The Status of Clinical Psychology in Malaysia





Clinical psychology is still in its infancy as a profession in Malaysia. However, an increased awareness of therapy (partly due to the pandemic) and the younger generations’ more open approach to getting psychological help means that the profession has plenty of opportunity to grow.

Clinical Psychologists will need to overcome several challenges to help more people in Malaysia. I’ve described some of the opportunities and challenges below. I’ve based my observations on objective data where possible but some of what I’ve written is subjective and based on my experience of working in Malaysia. I’d be interested to hear whether you agree or have different views. Please do add a comment or question in the section at the end of the page!

High level of need

The National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) conducted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2015 revealed that the prevalence of mental health problems among those 16 years and above is 29.2%.

This suggests that 7 million Malaysians are in psychological distress and could benefit from the evidence-based psychological interventions that clinical psychologists can offer.

Lack of Clinical Psychologists

There are currently around 400 Clinical Psychologists in Malaysia who serve a population of 33 million people. This is a very low ratio compared to countries such as the UK where there are 27,500 practitioner psychologists serving a population of 67 million (data as at March 2023 according to the UK’s HCPC register) .

The term ‘practitioner psychologist’ includes Clinical Psychologists, Educational Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists, Health Psychologists, Forensic Psychologists & Occupational Psychologists but Malaysia has only a handful of psychologists in these fields.

Training issues

The lack of clinical psychologists in Malaysia makes it difficult to train large numbers of new clinical psychologists quickly and effectively. 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 has also been established for some time. In the past few years several universities have begun to offer Clinical Psychology training programmes.

One of the difficulties in setting up a training course is that there aren’t enough clinical psychologists available to teach or supervise trainees. Trainee clinical psychologists need to be taught and trained by experienced clinical psychologists for them to develop the necessary clinical skills to help others.

Some trainee clinical psychologists, particularly on the newer courses, have struggled to find training placements which provide enough hours of working directly with clients. This affects their learning and can delay the time in which they are regarded as a qualified clinical psychologist.

If you are considering studying a master’s in clinical psychology, I’d recommend checking with current or recent trainees as to their experience of different courses in this regard.

Legal Situation

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. The government has predicted that the registering of clinical psychologists should be complete by 2025 at which time they will begin enforcing the law.

Professional Association

A professional association for Clinical Psychologists, the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology was set up in 2009. It aims to advocate for the profession and provide the public with a means of determining who is properly qualified as a clinical psychologist. A professional association has worked well for Counsellors in Malaysia who have been professionalised for much longer and have more influence over government policy.

Availability of Jobs in Clinical Psychology

A report from 2018 states there are only 15 posts for Clinical Psychologists in the government funded health system. The positions available are relatively lowly paid and we are not aware of any move to significantly increase the number of positions or level of pay.

Universities tend to offer the best paid positions for clinical psychologists in Malaysia. Some charities or NGOs also offer full time roles but understandably these tend not to be as well paid.

Consequently, most clinical psychologists tend to go into private practice. Rather than receiving a salary it is more common for psychologists to split the fee they receive from clients between themselves and the owners of the practice. Their monthly income depends on the number of clients they see in a month. To give themselves the best chance of attracting more clients, clinical psychologists often work at multiple practices.

Once a clinical psychologist is confident that they can attract enough clients they have the option of becoming a practice owner. This would allow them to keep all the fees from clients, but they would need to pay their business overheads which would likely include rent, electricity, cleaning, internet, supervision, administration and marketing costs.  

So realistically, if you’re looking for a higher level of pay as a clinical psychologist, you either need to join a private practice which already attracts a lot of clients, or you need to be proactive and entrepreneurial.

We conducted a survey of clinical psychologists pay at the end of 2022. You can see the results of that survey on our dedicated page on this website.

Limited Demand for Clinical Psychologists’ Services

The business minded amongst you might be thinking that with approximately 7 million Malaysians in psychological distress and only 400 clinical psychologists there’s easy money to be made. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.  

To assist the entrepreneurs amongst you I’m going to list why I think demand for clinical psychologists’ services are lower than would be expected:

Stigma and discrimination

People generally avoid accessing mental health services of any kind because they expect that others would treat them badly if they knew they were having mental health difficulties.

Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this fear is justified.

