To become a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia you need to:
- Obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
- Gain some work experience. Some courses in Malaysia are now accepting students without work experience.
- Obtain a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.
Until recently there were only two clinical psychology training courses based in Malaysia: HELP & UKM. There was a lot of competition to get a place on one of these courses. Several new clinical psychology courses have just started operating across Malaysia. This makes it easier to find a place on a Clinical Psychology course but it could cause an issue for trainees because it there may be too few placements.
Some Clinical Psychologists in Malaysia have trained overseas. If you study overseas you may need to study a doctorate rather than a Masters degree. For more information about studying overseas please read my page on ‘How to become a Clinical Psychologist’. You will also find information about some of the courses available to international students on this website. The biggest challenge with training overseas is paying the high tuition fees. This means most Malaysians train in local universities.
What happens on the Clinical Psychology Training Programme?
The Masters in Clinical Psychology in Malaysia is usually a 2 year full-time course. Most courses start in January. There are three main components to the training:
You will attend lectures and workshops to teach you the knowledge and skills you need to practice as a clinical psychologist. This is is likely to include training on interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and assessment methods such as neuropsychological assessments.
Trainee Clinical Psychologists need to learn by working under the supervision of an experienced clinical psychologist. There are a limited number of clinical psychologists in Malaysia and only a small proportion of them are able to offer placements for trainee clinical psychologists. Some of the newer courses have found it difficult to find psychologists who can offer supervision to trainees. You should check how the placements will be arranged to ensure the university is able to provide suitable practical learning opportunities.
You will be required to complete a research thesis to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method and approach that is central to the practice of a clinical psychologist.
Do I need to be registered to become a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia?
A new law, the Allied Health Professions Act, 2016 made it illegal for someone to call themselves a ‘Clinical Psychologist’ unless they are registered. The law has not yet been enforced because the government needs time to decide how to run the register. It’s a difficult task because the register needs to cover many different professions. The list of professions ranges from Speech and Language Therapists to Nutritionists. We don’t know when the register will be ready.
Who accredits psychologists in Malaysia?
Although the register is not ready, employers and clients need to know that you are fully qualified. The Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology (MSCP) is a professional society that accredits Clinical Psychology courses and Clinical Psychologists. Becoming a full member of the MSCP helps show that you are fully qualified. You can find out more about them on their website www.mscp.my or Facebook page.
Can I train to be a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia if I am not Malaysian?
You should check with the authorities or potential employers in your home country to find out whether a Malaysian qualification will be recognised.
Which Universities currently offer places for students to study clinical psychology?
Until recently there were only two clinical psychology training courses based in Malaysia: HELP & UKM. Several new clinical psychology courses have just started operating across Malaysia. This makes it easier to find a place on a Clinical Psychology course but it could cause an issue for trainees because it there may be too few placements or too few experienced clinical psychologists to do the teaching.
Job opportunities once you qualify
We’re often asked about the job prospects for clinical psychologists once they qualify. I’ve written an article on ‘the Status of Clinical Psychology in Malaysia‘ which I hope gives something of an answer to a complex question!
How can I get a taste of what it’s like to be a Clinical Psychologist?
What does a psychologist do when they meet with clients? What happens during therapy? If you would like to find out for yourself then you could join our ‘Manage Emotions Live Life Program.
Our program is based on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy which is a well regarded evidence-based approach that many psychologists use (our director Dr. Dan Seal uses it as his primary approach). It is regarded as a ‘third-wave therapeutic approach’. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is thought of as a ‘second wave therapeutic approach’ whereas Behaviourism is an example of a ‘first wave approach’.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, and therefore our program, is transdiagnostic. This means that it can be helpful for everyone. You can benefit from it whether you are finding it difficult to manage emotions such as sadness or anxiety or if you’re finding it difficult to stop behaviours such as overeating or overusing social media. It’s also useful if you don’t have any particular problems but you want to learn how to make life even more fulfilling.
If you join the program you’ll meet our facilitators one-on-one so we can tailor the program to your needs. Our facilitators are either recently qualified clinical psychologists or clinical psychologists who are about to finish their training and qualify as clinical psychologists. This means that, in addition to teaching you skills based on ACT, they can also answer any questions you may have about training as a clinical psychologist.
The full program consists of six meetings and costs RM150 per meeting. You can meet our facilitators in-person at Colony KLCC or the Hub SS2 in PJ or online via Zoom. There’s no obligation to complete the program if you don’t like it and you don’t have to pay for meetings you don’t use. However, we hope you will complete the program because in the later weeks we teach mindfulness (which we call Attention Training on our program) and we introduce the concepts behind Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) which is another third-wave evidence based therapy.
If you would like to join the Manage Emotions Live Life Program please contact Vivian who will schedule a time for you to meet one of our psychologists.