x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dubai counsellors need CDA approval

Some psychologists who used to be licensed by the Dubai Health Authority will now need a licence from the Community Development Authority.

DUBAI // Some psychologists who used to be licensed by the Dubai Health Authority will now need a licence from the Community Development Authority (CDA).

Under an Executive Council resolution issued last year, the emirate's counsellors and therapists - including some psychologists -must be licensed by the CDA.

Clinical psychologists will still be licensed by the Health Authority, said Dr Omar Al Muthanna, chief executive of the CDA's social regulatory and licensing sector.

But other types of psychologists, such as psychotherapists or behavioural psychologists, should seek a licence from the CDA under the category of "therapist".

"Psychology is a huge science, there are many different areas," Dr Al Muthanna said.

No one should need a licence from both authorities, he added.

One reason why few people have applied for a licence may be confusion. One counsellor in Dubai said she had not heard about the CDA licence.

"Our clinic is licensed by the DHA," said Carey Kirk, a counsellor at The LightHouse Arabia.

"I got my licence as well through DHA. I actually have a master's degree in counselling. Under DHA, I can be licensed as a counselling psychologist if I am supervised by a psychologist."

After hearing about the requirement, Ms Kirk said she would seek more information.

"Quality control is really important, especially in the field of psychology where not a lot is known about it and where a lot of people for a long time have been calling themselves all sorts of different professional titles," she said.

"That's one of the reasons why sometimes psychology and going to see a psychologist gets a bad rep."

When Ms Kirk tries to renew her DHA licence, she will probably be redirected to the CDA, Dr Al Muthanna said.

Social services overlap with health care, but the CDA worked with other government agencies to set boundaries, he said.

vnereim@thenational.ae