Common stigmatising stereotypes such as ‘people with mental illness are dangerous, incompetent, unpredictable and to blame for their disorder’ often leads to discrimination towards people with a history of mental health issues. For example, employers may not hire them, romantic partners may reject them, landlords may not rent to them, insurers may refuse to cover them, and the health care system may offer a lower standard of care.

People with a history of mental health issues may also hold these beliefs and can discriminate against themselves. For example, they may not apply for certain jobs because they expect rejection or they may withdraw and isolate themselves from others.

A significant proportion of Malaysians believe that mental health problems are a result of spirit possession or social punishment. This belief can result in even higher levels of stigma and discrimination.

Given the potential costs of being in contact with mental health services it is not a surprise that many people avoid mental health services.

Underfunded Mental Health Services & Medication

If people do access mental health services, they are more likely to meet with a medical doctor or psychiatrist than a clinical psychologist. This will usually result in them being given a diagnosis and medication. For some people medication can be helpful. However, many find that medication does not help or causes them side effects that adds to their problems. For this reason, many countries recommend that people with common mental health disorders be offered talking therapies before medication.

It’s rare that Malaysian government mental health services will recommend talking therapies, such as those provided by clinical psychologists. This isn’t the fault of the doctors. They generally only have 10 minutes with each patient, so they focus on diagnosing and prescribing medication. The lack of clinical psychologists in government hospitals means they may also be unable to refer to a clinical psychologist.

The reliance on medication rather than talking therapies is likely a result of underfunding in mental health care. The WHO Mental Health Atlas 2017 reported that upper-middle-income countries were found to spend a median of 2.4% of their health budget on mental health whereas Malaysia only allocated 1.3% of the total health budget for mental health.

Competition from Traditional Interventions

Many Malaysians prefer to access spiritual or traditional healers when they are experiencing psychological distress.

Depending on their cultural backgrounds Malaysians may rely on a Ustad, Bomoh Sinseh, Vaidya or other traditional healers.  

Clinical psychologists should take an open and accepting approach to people having traditional beliefs and methods. However, it is common for traditional healers to actively discourage people from accessing mental health services or speaking with clinical psychologists.

Competition from Self-Help & Motivational Speakers

I’ve noticed that self-help and motivational speakers are surprisingly popular in Malaysia and some people may turn towards them rather than clinical psychologists. I suspect that is because many of them make big promises and offer quick solutions that appeal to people. They also package up their offerings with a level of marketing that few psychologists can match.

The problem is that the methods they use rarely have any evidence of long-term benefit. If they did, then mainstream medicine and psychology would have studied their methods and started to use them.

So how do we explain the case studies they offer of people who believe the motivational speakers really helped? Well one explanation would be that if you make big promises to someone it is likely to lead to a placebo effect where people see a positive effect because they expect a positive effect (you can read more about the placebo effect here).

Using the placebo effect to help people wouldn’t be so bad if it was offered free but self-help and motivational speakers generally demand high prices for their services. Another issue is that motivational speakers often imply that if a technique isn’t making you feel better then it’s the fault of the individual for not trying hard enough. This can be damaging to people who are already feeling bad.

The challenge for clinical psychologists is that it’s difficult to compete against the promises made by motivational speakers (e.g total self-confidence or instant motivation) and remain ethical ourselves.  

Lack of knowledge about how Clinical Psychologists help

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what a clinical psychologist can do to help people in psychological distress.

It’s common for people to confuse clinical psychologists and psychiatrists (we have an article explaining the difference here).

Even amongst medical doctors there is confusion about what clinical psychologists do. Talking therapies, when done properly, are structured evidence-based interventions that teach people new skills or new ways of approaching life. Unfortunately, people often view the intervention as ‘just talking’ and think it’s something that is unskilled and anybody could do.

If you’re not sure what clinical psychologists do, we have an article here. If you’d like to know more about the most well-known talking therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, then you can read our article on it here.

Cultural appropriateness of Clinical Psychology

Most of the interventions used by clinical psychologists come from North America, Europe or Australia.

Clinical Psychologists in Malaysia need to find ways to better meet the needs of the diverse population.

Any intervention needs to be available in multiple languages because people in Malaysia can prefer to speak in Malay, English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil, Hindu etc.

The way the intervention is presented may also need to be adapted to the different cultural and religious groups that are present in Malaysia.

