Clinical Psychology is still in its infancy as a profession in Malaysia. However, an increased awareness of psychology in general and the younger generations’ more open approach to getting psychological help means that the profession as plenty of opportunity to grow.
There are currently around 140 Clinical Psychologists in Malaysia, most of whom were trained locally. The first training course was the Masters in Clinical Psychology at the National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kembangsaan Malaysia, UKM).
The Masters in Clinical Psychology at HELP University is the other long-established course. Newer courses have begun but one of the challenges to setting up a course is that there are few practising Clinical Psychologists who can supervise trainees. Trainee clinical psychologists need to be taught and trained by an experienced clinical psychologist. The lack of supervisors means it’s difficult for new courses to find their trainees enough high quality placements to complete their training.
Clinical psychologists in Malaysia tend to go into private practice or university posts because there are few suitable posts in the government health system. For a more detailed discussion about the lack of posts in the government health system you can read this article from The Malaysian Insight.
A professional association for Clinical Psychologists, the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology was set up in 2009. It aimed to advocate for the profession. This has worked well for Counsellors in Malaysia who have been professionalised for much longer and have more influence over government policy.
Recently a new law was enacted, The Allied Health Professions Act (2016), that legally protects the term Clinical Psychologist. Prior to the law anyone could call themselves a Clinical Psychologist (and there are several untrained practitioners that do). The law should prevent people claiming to be a Clinical Psychologist unless they are fully qualified. Unfortunately, it has yet to be enforced as the systems to register people are still being devised.
If you have any questions or comments about the profession of Clinical Psychology please let me know in the comments box at the end of this page.