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
There are not any universities as of recent research shows that offer counselling programs.
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
There were very few literary pieces on the counselling profession in Laos, as the professional counselling field in the country is underdeveloped. As a developing country, there is still not a lot that is offered to the Laos population in terms of: mental health programs, budgets for mental health in the national health plan, programs for special populations affected by mental health illness or conditions, professional networks, mental health policies, or epidemiological studies referring to mental health issues.
Bertrand and Choulamany (2002) explained that in 2001, the Lao Disabled People Association (LDPA) was approved by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW). LDPA “…employs mostly persons with physical handicaps” and “aims at promoting the rights of people with disabilities” (Bertrand & Choulamany, 2002, pg. 45) which gives the Laos population the ability to use their voice. However, Bertrand and Choulamany (2002) stated there are three requirements which exclude mentally disabled individuals. The requirements are as follows; “he/she is a disabled of a good conduct”, “he/she is a disabled person of a good character, accepted by society” and, “he/she is not an insane person” (Bertrand & Choulamany, 2002, pg. 46).
In 2018, there were only two psychiatrists covering the whole of Laos with a population of seven million people (Choulamany, 2018) with one of them being Dr. Choulamany herself. In a country where professional counselling services are underdeveloped and mental health issues are hidden in the shadows Dr. Choulamany hopes to bring mental health out of the shadows in Laos by strengthening local skills, facilities, and processes while exploding myths and stigmas by sharing successful stories with the correct treatment (Choulamany, 2018).
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
Currently, there are no counselling associations available in Laos. Therefore, licensing and regulation of counselling practices are unknown.
- Private Practices
- State-based Organizations
Challenges & Trends
Bertrand and Choulamany (2002) explain that a trend that challenges present and/or future counsellors in Laos is the strong belief in spirits and magic among the community. They also illustrate how sensitivity to these beliefs are important to counsellors and practitioners as they have a perceptible influence on health care seeking patients (Bertrand & Choulamany, 2002).
Additional Information & References
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal andwebsite articles:
- Choulamany, C. (2018). Bringing mental health out of the shadows in Laos. Mental Health Today. https://www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/blog/awareness/bringing-mental-health-out-of-the-shadows-in-laos
- Bertrand, D., Choulamany, C. (2002). Mental health situation analysis in Lao people’s Democratic Republic. World Health Organization, 1-119. https://www.who.int/mental_health/policy/en/lao_mnh_sit_analysis.pdf