High fees to see Clinical Psychologists

Clinical psychologists commonly charge rates that are too high for most of the population. Although we’ve left this to the end of our list it’s likely to be an important factor that restricts demand for clinical psychologists’ services.   

Increasing Demand for Clinical Psychologists’ Services; Share Resolve’s Approach

We’re fortunate enough to have developed a strong demand for our services at Share Resolve. However, our clients tend to have higher levels of income and are generally more open to the idea of psychology interventions. So, we haven’t necessarily had to get round many of the above issues to reach clients. Our mission is to reach more people in Malaysia so from August 2022 we’ll be launching new services.

Stigma and discrimination

One approach to reduce stigma and discrimination is to advocate for mental health and try to change people’s opinions about diagnosis or accessing mental health services.

This is a commendable approach but as a small organisation I doubt we have sufficient influence to make a change to opinions in Malaysia.

Instead, we’ve chosen to avoid using terms and labels that could lead to stigma and discrimination.  

This article is one of the few where I’ve used the term ‘mental health’. I feel that the term is so linked with negative meanings in Malaysia that it is better to use other words.

We also avoid using diagnostic terms unless there is a specific need to do so (such as insurance claims). You can read more about diagnosis and why we rarely use it here.

One of the reasons our organisation is named ‘Share Resolve’ is so that our clients can receive calls, invoices and receipts or go into our office without it being immediately apparent that they are in contact with psychological services.

We also make it very clear to our clients that maintaining confidentiality is extremely important to us. So, nobody need know that they have ever been in contact with us. Our offices are in locations which can be discreetly accessed, and we make sure that whatever is said inside the office cannot be heard outside.

Underfunded Mental Health Services & Medication

Some of the clinical psychologists at Share Resolve work at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (University Hospital) on Thursdays. Our intention was to offer psychological interventions to more people via the hospital whilst sharing with the psychiatrists how a psychological approach could be helpful.

The ReFlex Program

In October 2022 we launched our ReFlex Program. Its aim is to offer evidence-based effective psychological intervention at a more affordable rate. The program is intended to get round some of the issues I’ve described.     

The advantage of offering a program is that we don’t need to describe it as ‘therapy’ which can put people off. Instead, we can explain that it’s a program to teach skills that help you live a more fulfilling life. Although we won’t make the same promises as some motivational speakers, we may be able to learn something from their approach to marketing their ideas.

Although I (Dr. Dan Seal) have written the course and I’ve modified the concepts to reflect my experience of working in Malaysia for the past 10 years, I’ll never know as much about Malaysian culture as a Malaysian. So, I will be asking for feedback from people who attend the program and for local Malaysian clinical psychologists to help modify the program so that it is more appropriate.  In time I hope we’ll be able to translate it into different languages and modify it for each cultural group in Malaysia.

The ReFlex Program & Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)

The program is based on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is a ‘transdiagnostic’ approach. This means that everyone can benefit from it. 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. The more people join the program the more acceptable it will become to the general population.

If you would like to join the program yourself or suggest it to others you can find out more about it on our webpage here.


If you have any questions or comments about Clinical Psychology please let me know in the comments box below.


  1. Thank you for this blog! I am a clinical psychologist from Australia (phd and master of clin psych trained) and am moving to Malaysia end of this month. Im wondering about ways to get my training recognised and if i need to register with particular regulatory body in order to practice. Seems that there is no clear pathway for this? I’m very keen to learn more. Im glad that awareness of the importance of psychology is improving in Malaysia .

    Duska .

    • Hi Duska, it’s interesting to hear that you’re moving to Malaysia. As Malaysia has yet to enforce the Allied Health Professions Act then you don’t have to register. However, I’d recommend applying to become a member of the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology ( Sometimes employers do require that you belong to some kind of professional body in Malaysia (it’s also a good way of finding out what’s happening in Clinical Psychology in Malaysia).

  2. Hello if I may ask what is the current progress on the future of clinical psychology especially in Sabah and Sarawak? From what I have been research there is only one clinical psychologist in each state and I wonder if there will be any more demands in the future for these states?

