Sociopolitical, Cultural, and Historical Contexts That Influence Counseling Practice in Four Countries

Stefanía Ægisdóttir, Mark M. Leach, John L. Romano, Saundra Tomlinson-Clarke, Deniz Canel-Çınarbaş

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this article, we provide examples of how historical and sociopolitical events have shaped the development of psychology and psychological services in Iceland, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. These examples are offered to (a) enhance international competencies related to the countries’ cultures, ecological system, and subsystems, and (b) inspire counseling psychologists to collaborate with colleagues around the world on efforts to indigenize psychology paradigms and promote accessible service delivery systems. Common themes across these countries indicated that (a) provision of psychological services is highly influenced by the biomedical model of mental health, (b) access to mental health care is influenced by cost and stigma, and (c) a limited connection exists between traditional healing practices and Western-based diagnostic and mental health services. In all countries there was a struggle for greater recognition of psychological services; in Iceland, Thailand, and Turkey, counseling psychology is not recognized as a legally sanctioned profession. Suggestions are offered for internationally competent counseling psychologists who intend to promote the provision of culturally responsive psychological services worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-607
Number of pages30
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology


  • Indigenization
  • counseling practice
  • international competence
  • internationalization
  • psychological services


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