Thursday Jul 29, 2021
Mental health professionals in Pakistan are demanding that the government immediately establish a regulatory authority to oversee the qualifications, training and curriculum of mental health services in the country, as no such body exists till now.
The Board of Counselling and Psychotherapy, a community of psychotherapists and mental health counselors in Pakistan, presented their Charter of Demands on Thursday.
“We recognise the damage that can result from unregulated mental health practices,” the Board stated in a press release. “We propose the need to categorize mental health service providers based on qualifications … along with the creation of a regulatory authority for practitioners.”
The Charter of Demands calls for a licensing system that requires therapists to meet a criteria before being eligible to practice in the country. It also insists on setting up a governing body that will hold mental health practitioners to account in case of violations and complaints.
“It is high time we take action to end unethical and unregulated practices in mental health services,” the Board added.
After the murder of Noor Mukadam, there has been a renewed debate in the country about the need to regulate and keep a check on untrained and unethical mental health professionals, as it has come to light that Zahir Jaffer, Noor's alleged killer, had been practicing as a therapist.
Last October, the National Assembly passed the Pakistan Psychological Council bill, which calls for the creation of a council that will register psychologists and recognise institutions and organisations in both public and private sectors.
As per the bill, a “registered psychologist" will mean a person having at least a masters degree or sixteen years of education with two years’ experience in the field.
The bill has yet to be passed by the Senate.