    • Hi, according to the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology’s Registry ( there is one Clinical Psychologist in Sabah and three in Sarawak (although one of those psychologists may be working in KL or overseas). There are nearly 6 million people in Sabah & Sarawak. If we were to assume that 1 in 4 people have some sort of psychological difficulty (which is the number used by many mental health charities and even the WHO). Then there are lots of people in need. However, that’s different to there being a lot of demand for clinical psychology. Many people in psychological distress are unaware of the benefits of psychology or they feel too stigmatised to seek help. My hope is that we’ll see more clinical psychologists in East Malaysia and they will begin to demonstrate the advantages of seeing a psychologist.

  3. Hi! Thank you for the article, it was very helpful! If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get the “140 Clinical Psychologists in Malaysia” from? I tried searching up exact numbers, but couldn’t find any articles or statistics on it.
    Thanks again!

    • I’ve heard that statistic said verbally when I go to meetings and presentations by the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychologists (MSCP). I think it’s based on the number of members they have and an estimate of the number that haven’t joined the society.

  4. Hi, I am Janelle a Malaysian currently working in Jakarta. I’ve graduated with Bachelor of Science majoring in Food Science and been working for 6 years. I have the plan to pursue my study in Master in Clinical Psychology. Do you think it will be possible to do it without a degree in Psychology? Which university will be the best for me to attend this course in Malaysia? Or else overseas?

    • As far as I know it’s necessary to have a psychology degree before you can study clinical psychology. I think most clinical psychology courses require a psychology degree because the undergraduate degree gives you some background theory that is useful when you learn the practical skills.

  5. Hi, i am a malaysian student who is very interested to pursue my study degree in psychology at ukm. However i am very scared because of the pressure from people around me. They keep telling me that i won’t be able find job or work in this area because of the demand. May i know, if i continue my studies by taking master in clinical psychology at ukm, can i be employed by any hospitals or clinics? I am 19 years old this year and going to further my studies this coming september in degree.

    • That’s a difficult question to answer. Psychology is growing and expanding in Malaysia but it’s still difficult to find a job as a Clinical Psychologist. There are only a few jobs in government hospitals. Most Clinical Psychologists have to be quite entrepreneurial in order to make a living. Psychology degrees in Malaysia are becoming more accepted by big local and international companies (particularly in HR). So you might still have some options even if you got the psychology degree but you didn’t go on to become a clinical psychologist. If you don’t take a psychology degree you can’t go on to be a clinical psychologist, however, you could look into a post graduate counselling qualification if you still liked the idea of helping people through talking therapies.

  6. Greetings! I just graduated with a degree in Psychology and I am currently working as a ABA therapist. I wish to pursue my Master’s degree next year but I am still quite unclear of what my future holds. Initially I set a goal for myself to work as a clinical psychologist like you, but on the other hand I wish to help those with eating disorder in Malaysia. Is there a way I can do both and what qualifications/courses should I pursue in other to be qualified to help eating disorder patients? Thank you very much!

    • Clinical Psychologists often work with people that have eating disorders (I have done so myself – and once worked on a specialist eating disorders inpatient unit in the UK). In those units specialist nurses, psychiatrists, counsellors and occupational therapists are important too. Malaysia doesn’t have a specialist unit or hospital for eating disorders that I’m aware of. So you’d probably be best working as a clinical psychologist and trying to get extra training and experience in eating disorders so that you can help that client group.

  7. Hi Dr, I graduated with a degree in Counseling Psychology, is it possible for me to continue my masters study in Clinical Psychology field?

    • Most Clinical Psychology courses require that applicants have a Psychology degree so I don’t think it is possible. You could contact the course admissions department to ask if they would consider your counselling degree. Counselling is a good profession in Malaysia so you could continue down that root if clinical psychology is not an option.

  8. Hi Dr Dan,

    I am an Australian who has just completed my psychology undergrad fully online through an Australian university. I am residing in Malaysia and plan to be here for some time. I have the necessary visas that allow me to work. Do you know if they allow foreigners to complete clinical psychology masters here in Malaysia? Or what I can do with…It feels such a waste to not take it further!


    • I think it would be difficult to do a Masters in Clinical Psychology as a foreigner in Malaysia as the placements may require you to be able to speak at least one of the local languages. It also might not be that helpful for you to have a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Malaysia if you went back to Australia as I don’t know if the qualification would be recognised. I’d recommend this course: which is at Monash’s Malaysian Campus at Sunway, KL. I know some students from the course who only speak English and it gives you a counselling qualification that would be recognised in Australia.

