All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.
There are no counselling associations in Palestine that could be located.
Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes
- University Website: https://www.birzeit.edu/en
- Programme Website: https://www.birzeit.edu/en/study/programs/community-psychology
- Programme Types: Master Program in Community Psychology
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
In 1987, the first of the two intifadas that began in the State of Palestine brought significant changes in the development of the mental health services, with the lack of finances, management structure, and human resources inhibiting the quality of mental health services (Giacaman, 2004). However, there have been positive changes for the mental health services in Palestine. Giacaman (2004) explains that mental health services in the State of Palestine are primarily provided by three main types of organizations are governmental, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and “the United Nations Relief and Works Agency” (UNRWA; Giacaman, 2004, p. 15).
The counselling profession also began to develop with the establishment of the Palestinian Counselling Center (PCC; Giacaman, 2004). Additionally, Giacaman (2004) stated that before the establishment of the PCC, mental health services were limited only to psychiatric treatment for mental disorders, and now some services are beginning to be offered in schools through the Ministry of Education and UNRWA, through which school counsellors serve as the first contact for students needing additional support or guidance regarding preventative services. In Palestine, there is little distinction between counsellors, psychologists, or social workers; mental health practitioners of all disciplines work in similar environments and have similar responsibilities and cases (Giacaman, 2004). Services offered and areas of expertise of a practitioner are determined by the type of organization that individuals work for as opposed to the type of training that practitioners have received. (Giacaman, 2004)
However, due to there being no formal system of referral between the NGOs and government sectors, the mental health services in the State of Palestine are fragmented (Giacaman, 2004). The mental health services in Palestine still need various improvements until counselling becomes a viable profession.
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
There is no counselling association available in the State of Palestine and there is also no credentialing or licensing process for counsellors in the State of Palestine. Also, mental health practitioners in Palestine have no professional counselling or psychological association that acts as a regulatory body. The lack of regulation with regard to mental health service has led to various training difficulties among practitioners as well as ambiguous job duties.
Counselling services in Palestine are minimal and are only offered in these settings:
- Community mental health centers
- Non-governmental organizations
Challenges & Trends
Before 2004, mental health services in Palestine were significantly neglected and underdeveloped. Because the need for mental health care among Palestinians became greater, in 2014 the WHO, in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Health, implemented a plan to improve the mental health system and services in Palestine. Since then, the counselling profession also began to develop and has made substantial progress. However there are still several obstacles remaining for counselling to become a feasible profession in the State of Palestine.
The counselling profession in Palestine is still in the process of developing, however, there are numerous challenges for this profession. One of the challenges is there is no credentialing or licensing process for counsellors or mental health practitioners. According to Makkawi (2009), there is no professional counselling or psychological association that acts as a regulatory body thus leading to various training difficulties among practitioners.
Besides, governmental organizations and NGOs in Palestine often provide overlapping services to the same populations (Makkawi, 2009). The limited availability of funding in addition to the lack of communication between governmental and non-governmental organizations has led to an ineffective use of resources and the development of programs that are based on the mission of organizations providing funding instead of the needs of the community (Giacaman, 2004; Makkawi, 2009).
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:
- Giacaman, R. (2004). Psycho-social/mental health care in the occupied Palestinian territories: The embryonic system. Institute of Community and Public Health. (pp. 1-119). http://icph.birzeit.edu/research/publications/psycho-socialmental-health-care-occupied-palestinian-territories-embryonic
- Makkawi, I. (2009). Towards an emerging paradigm of critical community psychology in Palestine. The Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling, and Psychotherapy, 12, 75–86.https://fada.birzeit.edu/jspui/bitstream/20.500.11889/5408/1/12.%20Makkawi%20–%20Emerging%20Paradigm.pdf
- World Health Organization. (2006). WHO-AIMS report on mental health system in West Bank and Gaza. (pp. 1-26). https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/west_bank_and_gaza_who_aims_report.pdf?ua=1#:~:text=The%20W%20HO%2DAIMS%20project%20is%20coordinated%20by%20Shekhar%20Saxena.&text=The%20World%20Health%20Organization%20Assessment,W%20est%20Bank%20and%20Gaza.