Uruguay - National Overview, provided by Alejandro Vasquez Echeverria (
Psychology in Uruguay first emerged as a part of philosophy and from teacher training institutes. By the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, Carlos Vaz Ferreira created a laboratory for experimental psychology and wrote several important texts.
In the period outlined below, psychology was centered primarily on experimental psychology and psychometrics as applied to education and to Air Force personnel.
1925: Foundation of the Department of Psychology at the Teachers College of Montevideo (Instituto Normal de Montevideo).
1927: Foundation of the Bureau of Psychology of the Air Force.
1929: Morey Otero established the Alfred Binet Association, the goals of which were research on and dissemination of psychopedagogy.
1933: Foundation of the Laboratory of Psychopedagogy at the Instituto Normal de Montevideo. The School of Medicine also hired W. Radecki of Poland to teach courses. By the 1940s, Radecki and other foreign exiled professors and professionals offered courses at the Universidad Central Americana in Montevideo.
1945: Foundation of the Center for Psychological Studies, which provided a 4-year program in psychology and organized the first Psychology Congress of Latin America, hosted in Montevideo in 1950.
Since 1950, interest in, the sophistication of, and public appreciation of psychology have grown dramatically. Psychology was established at the Universidad de la Republica and in hospitals, providing continuity in training until the military regime overtook the government. In addition, some scientific and professional associations were founded, like the Psychological Society of Uruguay in 1953 and the Psychoanalytical Association of Uruguay in 1956.
1950 (ca.): Foundation of the Medical-Psychological Center in the Pedro Visca Hospital and establishment of formal training in Psychology Applied to Childhood, leading to the title of Technician in Child Psychology.
1952: Establishment of training in School Psychology in the Laboratory of Psychopedagogy at the Instituto Normal de Montevideo.
1956: Foundation of the Institute of Psychology in the School of Humanities and Sciences at the Universidad de la Republica. As previously mentioned, The Institute was closed in 1973 by the military regime.
The re-opening in 1975 of the Institute of Psychology at the Universidad de la Republica represented the beginning of the current era of the development of psychology in Uruguay, although courses did not resume until 1978. In 1984, the first private university in the country opened, "Damaso A. Larranaga" Catholic University of Uruguay. In 1987 the Institute of Psychology of the Universidad de la Republica was given the status of School. In 1993 the School of Psychology was created at "Damaso A. Larranaga" Catholic University of Uruguay In 1994 the Institute of Psychology at the Universidad de la Republica became the Facultad de Psicologia (School of Psychology).
Carrasco, J. C. (1998). Aproximacion descriptiva o fases en el desarrollo de la psicologia en el uruguaya. In Psicologia. Universidad e historia de la psicologia en el Uruguay. Montevideo: Multiplicidades.
Perez, C. (1999). La psicologia en uruguay hasta 1950. Montevideo: Multiplicidades
Tuana, E. J. (1998). Panorama de la Psicologia en el Uruguay en el momento de la creacion de la Sociedad de Psicologia del Uruguay. In Psicologia. Universidad e historia de la psicologia en el Uruguay. Montevideo: Multiplicidades.
For 35 years, research in psychology was conducted at the Laboratory of Psychopedagogy of the Instituto Normal de Montevideo. Most of this research was published in the Bulletin of the Laboratory of Psychopedagogy from 1943 to 1961. To a lesser extent, other laboratories, both past and present, published the results of their research in journals.
Nowadays, most research in psychology is carried out by academics at the School of Psychology who apply for funding from the Research Commission of the University of the Republic (CSIC). There are two types of research grants: Initiation to Research, which seeks to promote independent scientific scholarship among young academics, and Research and Development, which support broader and more complex investigative programs. The quality of the projects submitted for funding has improved since 2005 so that the number of investigations underway has increased considerably. Two research centers were created at the University of the Republic in last years (Clinical Psychology Research Center, and Basic Psychology Research Center). Also, an important number of Uruguayan academics in psychology working overseas were hired, improving the research programs and number of faculty staff with doctorate degree.
In addition, funding from the National Agency for Innovation and Research (ANII) had become more required by researchers from all Universities, specially from the UCUDAL . Also, many of them had been listed as national researchers for ANII standards. Some international organizations (e.g., the U.N., NGOs) also finance research designed to increase understanding of issues and problems that bear on the policies and practices of these organizations.
To a lesser extent, research is done at the Uruguayan Society of Psychoanalytic Psychosomatics and at the Department of the Medical Psychology, School of Medicine – Hospital de Clínicas.
Concerning ethical aspects, recently the government approved the Statute N° 379/008, regulating research with humans. It clearly state mandatory ethical practices for researchers, such as type and characteristics of informed consent, the use of research protocols and the role of the Ethics and Research Committees that every Institution carrying out research should have. It also creates the National Commission of Ethics in Research.
Psychologists hold a variety of positions in the workplace, though mainly in the community, social, occupational, health and educational fields, and, by far the most, in the area of clinical psychology and psychotherapy. The psychoanalytic approach dominates, although almost all psychotherapeutic and psychological theories and techniques can be found between professionals and within the scientific community. More recently, community and social psychology have become prominent given then need for psychology to respond to the socioeconomic conditions affecting the population due to the recession that the country endured at the end of the 1990s and beginning of 2000s.
At present there are only two universities that provide training in psychology in Uruguay: the Universidad de la República, a public university in Montevideo and Salto, and "Damaso A. Larranaga" Catholic University of Uruguay, a private university. There are also two institutes with officially recognized university status: the Instituo Universitario San Fransisco de Asis, which offers an undergraduate degree, and the Instituto Universitario de Psicoanalisis, which offers a master's degree in psychoanalysis. There are also many private institutes that provide or specialization in other areas of psychology or specific courses and training in psychotherapy not linked to degree programs.