  9. Hello, Dr. I graduated with a Degree in Psychology a year back but I havent done any job related to Psychology as of yet. I really would to like to start my Masters but Im confused. I used to want to do Masters in Clinical Psychology but now, Im also thinking of Masters in Counselling. Could you give me any advice, please? I want to be in the mental health care profession but Im not sure which is more suitable for me. My grades are good, Im an introvert by nature, Im a good listener but I have no work experience in psychology. What do you think, Dr?

    • Good question. Both careers are good options. The one disadvantage of Clinical Psychology in Malaysia is that there are not many jobs available. Most Clinical Psychologists work for themselves or in partnerships. So it’s often necessary to be more entrepreneurial. There seem to be more jobs in counselling but I don’t know how well paid they are. The Masters in Professional Counselling at Monash seems good (but expensive) and teaches many of the skills that clinical psychologists learn. However, counsellors don’t do cognitive assessments (e.g to assess brain damage or learning disabilities). Which option to choose is really up to each individual and their preferences so I can’t really say whether one is a better option than other. Perhaps you could look into the jobs available for counsellors or find a counsellor who is willing to share their experiences so you can get a better idea for yourself.

      • Thank you for your reply, Sir. I did check out the Masters programme at Monash but as you mentioned, it is very much expensive. Im still am confused but I am just going ahead with applications for both programmes.

        • I’m sure there are other less expensive counselling programmes – I just don’t know much about them. Perhaps you could look into other counselling courses and check that they are accredited by Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia.

  10. Hi Dr, you said that counsellors in Malaysia have more work options, but essential aren’t clinical psychologist able to do what counsellors do and more? So can a clinical psychologist get the job vacancies of counsellors?

    • Yes, you’re correct clinical psychologists should be able to do the work of counsellors and in some cases they will compete for the same jobs. However, I think employers, such as schools, tend to recruit counsellors rather than clinical psychologists. In many countries clinical psychologists expect higher pay than counsellors and that might explain why some jobs are only open to counsellors. However, I don’t know what counsellors are paid in Malaysia so I’m not sure if that’s a factor here.

  11. Hi Dr. Seal! I am from east Malaysia; Sabah, currently a clinical psychology major doing my undergraduate in the US. It has come to my attention that the access for mental health care system on the east part of Malaysia is very limited, if there is one it would be a private sector and the cost of it is usually very high. I hope to somehow bring accessibility and quality mental health care system when I’m back. Why do you think there are more access and better health care system in the capital city like KL but not much on the other side of the region?

    • Hi Amanda, good question – I think it’s common for services to be concentrated in bigger cities. In Malaysia I suspect it’s both a supply and demand problem. Many Malaysians aren’t really aware of how a psychologist could be of help to them. This is particularly true outside of the bog cities. They may prefer to seek out traditional help instead. That means there is a lot less demand for psychologists than we’d expect given that there’s certainly lots of people in psychological distress. On the supply side I think psychologists tend to stick to the bigger cities where they think they’ll find more clients. Psychologists might also tend to stay in the cities where they trained as they build up contacts. It’s a braver move to start up a psychological service in a place where nothing has come before. However, I think it would probably be a good idea – people in Malaysia are becoming increasingly open to psychologists.

  12. Hi Dr. Dan Seal, I would like to know whether an undergraduate psychology student can apply for internship in the area of clinical psychology? My interests are in mental health, children, counselling, clinical psychology, etc. May I ask for your suggestion that where would be a good place to intern? And I want to pursue Master in Clinical Psychology in the future.

    • Hi Christina, good question! I don’t actually know of many good places where it is possible to intern. I am planning to do a survey of recent Clinical Psychology graduates/trainees to find out where they went for internships. That might take a while to organise though. In the meantime I know Rekindle have an internship programme (

  13. Thank you Dr.Dan, your suggestion is very helpful as I never come across Rekindle. I’ve done some research on it but it’s quite difficult to get the answer so I ended up asking here haha. Not sure this could help you in your survey but i think MMHA has internship for undergraduate student but without stipend. Appreciate that your reply was fast!

  14. Hi Dr! I am currently doing my undergraduate psychology degree in Malaysia, and is considering to pursue Masters in Clinical Psychology overseas (either US, UK or Australia). However, I have been hearing news that Masters degree in Clinical Psych from UK is not recognized in Malaysia, may I know if its true?

