Christian Borg Xuereb
Department of Gerontology and Dementia Studies
Faculty for Social Wellbeing
University of Malta, Malta
Health Psychology in Malta is still a new field and to date there are no specific training programs. The University of Malta is the only University in Malta and Health psychology courses are offered at an undergraduate level to psychology and medical students. The Institute of Health Care at the University of Malta runs a Bachelors course in Community nursing to qualified nurses and credits in health psychology and management of client care are offered through this institute.
The Maltese Ministry of Health runs a national health service of which psychological care and health promotion form part of. However this discipline is still not included in the manpower plan of the respective departments that fall under this ministry. Nevertheless, professionals involved in health care and other related fields such as Social Work, Youth Work and Health & Safety have shown an increased interest to know about Health psychology and to receive specialized training in patient management, health behaviour change, risk perception and other topics. This interest seems to have increased thanks to opportunities given by the media to feature articles on national newspapers and discuss health psychology related topics on local media. It is hoped that in the years to come, this interest will lead to the setting up of a national body for health psychology.
Malta does not have a Health Psychology Association. Malta has two professional bodies representing psychologists: The Malta Psychology Association (MPA; http://www.mpaonline.net) and the Malta Union of Professional Psychologists (MUPP).
Education, training and professionalisation:
There are as yet no Health psychology training programs in Malta. Students enrolled in a Bachelors degree Program in psychology can opt to read more courses in Health Psychology in their third year and to carry out a practicum courses in this area supervised by psychologists and professionals working in this field (e.g. clinical/ counseling psychologists who support families of patients in palliative care). Individuals interested in receiving specialized or post-graduate training in Health Psychology have to train abroad. There are currently a small number of students training at post graduate level. The most popular countries where Maltese students have choose to train in Psychology are the England, Scotland, US.