- The School of Psychology at the Universidad de la Republica
The School of Psychology at the Universidad de la Republica provides undergraduate training along five levels with a syllabus designed to cover the diverse theoretical and technical orientations that exist in contemporary psychology. Areas emphasized are social and community psychology, psychopathology, educational psychology, organizational psychology and introduction to psychotherapeutic and diagnostic techniques.
The curriculum is centered on applied psychology. There are no courses that deal with research methods. This deficiency is offset somewhat by exposure to research within applied courses themselves. The faculty's preferred theoretical orientation is psychoanalysis. Clearly, the curriculum implies the importance of professional practice and community involvement as career pathways.
For some years, the School of Psychology has been offering advanced, non-degree coursework for professionals in such specialties as sport psychology, child psychology, educational psychology, cognitive psychology and forensic psychology. Nowadays, there are very limited in number, due to the development of master programs
The School of Psychology has four master's degree programs: (a) Psychology and Education; (b) Infancy, Public Policies and Human Rights sponsored by UNICEF; (c) Clinical Psychology and (d) Social Psychology.
The School does not offer a doctorate in psychology.
- "Damaso Antonio Larranaga" Catholic University (UCUDAL)
"Damaso Antonio Larranaga" Catholic University (UCUDAL) provides undergraduate training along four levels, one per year. Training is based primarily in the following areas: diagnosis and psychotherapy, social psychology, preventive action in psychology and educational psychology.
The Catholic University has two master's degree programs, both in clinical psychology: one that focuses on Jungian psychology and the other that emphasizes systemic approaches. The University also offers graduate courses for professional specialization and development that do not lead to a master's degree. The master programs are:
- Psicología Analítica Junguiana
- Maestría en Psicología Educacional e Intervención Psicopedagógica
- Psicología Clínica Opción Niños y Adolescentes
- Psicología Clínica Cognitiva
- Maestría en Psicología Clínica con orientación Familiar Sistémica
- Maestría en Psicología Familiar Sistémica
In 2011, the UCUDAL launched a doctoral program, focused on these issues: personality, assessment and treatment in psychology, basic psychology and family psychology.
- Institute San Fransisco de Asis
Institute San Fransisco de Asis provides an undergraduate degree. Here, too, the curriculum is centered on applied psychology, although it includes courses on research methods.
- The University Institute of Psychoanalysis
The University Institute of Psychoanalysis, of the Asociacion Uruguaya de Psicoanalisis, offers a master's degree centered both in clinical practice and research on psychoanalysis.
In 1995, through Statute No. 308/95, the government assumed regulatory authority over the undergraduate curriculum and professional diplomas issued by universities and recognized private training institutes.
In 1999, the government established the legal status of professional psychology through law 17.154. The law allows only psychologists who have a diploma from a university or university institute that is recognized by Statute 308/95 and who are registered by the Ministry of Public Health to work. However, law 17,154 does not define which tasks include "the exercise of psychologists profession" (article 1), nor does it specify the rights and duties of psychologists. Therefore, the practice of psychotherapy is not closely regulated and it is common to find psychiatrists and social workers engaged in psychological practice.
In 2001 the first code of ethics (Código de Ética) was approved by the Commission for Professional Ethics, whose members represented the Psychological Society of Uruguay, Psychologists' Coordinator of Uruguay, Catholic University of Uruguay, and the Univeristy of the Republic. It is grounded in the principles of responsibility, confidentiality, truthfulness, fidelity and humanism. Some chapters represent proscriptions to a protocol of ethical conduct signed in Santiago de Chile in 1997 by representatives of Uruguay and other countries of the region. Until the project to create a College of Psychologists, proposed by the Assembly of Psychologists, overcomes the resistance of other professional groups and is approved by the government, the code of ethics has no juridical authority. It only serves as a guideline for ethical practice for the members of the Psychological Society of Uruguay and Psychologists' Coordinator of Uruguay. These organizations cannot apply any sanctions other than expulsion, nor do they have the standing to prevent the continued unethical practice of psychology after expulsion. The code of ethics has yet to be tested and has not been modified since its inauguration.
Revista Psicología, Conocimiento y Sociedad – 2010- present. 2 numbers/year. Web: http://revista.psico.edu.uy/
Revista Ciencias Psicológicas. 2007 –present 1 vol, 2 numbers/year. Web: http://www.ucu.edu.uy/Default.aspx?tabid=1657
Itinerario (Psychopathology) 2004 – present. Web: http://www.itinerario.psico.edu.uy/
Querencia (Psychoanalytical Journal) 2002 – present. Web: http://www.querencia.psico.edu.uy/
Actas de las Jornadas de Psicologia Universitaria del Uruguay, 1993- , biennially
Boletin de la Sociedad de Psicologia del Uruguay, 1988- , 3/year
Relaciones, 1984- , monthly
Revista de la Asociacion de Psiquiatria y Psicopatologia de la Infancia y la Adolescencia, 1974- , 3/year
Revista de Psicoterapia Psicoanalitica, 1982, 1/year
Revista de la Sociedad de Psicologia del Uruguay, primera epoca. 1960; segunda epoca 1988-, irregular
Revista Universitaria de Psicologia, 1985- , discontinued
Revista Uruguaya de Psicoanalisis, 1956- , 2/year
Updated March 2012