Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Developing the Profession of School Psychology in Vietnam

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Developing the Profession of School Psychology in Vietnam

Article excerpt


Building upon a successful prior initial trip to Vietnam (Terjesen Sc Kassay, 2007) inJanuary 2008, students and faculty from St. John's University (STJ) School Psychology program returned to work with the faculty from Hanoi National University of Education (HNUE) in developing the profession of school psychology in that country. The purpose of this trip was twofold: first, to collaborate with the faculty at HNUE to develop the first formalized training of school psychologists who will provide services within school-based settings in Vietnam; and second, to continue the collaborative research efforts that began during the earlier trip to establish the discipline of school psychology in Vietnam.

The collaborative efforts were primarily with the Applied Psychology Section (APS) of the HNUE and Dr. Mark Terjesen, Dr. Kate Walton, and doctoral research fellows Maria Böiger and Kimberly Kassay. Meeting in Hanoi for about 8 hours per day, the group assessed the needs for school psychological services in Vietnam, identified barriers to school psychology services and possible ways to overcome the barriers, and developed ideas for collaborative research between HNUE and STJ faculty and students. The STJ group also described one model of school psychology training and service delivery, its Clinic for Psychological Services that meets the training needs of STJ graduate students while also serving the local community with empirically supported treatments. The STJ group also assessed HNUE's goals for a training clinic and its potential benefit to both students and community members.

With the knowledge that the APS faculty had virtually no experience or training in school psychology, the STJ group provided some basic training in school psychological services for the HNUE faculty, also developing curricula and training guidelines for a master's program in school psychology and a bachelor's program with a concentration in graduate school psychology courses.

As an introduction to the planning process, the STJ group described the profession of school psychology and the typical responsibilities of school psychologists in the United States. This was followed by adiscussionduringwhich the APS faculty described their current psychology training model and their vision of both the field of school psychology and their training program. The APS faculty described in detail a number of issues that would warrant the need for school psychology services in Vietnam. Among them were the great number of children living in and being educated in poverty, an increasing prevalence of violence and aggression in the schools, the high risk for substance abuse, and finally, the supposition that many students may have mental health needs such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc. that are not currently being adequately addressed in the schools. Together, the groups ranked school psychology services in order of need. Because of the lack of psychoeducational assessment tools, an initial goal that was identified was to develop measures that would be translated into Vietnamese and normed on a Vietnamese population. In addition to assessment, other services identified as needed included counseling, behavior management programming, and vocational and career planning.


Using the United States school psychology practices as the model, as well as the APS training goals, the group began work on developing a mission statement for the profession. Utilizing International School Psychology Association (ISPA, n.d.) and National Association of School Psychology (NASP, 2000) standards for training as well as a published guide for practice and training of school psychologists (Ysseldyke et al., 2006), it was proposed that the mission statement for HNUE focus on preparing Vietnamese students forthe profession of school psychology as guidedby international training standards. …

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