Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time for some South American psychology

In a previous post, I stated:

In the future, look for me to write a post on South American psychological centers.

Why? Because Yahoo Buzz told me to do so. Or something like that. Or perhaps it was something else.

This apparently is not that popular of a topic, since the one paper that I found on school psychologists in South America was written back in 1987. The abstract is here.

The literature discussing professional practices of school psychology in South America is very meager. This study attempted to identify demographic characteristics of school psychologists in four South American countries, their typical responsibilities, significant problems, and threats that jeopardize the delivery of psychological services within the schools. Questionnaires were completed by informed psychologists in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela. The results revealed that school psychologists were overwhelmingly female. Most were found to have undergraduate degrees; only in Venezuela did the proportion of school psychologists with graduate degrees exceed that of psychologists with undergraduate degrees. Important differences existed in the number of professional programs available in the countries. High percentages of school psychologists were members of national associations. Respondents from all four countries rated as very important knowledge and skill areas that focused on the academic areas of psychology emphasizing individual differences, intelligence, motivation, professional service, work with the visually and physically impaired, learning disabilities, and parent education. A significant area of stress in all countries was low salaries, and threats to service included lack of research and evaluation, conflicts with competing professional groups, and lack of proper funding. (Differences among the countries are discussed; references and data tables are included.) (NB)

I'm not sure if Wechsler and Oakland concluded that the topic required further study, and if so, whether they were able to get the funding. I hope they were. But it turns out that South American psychological services can often be provided by...non South Americans. For example:

The [Minnesota State University Mankato] Industrial/Organizational Psychology students and faculty will be traveling in mid- to late-May to Ecuador to take part in a service-learning opportunity with the Yachana Technical High School in the Amazon region of Ecuador.

And what psychological assistance will they be providing?

As a part of our service-learning, we are hoping to better the communication between staff members of the Yachana School by providing them with two-way radios.

Better to talk about their feelings, I guess...
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