This interview has been organized for the benefit of members of the public and corporates who in some instances have been cheated by people who masquerade as Psychologist when they are not registered to practice Psychology in line with the laws of Zimbabwe. Below is a Question & Answer I had with the Zimbabwe Psychological Association (ZPA) Secretary-General, Mr. Edwin Nharirire. ZPA is a professional board that represents Psychologists in the country.
Q: What is psychological practice in Zimbabwe?
A: It is the application of psychology theory and principles to solving problems in several spheres of human activity including schools, business and commerce, hospitals, rehabilitation etc. to the benefit of society.
Q: Who can practice psychology?
A: Only Registered Psychologists with valid practicing certificates can practice psychology legally as per the Health Professions Act (Chapter 37:09). For someone to be registered they need to have a Bachelors’ Degree in Psychology and a Masters’ Degree in any of the Applied Fields of Psychology. One should also have completed a supervised post-graduate internship under a Registered Psychologist. Psychologists must pass a national psychology board examination. Once licensed to practice, psychologists must keep up their knowledge, which is demonstrated by earning several hours of continuing education credits annually, as required by Allied Health Practitioners’ Council (AHPC) and regulations. The field is a strictly regulated profession because of the dangers unqualified ‘practitioners’ pose to the public and this is the trend everywhere in the world.
Q: Why is the practice of Psychology regulated? Is this the trend in other countries?
A: Any profession dealing with people’s lives should be strictly regulated to protect the public from unscrupulous elements in the community who can cause untold suffering to the public. This is the trend in all the countries. Regulated professionals are required by law to deliver professional services competently and ethically. They are accountable to the public, through their professional regulatory body, for their professional behaviour and activities. Psychologists must meet rigorous professional entry requirements, adhere to prescribed standards, guidelines and ethical principles and participate in quality assurance activities to continually update and improve their knowledge and skill.
Q: Where do people report to if they find out that there are people masquerading as Psychologist or any other name and claim to offer psychological services?
A: One can to go to the Health Professions Authority (HPA) and the AHPC to report. These bodies are mandated to deal with any charlatans masquerading as Psychologist. HPA normally has inspectors monitoring the practice of health professionals and they will readily apprehend such and prosecute them.
Q: Where can I check to see if the person I am dealing with is registered?
A: You can check with AHPC or their website. If anyone claims to be a Registered Psychologist, check their Registration Certificate and their current Practising Certificate issued by AHPC. A genuine one must have all the two certificates at any given period. Be wary of those who may have Registration Certificates but not practicing certificates as they are not allowed to practice without the later. One may have been deregistered for malpractice or for non-compliance.
Q: We have heard people on radio talking about counselling people, career or occupational testing etc. Can you clearly give us an overview of the areas where someone cannot offer advice or practice psychology without being a registered Psychologist?
A: There are various disciplines of Psychology where one can be registered and practice in Zimbabwe like in other countries.
- Occupational/Industrial, Clinical, Educational, Community, Forensic, Neuropsychology, Engineering, Sports, Counselling, Research and Aviation psychology.
Q: How are psychologists benefiting the public?
A: Registered Psychologist can use their specialized training in any of the areas highlighted above to offer interventions that benefit society and more specifically communities, corporates and individuals.
Q: Can one teach psychology without being a registered psychologist?
A: There is a difference between the teaching of psychology and the practice of psychology. One can study psychology without the intention of practicing as one. In this case, the lecturer is not obliged but encouraged to register. However, when it comes to the practice of psychology in one way or the other, it is a regulated practice which requires those who train would-be practitioners to be registered with the relevant councils as per the relevant laws.
Q: Is counselling exclusive to counselling psychologists? Counsellors who are not psychologists how do they differ from Counselling Psychologists?
A: There is a legal development which will see a clarification on the scope of practice of ‘counselors’ and ‘Counselling Psychologists’. The two are different and they focus on different but related areas. They also differ in their methods and scientific rigor.
Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant- Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com