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APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY: AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW, 2007, 56 (1), 83–96

Counseling Psychology in Israel:


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Blackwell
Oxford,
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56 Article
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Ltd IN ISRAEL
for Applied Psychology, 2007

A Virtual Specialty in Transition


Benny A. Benjamin*
National Career Counseling Center, Israel National Employment
Service, Jerusalem, Israel

Le domaine de la psychologie du counseling ne s’est pas encore imposé en Israël


comme une spécialité officiellement reconnue. Comme dans bien d’autres pays,
la psychologie clinique représente le substrat des services de counseling, pour ce
qui est du prestige et du nombre de praticiens. Cependant, les psychologues du
counseling ont joué un rôle important pendant des années en faisant la preuve
de leurs compétences aussi bien dans le monde universitaire que dans la vie
pratique. L’une des retombées positives en est la promotion de la psychologie du
travail où nombre de psychologues du counseling ont trouvé un refuge pendant
des années, secteur qu’ils ont enrichi aussi bien théoriquement que pratiquement.
La psychologie du counseling est en Israël appréhendée avec le souci de fournir
une réponse à la demande particulière de counseling de la population locale
et dans le cadre de l’évolution de l’ensemble de la profession de psychologue.

The field of counseling psychology has yet to take hold in Israel as an officially
sanctioned specialty. As in many countries, clinical psychology constitutes the
primary deliverer of psychological counseling services, both in number and in
status. Nonetheless, counseling psychologists have been prominent over the
years in applying their professional skills, both in academia and in applied
areas. One local benefit is the boost granted to the vocational psychology field
where many counseling psychologists have found a haven over the years and
have enriched it, both academically and in practice. Counseling psychology in
Israel is discussed in the context of providing a response to the unique coun-
seling needs of the local population and within the structural transition of the
psychological profession as a whole.

INTRODUCTION
In view of the establishment of a new counseling psychology division of
IAAP, this article takes a sober look at the field as it is practiced in Israel,

* Address for correspondence: Benny A. Benjamin, National Career Counseling Center,


Israel National Employment Service, 224 Jaffa St., 5th Floor, Jerusalem, Israel. Email: benjams
@netvision.net.il
The author would like to thank Professor Itamar Gati and two anonymous reviewers for
their constructive comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

© 2007 The Author. Journal compilation © 2007 International Association of Applied


Psychology. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ,
UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
84 BENJAMIN

approaching the second half of the century’s first decade. As is still the case
in many countries in which psychology is practiced (Takooshian, 2003),
Israel does not have an officially recognised specialty in counseling psychology
(Barak & Golan, 2000). The lion’s share of psychologists in Israel engaging
in counseling-focused practice hail from clinical training programs, with
school psychology being the second largest counseling-oriented specialty.
Other recognised psychological specialties with more narrowly defined
professional counseling niches include vocational and organisational
psychology, rehabilitation psychology, and medical psychology. Other
non-psychology professions such as school counselors and clinical social
workers assume recognised counseling mandates in their respective profes-
sional contexts.
One might speculate that counseling psychology in general, as distinguished
from clinical psychology, is more likely to take root and thrive in societies
where psychological services have ventured beyond the medical model and
have been accepted as a non-stigmatic intervention in the “normal” popu-
lation (for example, in light of the focus in recent years on positive psycho-
logy; e.g. Linley, 2006). Over the years Israelis as a whole are increasingly
more likely to recognise and welcome the potential contribution of psycho-
logical counseling services to the normative population, partially due to
exposure to trauma, and would seem to be prime candidates for a break-
through in the field. However, obstacles thrown in the path of a flourishing
counseling psychology specialty in Israel have stunted its growth, as will be
discussed below.

OFFICIAL STATUS OF COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY IN ISRAEL


Even though public acceptance of psychological services in the non-
pathological population has come a long way over the past generation,
clinical psychology still dominates. With the presence of Israeli graduates of
US APA-approved graduate counseling psychology programs, veteran
counseling psychologists, several of them having studied at US APA-approved
counseling psychology programs, have had a significant presence in this
country in an impressive array of applied areas (e.g. personal counseling,
career, medical, and rehabilitation psychology). However, given the field’s
current status, students interested in completing counseling and therapy-
oriented graduate studies in Israel’s highly competitive programs are still
best advised to take the clinical route.
This lack of official recognition has not been for want of serious efforts,
both academically and institutionally. A number of US-trained counseling
psychologists assumed prominent teaching roles, especially in the Tel Aviv
University Department of Psychology during the 1970s, and established a
counseling psychology program within the department. This was accomplished

