Psychotherapy in Malaysia – An Overview


As a young and developing profession for the last two decades, psychotherapy in Malaysia is not widely known to those outside of the country. Therefore, this paper seeks to provide an overview of the development of psychotherapy in Malaysia. The paper first begins with a review of the Malaysian social-cultural context and mental health scenario, followed by the current practice of psychotherapy and psychotherapists in Malaysia. The title of ‘psychotherapist’ covers a broad range of professionals in Malaysia. Since the 1970s, the practice of psychotherapy, mostly brought in from the Western world, has evolved from the psychoanalytic tradition to behavioural and cognitive-behavioural traditions. Family systems work is, however, limited. There is growing interest in integrating indigenous cultural beliefs with the Western model of psychotherapy, as well as exploring alternative means to traditional face-to-face counselling mode. This paper therefore discusses several contemporary issues of concern within the field, as well as future directions, in relation to the practice of psychotherapy, research areas as well as training and development of future therapists. With still much room for growth and development, the field presents as a fertile ground for those up for the adventure and challenges of pioneering and revolutionary work.

How to Cite

Sheng, N. W., (2007) “Psychotherapy in Malaysia – An Overview”, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 4(2). doi:







Ng Wai Sheng






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