    • Hi Charmaine, Yes that is true. A Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the UK is not recognised in Malaysia (or anywhere else, including the UK) because you must do a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology to qualify as a Clinical Psychologist in the UK. The Masters courses in the UK are just academic – they don’t teach you how to do therapy or practical clinical work. I wrote a bit more of an explanation here: . You can do a Masters in Clinical Psychology in Australia but not in the US. You need to find out if the course will accredit you to practice as a Clinical Psychologist in the country where you train. If it doesn’t then you should look for a different course.

      • Hi Dr. Dan. May I know why do you say that we cannot do a Masters in Clinical Psychology in US with a Malaysian undergraduate psychology degree?

        • Hi Yong Jian, it’s not about the Malaysian undergraduate degree. It’s that most states in the US require a doctorate qualification before you can work as a clinical psychologist. I’ve pasted the information from the American Psychological Association below

          In the United States, regulations about the practice of psychology are determined by each state. There is no federal regulation. You must be licensed to practice psychology according to the laws and regulations in effect in each state where you provide services. These laws are regulated by state boards of psychology. Requirements for licensure are not standardized across states, but generally, candidates are assessed on their education, supervised training and examination performance.

          The doctoral degree is generally considered the entry-level degree for the independent, licensed practice of psychology as a profession in the United States. In addition to the doctoral degree, licensure for professional practice usually requires two years of supervised training: one year during the doctoral program (an internship in most cases) and an additional year after receipt of the doctoral degree (postdoctoral residency).

          You can find out information about U.S. state and Canadian province requirements by contacting the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

  15. Hi Dr. Dan,

    You mentioned in the comments earlier that the job prospects are few for clinical psychology graduates are few and that one needs to be more entrepreneurial. Could you further elaborate on that? A sensitive question but also one that I’m sure most students are curious about, what is the starting salary range of a clinical psychologist in Malaysia?

    • Hi Brenda, I meant there aren’t that many full time paid roles available for clinical psychologists. My understanding is that the government and NGO’s pay clinical psychologists around RM4,000 per month even when the psychologist has several years experience. Many psychologists get paid by the number of sessions they have with clients and they work across a number of different private clinics. I’m not sure what most clinical psychologists in Malaysia earn (as you mention it’s a sensitive question so I don’t usually ask).

  16. Good day Dr. I have just passed my bachelor in psychology with distinction from local university. I am looking forward to do my Masters soon. My interest was to pursue masters in clinical psychology but looking at the low job demand in Malaysia, I wonder if this is not the best choice. I am strongly looking into job prospect. Dr you have any idea about industrial and organizational psychology demand in Malaysia? Is it a good field?

    • Hi Veen, Industrial and Organisational Psychology is quite a small sector across most of the world. You’d have to be very entrepreneurial and very good at convincing senior management that you have good ideas. I think there are probably less jobs in Organisational Psychology than there are in Clinical Psychology. It may be helpful to know that some clinical psychologists move into working as organisational psychologists but it’s not possible for organisational psychologists to start doing the work of clinical psychologists.

      • Thank you Dr. Heard it as well we need to be good to market ourself in order to do really good in Industrial Organizational sector. Dr am currently employed in health sector, I will only be able to pursue master in clinical psychology as part time, do you think it is okay as I hear from many Clinical Psychology is very tough one to go? Part time will it be fine? Kinda worried.Thanks in advance.

        • Hi Veen, I’m not sure if any of the universities are offering part time study. Most clinical psychology courses are full time. However, there are several new clinical psychology courses in Malaysia so it may be that some of them are more flexible.

  17. Thank you Dr . Universiti Sains Malaysia is currently offering part time masters in clinical psychology for 3 years. Need to think wisely which course to take clinical psychology or Industrial Organizational Psychology. Tough decision to make. Thanks once again for the guidance Dr. Take care.

  18. Dear Dr Dan, I’m from Malaysia. How do I become neuropsychologist in Malaysia ? I lack information about it. Please help me . Thank you

    • Hi Deena, there aren’t any Neuro-psychology courses in Malaysia. However, if you become a clinical psychologist you should be trained how to do neuropsychological assessments. You would then be qualified to use the neuropsychology tests but in order to use them well you’d need to spend more time training and practising the assessments. The challenge for neuropsychology in Malaysia is that we don’t have assessment tools developed for Malaysia. That means we have to use tools from the US or UK.

