Clinical psychologists eyed for national certification
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party are mulling creation of a national certification system for clinical psychologists, reflecting a growing need for psychological therapy amid an increase in suicides and people suffering from depression, sources familiar with the matter said Sunday.
The two parties plan to jointly submit a bill to introduce the system to the ordinary Diet session next year with the aim of increasing the number of counselors by providing them more stable status, the sources said.
There had been discussions on drafting legislation for such a system in 2005, but it was not realized due to opposition from private practice psychiatrists, who may compete with certified clinical psychologists.
The DPJ and the LDP will have to seek acceptance of relevant organizations, including the Japan Medical Association, before submitting the bill to introduce the new system, according to the sources.
The two parties are now proceeding with unofficial consultations on the matter, while calling on other parties, including the New Komeito party, to cooperate, they said.
As of April 1, there were about 22,000 psychologists qualified by the Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists.
The qualified psychologists include those who handle psychological consultations at hospitals, serve as school counselors and work for mitigating the stress of businesspersons. People affected by the March 11 earthquake--tsunami disaster have been provided care by many of these psychologists.
(Mainichi Japan) December 26, 2011