Brief History and Overview of Psychology in Yemen
Until the early 1980s, no appropriate mental health services existed in the Northern governorates of Yemen and very limited services were available in Aden (Southern governorates). However in 1982, psychological and psychiatric services commenced. A national five-year program of mental health was started in 1986 in both the south and north of Yemen (World Health Organization, 1989). Two mental hospitals and several outpatient clinics and psychiatric wards have been established in the country's main cities of Sana'a, Taiz, Aden, and Hodeidah.
Presently, psychological research is published in the journals belonging to various faculties of the universities and research institutes, local public and private magazines, and in regional and international journals.
In the mid 1970s, psychology as a discipline began to flourish in academic settings when it became part of the required curriculum for teacher training at the Faculties of Education in the two universities in Yemen, the University of Sana'a and the University of Aden. A psychology course was also required in the Faculty of Shariaa and Law, and the Faculty of Economics and Commerce in these universities. Similarly, a psychology course was also required in the military colleges. By 1983, the University of Sana'a had established a Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts, which initiated a psychology programs offering about twenty-three courses including clinical, industrial, assessment, social, and abnormal psychology, statistics, and advanced seminars.
During the early 1990s, two Master's degree programs in psychology were initiated at Sana'a University's Faculties of Arts and Education. Recently, measurement and evaluation in psychology have been added at the Faculty of Education Master's degree program. Master's programs in counseling and guidance, child development, and learning and instruction are under consideration. No Doctoral psychology programs have yet been offered at any university or at any other institution in Yemen.
No more than 41% of approximately 1,200 individuals with undergraduate and graduate training in psychology are in occupations directly related to their training. These individuals are dispersed, including 13% in hospitals, clinics, and private clinical practice, 7% in research institutions, 20% in government departments (defense force, prisons, etc.), 13% in universities, and 47% in schools.
The practice of psychology in Yemen is not regulated by law and no certifying board exists in the country. Regulation is left to the interpretation of the Ministry of Civil Services, which frequently employs psychologists in the Ministry of Education as administrators, teachers, or school psychologists. The practice of clinical psychology has been, and still is, under the auspices of medical and psychiatric control in the Ministry of Health.
from "Perspectives on Psychology in Yemen" in International Journal of Psychology, 32 (1997), by
Abdulgawi Salim Alzubaidi
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
United Arab Emirates University
PO Box 17771 Alain, United Arab Emirates
Sana'a University, Republic of Yemen
Updated August 2005