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COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY IN ISRAEL 85
having recognised the importance of nurturing a counseling-oriented profes-
sion focusing on the non-psychopathological population. After several years
of producing many practicing MA graduates, this program was recently
discontinued by the university to the dismay and distress of the program’s
faculty, their alumni, and many cooperating internship sites around the
country. The causes are speculative, running from nasty political university
in-fighting to a recognition that there was no concomitant organisational
entity to grant the appropriate accreditation to the new graduates. These
possible causes are not mutually exclusive, in light of the status of the country’s
psychology establishment.
Israel’s Ministry of Health has from the outset (since the legislation of the
Psychology Law of 1977) assumed responsibility for regulating the profes-
sion of psychology, even for those specialties not traditionally associated
with psychopathology. It has recognised a number of specialties over the
years: clinical psychology, educational psychology, rehabilitation psycho-
logy, medical psychology, developmental psychology, and social /vocational /
organisational psychology. The Israel Psychological Association (IPA) com-
prises divisions parallel to the government-sanctioned specialties, and is
responsible for conducting professional conferences, advocating the position
of the profession in Israel, and taking an active role in the internal regulation
of professional ethics. A few years ago an initiative to add a division of
counseling psychology was rejected. It was clear that the clinical psychology
lobby had viewed this development as an incursion on its guild status in
Israel and was successful in thwarting the initiative.
The field of counseling psychology in Israel has yet to recover from these
setbacks, and no further initiatives are on the horizon. When seeking what
impact counseling psychology has had in Israel, one is left to track the
accomplishments of individual graduates of foreign counseling psychology
programs and from the local relevant programs, primarily from Tel Aviv
University’s Department of Psychology. Beyond that, one could review the
fieldwork of the few psychological agencies that identify with the counseling
psychology stream, such as the Tel Aviv University and the University of
Haifa career counseling centers and a large public career counseling
psychology agency, the National Career Counseling Center, under the
auspices of the Israel National Employment Service. Among the doctoral-
level professionals who have not settled into academia, a significant number,
both in the public and private sectors, have associated themselves with the
vocational/career/occupational psychology stream. The remainder of this
article will highlight several aspects of the field in Israel:

1. Professional successes and accomplishments of counseling psychologists


in Israel.
2. Weaknesses and challenges faced by counseling psychology in Israel.

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3. Identifying trends and articulating a vision for the field in Israel in the
coming decade.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY


IN ISRAEL
The turbulent history of the State of Israel since its establishment in 1948,
through massive immigration, intense economic and industrial growth,
security threats, and outbreak of wars, has produced unique psychological
needs of an intricate mosaic of population groups (Barak & Golan, 2000).
All this goes alongside the traditional challenges facing a modern Western-
oriented nation exposed to globalisation, unstable markets, extensive
unemployment, and rampant technological advances.

Vocational Psychology
Vocational psychology, as a sub-category of counseling psychology (Robitschek
& Woodson, 2006), has been one of the prominent expressions of the field
in Israel. It is a fully recognised specialty in the government regulatory body
housed in the Health Ministry and has spawned many qualified local graduates
over the years. In actuality this relatively small specialty is an amalgam of
several sub-specialties, including: career counseling and assessment, selec-
tion and assessment, organisational psychology, and human engineering.
Common to all of these sub-specialties is the focus on psychological appli-
cations to the world of work, with the client being either the individual or
the organisation. Counseling psychology graduates of US institutions have
frequently found their professional home in this vocational psychology
specialty. On the one hand this transition has resulted in a narrowing of their
own personal professional focus from their training days, but on the other
hand it has served to enrich and broaden the field of vocational and indus-
trial/organisational psychology in Israel with Western approaches to coun-
seling and other advanced techniques.
Not incidentally, a focus on employment and career interventions has been
central to Israel’s development needs, given the large waves of immigration
since Israel’s conception, most recently from the Former Soviet Union,
Ethiopia, and France. Helping to identify career alternatives for a frustrated
Russian-born engineer in the morning and for an illiterate Ethiopian-born dirt
farmer in the afternoon is not a rare phenomenon, especially for government-
sponsored vocational psychologists. This has encouraged the development
of tools and techniques (verbal and non-verbal), which further broaden the
professional repertoire. Traditionally, immigrants have had to reassess their
careers as part of their integration into their new land and, more often than
not, have had to accept difficult compromises, reinventing their vocational

