Zoabi: Acute shortage of psychologists in Arab sector

Israeli-Arab MK says she has a solution to the Arab psychologist shortage.

By
December 31, 2015 19:40
2 minute read.
MK Hanin Zoabi

MK Hanin Zoabi. (photo credit: KNESSET CHANNEL)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Arabs in Israel are suffering a severe shortage of clinical psychologists, and Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) believes she has found a solution.

“It is important for Arabs to have access to Arab psychologists because of language and cultural differences that can impede proper treatment,” Zoabi told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


For example, if an Arab child rape victim does not speak Hebrew, the psychologist will not be able to optimally treat the patient, she explained. There can be a six-month wait to see an Arab psychologist.

Only 2.5 percent of psychologists are Arabs, and 90 percent of Arabs who need mental health treatment don’t get it, Zoabi said earlier this month at a discussion in the Knesset’s Social Welfare and Health Committee.

Students who finish an MA degree in clinical psychology in Israel must then enter a four-year training period – two years in a health clinic and two in a psychiatric hospital. There is an extensive waiting list to get into the training period and many Arab students wait a long period before getting accepted.

Some psychology students end up following a different career path when the wait becomes too lengthy.

Zoabi’s office contacted health clinics regarding the shortage, and Israel’s largest health care clinic, Clalit Health Services, responded in a letter this week saying that out of 140 training spots, 16 are for Arabs.



Zoabi suggested a plan of action.

First, Zoabi said, not enough Arabs study psychology and more need to be persuaded to do so.

Second, an affirmative action program needs to be implemented so that more Arabs enter the four-year training program. In light of the dire need, a program coordinated by the Health Ministry, health clinics and universities could facilitate a boost in numbers of Arab psychologists.

Third, a special educational program should be created so that students who studied educational psychology can switch over to clinical psychology, Zoabi said.

 At the Knesset Social Welfare and Health Committee meeting this month, MK Dov Henin said the mental health clinics in Umm el-Fahm and Shfaram were collapsing. MK Jamal Zahalka said tough admissions requirements deterred many Arab students from seeking a master’s degree in psychology.

Health Ministry chief psychologist Yemima Goldberg pointed out that new psychology programs for Arab students and graduates have been opened but “the number of registrants is small.”

“There is budget for it, and whoever wants to specialize can get a personal scholarship,” Goldberg said.

Judy Siegel contributed to this report.

Related Content

The International Criminal Court in The Hague
August 18, 2018
What does IDF closing Black Friday war crimes probe mean for ICC?

By YONAH JEREMY BOB