What is a Psychologist?

In Kuwait, there are no rules or guidelines about who can call themselves a psychologist. However, in many other countries, psychologists must have a doctoral degree. Most psychologists have a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in the field of psychology or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology). Others will qualify with an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education).

In addition to a doctorate, a psychologist usually must also complete a specific number of hours of supervised training. Generally, this will involve two to three years working in clinics or hospitals before finishing the Ph.D., and at least one year of intense, full-time training after the degree is completed. In many countries, psychologists also have to pass licensing examinations, though this is not the case in Kuwait.

After graduation from college, it takes a minimum of five to six years to become a psychologist. It can often take six to eight years. Most psychologists have produced a doctoral dissertation, which is an original research project and a book length discussion of that research.

Are all therapists psychologists?

No. In addition to psychologists, there are other licensed professionals who can provide therapy and counseling including licensed social workers, licensed marital and family counselors, and licensed professional counselors. Kuwait does not have laws or regulations about who can practice therapy but consumers should still ensure that their clinician has attended an accredited graduate school and holds a license in their home country.

Often times, when people are distressed and seeking help, they fail to ask or to understand what type of professional they are actually seeing, if they have attended an accredited program, and if they hold a license. If everything goes well, it is perhaps not much of a problem. But if there is a problem with the treatment, it can become very important to know.

Any therapist from whom you seek consultation will be pleased to discuss their education, training, and credentials. And any therapist you see should tell you what type of license they have. Don't be afraid to ask.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a helping relationship that gives you the space to think about yourself and your life.

By thinking and talking together with a trained psychotherapist, you may find it easier to understand how past experiences, current patterns of thought and behavior, or worries about the future are causing difficulties in your present life.

Through the relationship with your therapist and the shared exploration of your life, the hope is that you will find relief from recurring problems, live life more fully and realize your full potential. This is a process of change, as well as understanding.

What happens in psychotherapy?

As psychotherapy is a personal process, what happens in your own psychotherapy process will be unique to you, but there are some generally accepted practices.

Each session lasts 50 minutes and most people attend at least once a week. For more intensive psychotherapy, you may choose to see your therapist two or three times a week, or more often. It is normal to feel some nervousness before the first session but this usually goes away. It can take a session or two to understand what the problem is and then the therapist will work with you to develop treatment goals. Over time, and as people reach their goals, the treatment plan is revised. Some people come for brief therapy, which is usually about 6 sessions, while others come for longer depending on the nature of the difficulty and how intensive they would like the treatment to be.

Psychotherapy does not involve medication, although some people are taking medications prescribed by other doctors when they begin. We are able to help people determine when medication may be needed and can refer people accordingly.

Who comes for counselling or psychotherapy?

For most of us there are times in our lives when we experience anxiety, distress or feelings of emptiness. These feeling may be due to current circumstances, such as bereavement, relationship tensions or illness. These problems can also stir up buried feelings about the past. Our unhappiness may have a profound effect on our work, health and on those close to us. It is often when we reach a point where we can no longer resolve conflict or come to terms with pain or disappointment, and see little hope of change, that we seek help.

We are of the opinion that everybody should see a psychologist periodically. Having a psychologist should be like having a dentist or a family doctor in that everyone should have one and get periodic check-ups. We believe that an important part of people being health is having a healthy mind and psychotherapy can help with that.

What kind of problems bring people into therapy?

People come into therapy with many different difficulties. Perhaps you are wondering how you've got to where you are, or questioning the meaning of life. Perhaps you are feeling:

  • Anxiety or worry
  • Marital problems and premarital counseling
  • Burdened by resentment, disappointment or despair
  • Family problems
  • Lonely or depressed
  • A feeling that things could be better or that you've not yet realized your full potential
  • Anxious and unable to concentrate
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating problems
  • Difficulty making or sustaining relationships, or repeatedly become involved in unsatisfying or destructive relationships
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Losses such as bereavement, divorce, or loss of a job
  • Obsessive behavior, phobias and/or panic attacks
  • Postnatal depression or the “baby blues”
  • Career or educational concerns
  • Self-understanding and identity concerns
Does therapy work?

Yes, in fact, research suggests that about 80% of people report improvement. Countless studies have shown that psychotherapeutic treatment works. The effects have been measured in terms of improved social functioning, relief from anxiety, reductions in depression, and in just about every other way that improvement and effectiveness can be defined.

Consumer Reports magazine concluded similarly. In their extensive study, which relied largely on self-reports from patients, 9 out of 10 Americans reported positive benefits. Consumer Reports gave psychological health care a solid endorsement, and noted that treatment by more highly qualified therapists - such as licensed psychologists - was more likely to produce benefits.

