Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Development and Trends in Counselling Services in Bangladesh: Need for Professionalism

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Development and Trends in Counselling Services in Bangladesh: Need for Professionalism

Article excerpt

Globalization and electronic advancement has its payoff in increased poor mental health causing sufferings not only to the individual but also to societies to a large extent around the globe. In Bangladesh, the scenario is more vulnerable because forces to foster mental health are very inadequate. Being a country of 15 million people it is being estimated that about 16% people are suffering from some sort of mental health problem that needs immediate psychological intervention (NIMH and WHO, 2010). Due to poverty, illiteracy, discrimination and other social malice, the problem becomes graver to resolve. In addition, till today, good mental health is perceived as only absence of mental illness.

According to WHO, mental health refers to a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his/her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his/her community. From this point of view, mental health of the person is largely determined by the factors that have no relation with severe psychotic illness. Instead, it depends on understanding and realizing one's own emotional strength and acting accordingly to balance the personal and the societal demands.

The positive psychology stresses on proactive intervention at individual and community level to ensure psychological well-being. Mental health services are geared more toward empowerment rather than remedy. Readdressing the previous preoccupation with only medical model of human functioning and healing, building upon own strength has come into the forefront of treatment and prevention of mental problems (Seligman, 2000). Here comes the trade of counselling and psychotherapy and often used interchangeably depending upon the area of change it is aiming for.

Counselling is a helping profession propagated by humanistic-existential approach in which a person's own positive capabilities are unearth in order to deal his or her difficulties in life at the present through building a genuine professional relationship. It works in relationship, with relationship, for relationship, to improve relationship. The healing involves an authentic and secure therapeutic relationship promoting expression and discharge of feelings and emotion. Achieving the freedom of choices to take decision for best quality in life through fostering acceptance is the goal. All existing data confirms the need of counselling for diverse population in both public and private settings (Warchal and Stephen, 1986; Livingston, 1993; James and Richard, 1998).

Increasing understanding of status and role of counselor is deemed essential to achieve professionalism of counselling service in Bangladesh. Present endeavor is a review to appraise the scenario considering the following facets :

* Underpin the inevitability of counselling service for mental health in the country

* Trace the developmental trend of counselling service delivery in the country

* Look at the status of personnel currently involved in providing such service delivery

* Identify the prerequisite of professional counselors to prevent unprofessional conduct

* Mark out the constrain impeding the growth of professionalism in this arena.


Due to phenomenological nature of the survey, the study focused on primarily qualitative data. A systematic study of people's experiences and way of viewing the world included news paper review, semi-structured questionnaire, group meetings, key-informant interview and case study.

Two leading news papers, 30 mental health personnel both at professional and field level, 6 authority persons (administrators, policy makers) from both at government and NGO sector, and 20 general public were included. A detail organizational case study was done. Purposive and incidental sampling procedure were used to collect data. Informed consent for participation was criteria of inclusion that ensured the ethical issues. …

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