  19. Hi Dr, I am Suga, I did Industrial & Organisational Psychology for my Bachelor degree. Now i am continuing my Master’s in Psychological Medicine ( research mode). I’m thinking to continue my Phd in Clinical Psychology since i wanted to become a clinical psychologist. Is that possible Dr?

    • Hi Suga, it’s difficult to say without knowing more about your first degree and where you are planning to study. Different countries have different rules. If you’re staying in Malaysia then I think you should be fine (you only need to do a Masters to be qualified but I think some newer courses are now offering PhDs). However, you should check with the individual training courses if you’re not sure as they should be able to give you more information.

  20. I am about to complete my PhD in Counseling Psychology from the US and am curious as Malaysian who has lived in the US for almost 10 years, of what the prospects are for a Counseling Psychologist in Malaysia. I see much discussion about Clinical Psychology. It seems as though there may be a difference in definition of what Counseling Psych training is to me than it is to the Malaysian context? Not sure. Either way, I am curious to know what your thoughts are as you are in the field. Thanks!

    • Hi Baanu, you’re correct that there is much less reference to Counselling Psychologists in Malaysia. In the UK Counselling Psychologists who have a doctorate compete for the same jobs as Clinical Psychologists. In Malaysia the counselling profession arose first and created it’s own accrediting body etc. Clinical Psychology took longer to establish a professional body. The counselling body has more influence with the government and they understandably protect the term ‘counselling’. I’m not sure if it’s for this reason that Counselling Psychologists haven’t really emerged in Malaysia. People are either counsellers or clinical psychologists. That can make it a bit more difficult to explain your competencies if you are a counselling psychologist (but if you have qualifications from overseas I think it wouldn’t be a problem).

  21. Hi Dr. I am Annie. I am about to complete my Biomedicine degree. Can i do Masters in Psychology (Clinical Psychology) at USM after that?

  22. Hello! Thanks for the informative blog post!
    It’s so rare to get information about the clinical psychology field in Malaysia and I cannot be more grateful for the blog post you’ve written here!

    I am a psychology undergraduate student and would be graduating next year, I would like to take a Master’s in Clinical Psychology in Malaysia soon after. I notice that there are clinical practicums during Master’s and I’m wondering if you know how is the clinical practicum conducted. Is it during working hours? Am I able to work full time and maintain my 9 am – 6 pm, Mon-Fri full-time job while doing a Master’s in Clinical Psychology full time? This may sound silly but if I must quit my day job, will I get paid during the clinical practicum?

    • Hi Shin, thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately you won’t be able to maintain a full-time job whilst doing a Clinical Psychology masters full time. You’ll be required to attend lectures and tutorials during normal working hours. You’ll also be expected to be available to see clients and do other work on placement during normal working hours and possibly out of normal working hours (depending on the placement and when the clients are available). At the same time you’ll need to write a masters research thesis. I think it’s likely that you’ll be so busy that you won’t have time for a part-time job.

      It’s better to completely focus on the course as there will be so much to learn in order for you to become a capable clinical psychologist. You won’t get paid for your practicum because supervising a trainee clinical psychologist is usually a cost to the placement rather than a financial benefit to them (it takes a lot of hours of the supervisors time when they could be seeing paying clients themselves).

      I understand that two years tuition fees and living costs without pay can be really difficult to afford. It may take some time to save up the funds to be able to pay for it. I think that psychologists and their future clients benefit if you have life and work experience outside of clinical psychology. So if you did have to spend some time working before becoming a clinical psychologist those years won’t be wasted – they are valuable experience that you can use to better relate to your future clients.

  23. Hey Dr. Dan Seal, thanks for your detailed response to my previous comment. It definitely helps a lot!
    By the way, may I know on average how many clients a clinical psychologist sees a week?
    For example, the fresh graduate Clinical psychologists, those with 3+years of experience and those with 10+years of experience.

    • Hi Shin, I don’t think it’s possible to give a definitive answer to that question as it depends on a lot of factors. When you first start out you’ll probably need to spend a lot of your time finding clients or building up demand for your services. If you get to the point that you can see as many clients as you want to then you’re more limited by what’s comfortable for you. It’s important for our clients that we’re fully alert and awake and thinking about how best to help them. So we can’t endlessly work extra hours without compromising our quality of care. We also need to pace ourselves so that we don’t burnout. Where that ‘able to work professionally and sustainably’ level lies depends on each individual clinical psychologist and the other competing demands on their time (for example, having young children can impact on the amount of time you can work).

