition of Botswana into a modern society also brought with them a number of serious social challenges more common in modern societies, including increased rates of unemployment, crime, teenage pregnancy, and substance abuse, among others.
Additional Information & References
For more information about the counselling profession in the state, interested readers are encouraged to read the following journal and website articles:
Jabulani Allen Muchado, D. (2019). Counseling in Botswana: History, Current Status and Future Trends. The Journal Of Social Sciences Research, (54), 1032-1037. https://doi.org/10.32861/jssr.54.1032.1037
Stockton, R., Nitza, A., & Bhusumane, D. (2010). The Development of Professional Counseling in Botswana. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 88(1), 9-12. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6678.2010.tb00142.x