Health Minister Alex Segbefia, at the weekend inaugurated the governing board of Ghana Psychological Council (GPC), and asked members to safeguard public interest and ensure higher standards in training and practice of psychology.
He said the profession is plagued with charlatans who prance about proving substandard psychological services and extort exorbitant monies from unwitting clients thereby bringing the profession into disrepute.
Mr Segbefia said without proper recognition by the law of Ghana practitioners, both nationals and foreigners are working in public and private institutions such as schools, hospitals industries and communities.
He said this resulted in the passing of the law of the “Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013, the Part Five of Act 857”.
This was passed to “regulate the profession and practice of applied psychology to ensure that only qualified people offer psychological services to the public and that all psychologists, therapists, lay practitioners and paraprofessionals in Ghana are registered with newly established council”, he said.
At the inauguration, the health minister said there are 14 different fields of practitioners in the country who amongst others train psychologists.
“Although the training institutions admittedly contributes to human capital development in the field of psychology in the country, the course content and curricula of institutions are not standardised, making it difficult to assess the standards quality,” he said.
He said: “Ghana is fast industrialising but the pace of industrialisation comes with its own challenges” noting that stress at the work place is growing in proportion to the complexity of modern industrial life leading to growth in psycho-social problems.
“I am told that there are not enough psychologists in the country to match the growing needs and the situation is further compounded by a population with increasing life expectancy and its associated problems,” he informed.
He said it was his hope that all practitioners would work together to facilitate the integration of physical and mental health services for a better outcome since both patients and clients are asserting their right to quality health care.
Mr Segbefia advised the board members to be conscious not to involve themselves in the day-to-day administration of the council since that is the sole reserve of the registrar.
He insisted that this directive should be respected to ensure that peace prevails in the affairs of the council and its board
He advised the council to exercise its mandate in a responsible manner to enable Ghanaians to enjoy the benefits of modern life without succumbing to the associated stress that come with it.
Professor Samuel Anemana Danquah, Chairman of the GPC explained that psychologists work to develop a valid and reliable body of scientific knowledge based on research and apply the knowledge in human behavior in the variety of contest.
Prof Danquah said psychologists strive to help the public in developing informed judgment concerning human behavior.
He said it is unfortunate that there is no regulatory body in Ghana as it in foreign countries despite the fact that the level of the psychology profession is on the increase in the country.
“It has been observed with dismay that a lot of psychologists are swooping in from outside the country without the institution regulating their activities or verifying the authenticity of their qualification,” he said.
He said another challenge is that people without requisite qualifications parade themselves as psychologists although a good number of psychologists have been trained.
Prof Danquah said the enactment of the psychological Act by Parliament in 2013 and the inauguration of the GPC today has empowered the implementation of the dynamic set of ethic, standard and code of professional conduct. GNA