The mental health scene in Kuwait can be very misleading to those of us accustomed to the ‘Psychologist‘ title being reserved for the use of doctoral graduates from accredited universities who have completed three year supervised internships, have taken and passed one national and two state exams, and have become duly ‘Licensed’ as a ‘Psychologist’. The reality is that there are only four ‘Licensed Psychologists’ in the whole of Kuwait, but scores of unlicensed non-psychologists are also using the title of ‘Psychologist’. The mental health scene in Kuwait differs radically from that in the United States where all fifty states have Psychologist licensing laws and ethics codes in place designed to regulate the use of the ‘Psychologist’ title–hence only those doctoral graduates from accredited institutions of higher learning who have fulfilled the licensing requirements of their respective states are allowed to refer to themselves as a ‘Psychologist’. In stark contrast, Kuwait has absolutely no regulations regarding the use of the ‘psychologist’ title and no psychology licensing laws in place. Online degrees are illegal here but it is left up to the employer to monitor and enforce this stipulation by making sure that their employees have legitimate psychology graduate degrees. But since it may be more ‘cost effective’ for some employers to look the other way or even to encourage such unethical practices, the net result is that there currently are scores of individuals calling themselves ‘psychologist’ and even ‘licensed psychologist’ in Kuwait–many of whom would never have dreamed of even attempting to do such things back home where they will certainly face very stiff legal sanctions for impersonating a ‘psychologist’. So, to protect themselves, before starting treatment prospective clients should ask for ‘psychologist license’ numbers and get the name of the state or Canadian province where the ‘psychologist’ is licensed or registered and then go online to check their credentials. Clients will then be able to separate the wheat from the chaff and make the right treatment decision based upon bonified professional qualifications and experience.
Vincenza Tiberia December 16, 2011