So yes-- therapy works for a lot of people.

What about confidentiality and privacy?

Confidentiality is a critical aspect of psychotherapy and something FSRI takes very seriously. FSRI psychotherapists adhere to codes of ethics put forth by the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA), and the Health Professions Council (HPC) in the U.K. These codes require that your privacy and confidentiality be maintained.

We do not believe in the common misconceptions, stereotypes, and stigma associated with therapy such as that it is a sign of “weakness” or that it means there is something “wrong” with the individual. In fact, we believe that coming to therapy is truly a sign of strength as it is a personally challenging endeavor. However, we recognize and are sensitive to cultural differences in the way therapy is viewed in Kuwait so we are especially private and discrete. We are not a stand-alone psychology clinic and offer a range of other services including physiotherapy, speech therapy, personal training, nutrition consultations and more. So if people see you enter the building or you see someone you know in the waiting room, they will not necessarily know that you are here to see a therapist.

Except for a couple of unusual emergency circumstances, everything that is said to your therapist will be kept confidential and private. Again, we take this issue very seriously so please speak with your therapist for more information.

What is psychoeducational testing?

Psychoeducational testing, (may also be referred to as “psychological testing”, “psychological assessment”, “psychological evaluation”, “LD testing”, “psychological battery”, “IQ/achievement testing”), is an in-depth individualized assessment of a student's cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses. Psychoeducational testing is helpful in developing a description of how a student learns, identifying areas that might need support, and diagnosing or ruling out learning disabilities and other conditions that may require special educational interventions. Psychoeducational testing is also helpful in identifying gifted and talented students.

We do not assess children just for the sake of labeling them or finding out what is “wrong” with them. Assessment reports at FSRI will take care in determining your child’s areas of strength and areas where they may need some additional help. The findings are meant to inform your child’s treatment team and school of how best to work with him/her. However the report and all of its findings are kept private and confidential until you give us permission to disclose information to the school.

How do I know if my child needs psychoeducational testing?

If your child seems to be underachieving in school, chronically struggling in a certain academic area, showing very inconsistent progress across academic areas, or if you or teachers suspect that your child has a unique style of learning which presents challenges, psychoeducational testing may be helpful. The first step in a complete psychoeducational evaluation is an interview with the parents to develop a complete history and description of the concerns. Often, rating scales, review of school records, consultation with teachers, and, sometimes, classroom observations are used to help determine what tests, if any, can be used to help address your questions and concerns.

What do I need to do prior to the testing appointment?

The clinician will interview you regarding your child’s background: birth, development, medical history, family, and educational history. You will be asked to sign releases to obtain copies of past testing; medical reports and school records. A copy of the current report card and your child’s work samples are also helpful to your clinician.

How can I prepare my child for the testing appointment?

For the young child you can talk about going to see a psychologist/educational psychologist who will ask them about favorite toys, activities, and family and friends. They may be asked to draw, do puzzles and talk to see how learning is progressing. For the young and or anxious child bringing a favorite toy or a photograph of the family, friend or family pet can ease the transition and facilitate conversation. For the older child who likes computers he or she can be told that computer activities, drawing, talking and school-type tasks will be done. For testing conducted in a clinic setting, you can tell the child that no shots will be given. Most children enjoy the testing experience often look forward to returning.

How are the testing results used?

The psychoeducational evaluation will yield information about the child in terms of general intelligence, levels of academic achievement, fine motor and visual motor integration, language, memory and daily skills. The scores generated compare the child's performance to other children's scores. The results are then used to form interventions to help your child succeed at school and home.

How much does counseling or testing cost?

The cost of all of our services depends on what exactly is needed. After we speak with you, we will know more about what the problem is and can give you a clearer idea of what we recommend and what it will cost.

However, fees should not deter you from seeking help at FSRI. We are a non-profit organization with a clear mission of providing the highest quality services for the entire community. We are able to accommodate all income levels and we never decline our services because of fees.

How do I make an appointment?

To schedule an appointment, please call 2572-0338. Or fill the Online Appointment Form

What if I have more questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Nicholas Scull at 2572-0338 or n.scull@fsrikuwait.org

Contact Us


Amaia Residence, Floor 2, Building 7, Baghdad Street, Block 9, Salmiya, Kuwait P.O. Box: 24472, Safat 13015 Kuwait

Phone: +965 2572-0338 / 2572-1757

Fax: +965 2572 1677

Email: info@fshnkuwait.org

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