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
Counselling is a relatively new practice in Kuwait and there is still limited education and resources for counselling services in the country. Prior to the mental health law No. 14 being issued in 2019 by the Kuwait government, there was nothing that provided protection to those with mental health issues (Al Tamimi & Company, 2019). This law was needed in order to promote change among the stigmas that surround mental health. Likewise, mental health stigma and culture among Kuwaiti people result in them avoiding treatment because they are afraid of what people will think of them (Al Tamimi & Company, 2019). This new law led to the creation of the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC), in which they continuously empowered “the application of the law and its executive regulation, including developing policies in respect of the rights of mental health patients” (Al Tamimi & Company, 2019, para. 3). The MHCC is currently in charge of monitoring and evaluating the experienced psychiatric committee and legal consultants working in the legal sector of the Ministry of Health (Al Tamimi & Company, 2019).
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
There is no detailed information available on the standards and requirements on counselling profession licensing in the country. However, the MHCC has been continuously in charge of the overall psychiatric committee. The MHCC is also in charge of creating new policies in respect to patients rights (Al Tamimi & Company, 2019). However, the counselling profession is highly focused on family therapy in relation to rising numbers of children with learning disabilities.
It is unknown how many practicing counsellors in Kuwait exist. Although the places counsellors can practice are limited, here is a list of the available settings:
- Private practices
- State-based counselling programs
Challenges & Trends
There is no official license for counselling recorded in Kuwait. Therefore, the credentials counsellors have may be hard to determine due to a lack of a trusted licensing body. Based on the Directory of The Psychological Services in the State of Kuwait, the majority of the mental health institutes in Kuwait focused on learning development for children with ADHD and autism (Kuwait Association for Learning Differences, n.d.). Consequently, Kuwait is falling behind in providing diverse mental health services to tackle different mental health issues among different age groups.
Due to heavy stigmatization of mental health treatment in Kuwait and local perceptions of religious and supernatural causes of psychiatric symptoms, people with mental illness are often accused of satanic possession or of having a weak faith in God. This perspective may subject them to ineffective and often harmful treatments such as exorcisms (Soh & Walter, 2012).
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:
- Al Tamimi & Co. (2019, November 26). Dispelling the taboo: Kuwait’s first mental health law. Lexology.https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=d18cd4d2-1031-494f-9a6a-05a36c75ca0f
- Kuwaiti Association for Learning Differences. (n.d.) Directory of The Psychological Services in the State of Kuwait. http://www.kaldkuwait.com/Runtime/uploads/Files/Directories/KALD_Directory_English2.pdf
- Soh, N. L., & Walter, G. (2012). Traditional and alternative medicine treatments in child and adolescent mental health. In J.M. Rey, & A. Martin (Eds.), e-Textbook of child and adolescent mental health. https://iacapap.org/content/uploads/J.2-Alternative-medicine-2019.pdf