      Each meeting with a client is usually an hour in length. Then you need to have enough time to write notes so you don’t forgot what a client has told you and time to plan for your next meeting. You’ll also need to spend some time writing letters for clients (e.g to insurers or their work-place or university if they request that you do that). Of course all psychologists should build in time for professional development and reflection to improve their knowledge. You’ll usually be able to see less clients in your first years of qualifying as you need more time to learn and think through what happened with each client. If you run your own business you’ll have to take time out to talk to accountants and do various other business administration tasks. You’ll also need to pay overheads such as rental, insurance etc.

      As I mentioned it is difficult to generalise based on one psychologists experience. But on average, I see about 25 clients per week.

  24. Hi Dr Dan,
    Good day! I’m a licensed counsellor with a Bachelor’s Degree in Counselling, and I want to learn more about, and be qualified in providing treatment for PTSD clients, particularly of CSA cases. From your experience, would that require going into clinical psychology (getting a clin psych masters degree course) or are there other courses/programs that could help achieve said goal in Malaysia? I’m also hoping to delve into academia for professional development in the future, and help to create awareness amongst the public, and perhaps even be in conversations of policies regarding mental health treatments and preventing abuse cases. Thank you in advance for your suggestions!

    • Hi, that’s a very good question and your plans to help raise awareness sound great. Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a particularly complicated area to work in as it usually involves multiple events which may be causing PTSD symptoms. Unfortunately, there are usually other consequences of CSA too, such as shame or self loathing. Most counselling courses focus on Rogerian or Person Centred Therapy approaches. To effectively help people who have experienced CSA you will need to learn an evidence-based approach such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

      Clinical Psychology courses do teach CBT but they usually require you to have a psychology degree to be eligible for the course. However, rather than become a clinical psychologist you could just learn a therapy approach to a higher level. I learnt CBT first but I have switched to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) because I think it’s likely to fit better with the culture in Malaysia. There’s some really good online ACT training courses available at Psychwire run by Russ Harris who I find explains concepts really well. Here’s the link There are sometimes sales for the courses which make it 40% cheaper. Alternatively, you could read his book ACT made Simple. ACT would help all your clients so even if you don’t work with many people with experience of CSA it will be helpful. There’s a course that’s specific to trauma that you can take after the beginners ACT course. Working with CSA can be difficult so I would recommend finding a good supervisor if you do that type of work.

    • Hi Haridas, all the clinical psychology courses that I know of are full time. There may be some clinical psychology courses that are part time that I don’t know about. But I’m not sure how they would work. I think it helps to be fully focussed on learning how to be a clinical psychologist because you need to be studying the techniques and approaches, trying that out in supervised practice and doing a research project. That’s already a lot to be doing all at once!

  25. Hey Dr. Dan, really helpful article, thank you! I’m looking to make a mid-life pivot to become a Clinical Psychologist, passion and (maybe) talent are the reasons.

    I understand that a Master Degree in psychology is prerequisite. I’d like to know whether academically, a Master of Arts in Psychology qualifies me for practice, or do I specifically need to aim for Master in Clinical Psychology.

    Thank you!

    • Hi SQ, thanks I’m glad you liked the article! In the Malaysia you’ll need to do a Masters of Clinical Psychology in order to become a clinical psychologist. HELP university has the most established course. However, most courses require that you have a psychology degree before you are able to study clinical psychology.
      In the UK there are conversion masters you can study for a year which then allow you to study clinical psychology. I’m not sure whether those exist in Malaysia. The other option is to become a counsellor. Monash University has a Masters in Professional Counselling that gives you an accreditation as a counsellor in both Malaysia and Australia.

  26. What a remarkable article! The way you’ve tackled the topic with such precision and depth is commendable. Readers are sure to gain a great deal from the wealth of knowledge and practical insights you’ve shared. Your profound understanding of the subject shines through every part of the piece. I’m eager to see more of your exceptional work. Thank you for offering your expertise and providing us with such enlightening and comprehensive content.

Any questions or comments? Please write them here ...