Kozhikode: Which is the area where quacks and fraudsters rule the roost? Most probably psychology.
The public doesn’t differentiate between a clinical psychologist, counselling psychologist and psychiatrist. Adding to the confusion is the arrival of speech therapists, special educationists, rehabilitation psychologists, industrial psychologists, etc.
Several new dubious branches such as neuro-linguistic programming, Islamic psychology, life regression therapy and Reiki healing are mushrooming everywhere offering short-term courses to become a certified counsellor.
The lack of a regulatory authority turns to be the biggest cover for quacks to thrive.
“A regulatory board in the form of Medical Council of India (MCI) is mandatory. The quacks over-weigh the genuine in psychology, and we have no strength to oppose them,” says Dr K. Manikandan, head of the psychology department at the University of Calicut.
Currently, Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) covers clinical psychology and a few specialisations only. Counselling psychology is out of the regulatory body.
“As of now, social work graduates (MSW) are counselling psychologists in Kerala which is unfortunate. Only a graduate with PG in psychology are entitled to become one,” said Muhammad Sabih A.S., president, Malabar chapter of Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists, which wants a regulatory authority bringing all branches under it.
A clinical psychologist said 34 of 36 counsellors at schools of Malappuram district are MSW graduates only.
Quacks succeed in impressing people through rhetoric and partial hypnotising methods they learned from certificate classes.
“There are umpteen patients they cheat financially and sexually,” alleged Mr Sabih. "When the media expose them, they would temporarily retreat and reappear with the same tricks."
Kozhikode-based clinical psychologist Fr Wilson Mathew says politics tweak the rules and commercial interests creep in.
“There's even an instance of counselling given to schizophrenia patient.”...