Media outlets must avoid engaging quack counsellors — GNACC
The President of the Ghana National Association of Certificated Counsellors (GNACC), Dr Cecelia Tutu-Danquah, has called on media outlets to stop engaging quack counsellors on their programmes to advise on issues of mental health.
She said engaging unlicensed counsellors only created the platforms for quack individuals to offer the people information that did not help them but also misled them on matters of mental health, affection and mental decisions.
“Today, our media houses have been saturated with quack counsellors who are giving wrong information to most Ghanaians who are acting on such counsel that is not helping them,” she said.
Mandate to arrest
Addressing the counselling research conference organised by the TUCEE Institute of Counselling and Technology in Accra yesterday, Dr Tutu-Danquah said “If a media house engages a quack counsellor, the Ghana Psychology Counsel has the mandate to arrest management of the offending media house as well as the quack counsellor because per the regulatory framework if you are not licensed it is a crime to declare yourself as a counsellor”.
“Professional counsellors have licence so when media houses invite people to provide valuable counselling information to Ghanaians, they should inspect to see that the person is licensed and is a professional before they take up their services,” she said.
The event brought together about 178 professional counsellors from across the country to deliberate on research that was carried out by the TUCEE Institute of Counselling and Technology in June 2021.
The research aimed at how to promote counselling psychology towards building local content counseling and how to monetise the counselling profession in Ghana.
Dr Tutu-Danquah, who is also the President of the TUCEE Institute of Counselling and Technology, noted that, most of the people who paraded themselves on media platforms as counsellors had been written to by the GNACC.
The move, she said, had caused most of the fake counsellors to be hiding behind other fake names to propagate their services and therefore, warned media houses to guard against inviting such individuals.
“The media houses are the communicators of the country and people listen to them since every programme that they do get to the core of Ghanaians.
In a bid to tackle the challenge head-on, Dr Tutu-Danquah said, the TUCEE Institute of Counselling and Technology (TICT) was committed to offering professional training to various counselling professionals to allow them to provide timely professional counselling services.
Such service, she indicated, had become essential at a time when Ghana had evolved and modernisation was subjecting many youths and adults to mental challenges.
“The World Health Organisation declared this year that about 48 per cent of Ghanaians had one kind of mental challenge,” she said.
She, therefore, called on the various institutions, such as corporate bodies, educational, ministries to engage professional counsellors to provide the people the critical service.
With the services of professional counsellors needed more than ever before, Dr Tutu-Danquah said the GNACC had issues with few ministries, departments and agencies that had employed professional counsellors by treating the profession as “a job or a position.”
“Counselling is a profession and when people are giving professional services they are supposed to be paid professionally,” she said.
She particularly appealed to the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) that teachers who had been appointed as counsellors should be registered with the Ghana Psychology Counsel to enable them to practice as professionals.