This article is adapted from "Panama National Tour" prepared by A/ G/ Cienfuegos de Achurra & Y. de Varela, 2005,which appeared in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
The Asociación Panameña de Psicólogos was founded in 1965 when Panama's two major universities opened their psychology schools. The first area to be developed was educational psychology. Very soon it was followed by clinical psychology, and in later years we have seen an increased development in industrial psychology. After a period of being almost inactive, the Asociación Panameña de Psicólogos is renewing its activities and starting a campaign to recruit new members. One major change is being studied, to transform the association into a Colegio de Psicologos. The legal documents are currently under study.
The main source of research in Panama is within the universities, as all students must present a graduation project. The main focus of psychology in Panama is on application.
The basic degree is called Licenciatura en Psicologia. This is a five-year full training in psychology, with an additional year in research in order to earn the degree. No one can practice in Panama without this basic training. Also the University of Panama offers a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology (which just started last year). This is a two-year program, which also requires research in order to earn the degree. The Universidad Santa Maria La Antigua offers a Master's degree in Family Therapy, which is also a two year program, heavy in clinical practice and supervision, and also requiring a research project. This year, two new universities are starting to offer Master's degree programs in conjunction with American and Spanish universities.
The International Institute of Object Relations Therapy (founded in 1995), a satellite unit of the IIORT in Washington, D.C., offers continuing education seminars and APA credits. This institute trains and supervises clinical psychologists. The Instituto de Psicologia Clinica y Psicoterapia founded in 1976, also offers seminars and courses in the area of clinical psychology. Both institutes are psychoanalytic oriented.
Law 56 of 1975 regulates psychologists in Panama. It applies to all psychologists and includes a requirement that only Panamanians can practice the profession.
The Asociación Panameña de Psicólogos has a formal code of ethics that applies to all psychologists in the country.