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
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
According to extensive research conducted by Midgett, Teixeira, and Hutz (2013), counselling in Brazil primarily exists in various forms of vocational and career guidance counselling. Originally developed in the 1920s, educational and vocational guidance as a field expanded as government reforms in 1942 required the creation of vocational technical schools that also offered educational advisors who were responsible for helping students navigate their educational experience and make career decisions. A few years later, the first professional educational programs in career, educational, and vocational guidance were established through the Getulio Vargas Foundation in 1944. Later in the 1940’s, the influence of Rogerian person-centred theory led to early developments in a psychological counselling profession; however, since 1962 mental health treatment (e.g., diagnosis, psychoeducation, educational guidance, issues of adjustment) has been linked by law to psychology in Brazil, and to this day is practiced predominately by psychologists (Midgett et al., 2013, 2013).
Therefore, the primary field of counselling in Brazil is focused on career or vocational guidance issues (Midgett et al., 2013, 2013). Indeed, the term professional counsellor is generally not used in Brazil as the Portuguese translation of the term connotes unprofessional activities akin to the informal giving of advice. Various individuals practice career counselling, including psychologists and educators (mostly in school settings) in Brazil. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, career counselling expanded professionally as a field through more advanced educational and research endeavors, especially under the guidance of the Associação Brasileira de Orientação Profissional [Brazilian Association of Professional Guidance; ABOP] which seeks to provide development opportunities in “professional and career guidance in the contexts of education, work and health and in the interfaces with other areas of knowledge” (http://abopbrasil.org.br/revista, para. 1). ABOP serves the many different professionals providing career counselling by offering various services including:
- Opportunities for networking, support, and mentoring
- An active conference/symposium series
- Promotion of training programs and special events
- Publication of a newsletter
- Publication of a professional journal, the Brazilian Journal of Professional Guidance (RBOP)
- Leadership development
- Outreach with other international professionals and associations for career counselling (http://abopbrasil.org.br/quem-somos)
In addition to career counselling in Brazil, there is some evidence for the presence of biblical and Christian counselling, primarily practiced by evangelical religious individuals and organizations (e.g., missionaries, churches; Mendes, 2016). Some of these counselors were trained at U.S. religious colleges and universities (http://www.counselingforbrazil.com/the-bragas) or the counselling offered at these settings has been influenced heavily by U.S. Christian counselling programs and approaches (Mendes, 2016). It is unclear the full extent or nature of the counselling offered within these organizations, or how prevalent the practices are, but the type of counselling offered through these setting appears to be more aligned with the psychological counselling (e.g., psychotherapy) offered at U.S. Christian counselling offices, rather than with career counselling in the Brazilian model. A professional association for Christian counselling in Brazil does exist, the Brazilian Association of Biblical Counsellors (ABCB), but the size of the association is not evident (http://abopbrasil. org.br/quem-somos).
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
Midgett et al., (2013) indicated that training in career counselling is offered through five-year, undergraduate, non-standardized educational programs in psychology in Brazil. Career counselling training is also offered via some post-graduate college training programs. Although the field is wide-spread in Brazil, these authors also indicated that career counsellors are not required to obtain certification to practice. Indeed, no information was located indicating a certification process is in place for career counsellors in the country, despite the existence of ABOP. No other information could be found for any organization or government body addressing the formal certification, regulation, or training of professional counsellors from any specialty area in Brazil.
It is not clear how many career counsellors exist in Brazil. Midgett et al., (2013) reported, as of 2012 ABOP had roughly 400 members, but suggested individuals offering career counselling services numbered much higher. Since many of these career counsellors are also psychologists or educators, career counselling is unlikely the only service they provide and some of these professionals may not be members of ABOP. Career counsellors work in a variety of settings including “schools, universities, or private practice or at a career counselling nucleus or groups (the latter linked to psychology programs in universities). In addition, some institutions, both public and private, are active in the field of advising, consulting, offering job placement services, and providing career-related counselling” (Midgett et al., 2013, p. 373). Various theoretical approaches, methods, and assessments for career counselling and interventions are used in these settings, in some cases limited to the type of professional (as only psychologists can offer psychological exams in Brazil).
Challenges & Trends
Midgett et al.,(2013) indicated the “lack of a standardized curriculum for a unified field of career counselling” has been one of the profession’s challenges in Brazil (p. 376). Typically, career counsellors come from the varied ranks of psychologists in the country (e.g., clinical, educational, or organizational specialties). Other career counsellors are trained primarily as educators or come from other professions. Thus, moving forward it seems a future goal of career counselling entities and advocates in Brazil, like ABOP, would the development of clear guidelines for training, regulation, and certification including developing things like a common ethics code as well as programs for lobbying and advocacy to the public and government. Outreach to more established global professional counselling associations and counsellor education programs could foster future professionalization of the career counselling field in Brazil and possibly, in time, explore broadening of the scope of counselling currently practiced by career counsellors to other clinical domains.
Additional Information & References
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in Brazil, interested readers are recommended to read the following article in full:
- Hutz-Midgett, A., Teixeira, M.A.P., & Hutz, C. S.(2013). Counseling in Brazil. In Hohenshil, T.H., Amundson, N.E., & Niles, S.G. (Eds.), Counseling around the world: An international handbook (371-379). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.