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COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY IN ISRAEL 87
identities (Krau, 1991). Certainly, there have been cases where an immigrant
has benefited from the opportunity to leave certain occupations behind,
correcting inappropriate choices of his past in a socially sanctioned career
move. The challenges of adjustment to a new culture, new social and family
strata, and new educational demands for youth and adults have occupied
counseling professionals since Israel’s birth as a modern country for over
half a century.
Newly demobilised soldiers have also attracted considerable attention and
funding from both private and governmental institutions in the realm of
vocational counseling. Universal army conscription for up to three years after
high school has delayed the age of joining the labor market characteristic of
many Western countries, so that young adults aged 21–22 are placed in the
position of having to chart out their initial career steps. Retiring career
army officers in their mid-40s constitute another sector seeking counseling
services for second career and mid-life issues. These transitions to civilian
life bring in their wake adjustment and identity-forming issues that find
their way into the counselor’s room.
Another sector of the Israeli population attracting increasing attention is
the ultra-orthodox (haredi) group. This large sector has, since the establish-
ment of the state, subscribed to the value of full-time religious study, typic-
ally avoiding both compulsory army duty and large-scale integration into
the labor market. This government-sanctioned practice is slowly but steadily
eroding due to economic legislation, including a recent revamping of welfare
and family subsidy criteria, thus turning up economic pressure that sees more
haredi females, but especially males, with no formal secular education, enroll
in professional track programs. Here we are dealing with a drastic turn-
about in professional, personal, cultural, and family identity, underlining
the kind of holistic psychological interventions needed for coping and
adjustment (Devi, 2005).
Israel’s leading counseling psychology researchers, trained in Israel and
abroad, have made considerable contributions to the profession. Consider some
examples: For many years one of the field’s leading and prolific researchers
of the construct of person–environment congruence has been a counseling
psychologist professor at Tel Aviv University, Professor Emeritus E.I. Meir
(e.g. Spokane, Meir, & Catalano, 2000). An entire generation of currently
active counseling psychologists has citations of career congruence theses
under his tutelage placed in a position of prominence on their CVs.
Current cutting-edge work on the development of models and applied
tools for computer assisted career guidance programs has its home in the
work of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University Department of Psychology under
the guidance of Professor Itamar Gati (e.g. Gati, Saka, & Krausz, 2001; Gati,
Osipow, Krausz, & Saka, 2000). Innovation in the area of psychological
applications via the Internet has been expounded in depth by Barak (1999),

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and the ambiguous border between career counseling as personal counseling


has been explored and just about erased (Nevo & Wiseman, 2002; Yoffe-
Yanai & Malach-Pines, 2000; Benjamin & Nevo, 1999).
Increased attention regarding counseling needs has been directed at
Israel’s Arabic-speaking population in recent years. For instance, as Israel’s
Bedouin population incorporates Western values, career issues have begun
to concern Bedouin high school graduates. An investigation of Bedouin
women’s career aspirations surveyed ten years ago indicated only minimal
career strivings (Triger & Davidson, 2000). Currently, however, they are more
likely to strive for higher education but often embark on inappropriate career
decisions due to stereotypical planning and family dictates, with no application
of self-knowledge in their decision-making. An Arabic language translation
of several guidance tools, especially work values and interest inventories
sponsored by the National Career Counseling Center, has been recently
undertaken along with training in their implementation to assist Beduin
high school seniors in reconsidering their career decision-making processes.
Other recent initiatives seeking to introduce Arab youth to guidance tools
have been developed recently in the country (Hijazi, Tatar, & Gati, 2004).

Crisis Intervention and Terror-Related Counseling


Israel’s psychologists have long been involved in stress research and the
design of trauma-related treatment modes, intervening in towns subjected to
missile attacks as well as among soldiers returning from armed conflict. The
recent five-year wave of terror (intifada), carried out by Palestinian militias,
has mandated a higher interventive profile among psychologists, especially
in the school setting (e.g. Cinamon & Hellman, 2006; Zeidner, 2005; Tatar
& Horenszyk, 2003; Klingman, 2002; Israelashvili, 2005).
A career hot-line innovated by the National Career Counseling Center
has recently been instituted that addresses a need for support for those
facing career crises or dejection in the job-seeking process or during initial
job adjustment. Principles borrowed from crisis intervention hot-lines have
been implemented in this telephone service, currently government-funded
and marketed primarily for single parents (mostly mothers) whose welfare
grants have been rescinded and who have had to re-enter the job market.
This service, operated by vocationally oriented counseling psychologists,
provides an example of how broader psychological counseling skills can be
applied in a declared vocational setting.
The 2005 government-initiated evacuation of the 18 Gaza Strip Jewish
settlements involved the uprooting and relocation of approximately 8,000
citizens. The large majority experienced religious, economic, ideological,
vocational, and personal trauma in the process. Many faced doomsday
phenomena and a need to transplant themselves in an unfamiliar reality.

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COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY IN ISRAEL 89
Counseling psychologists were recruited by the Israel National Employment
Service to help the evacuees determine and advance their career goals in an
efficient manner, but the clients’ needs have been understandably holistic
and have required holistic interventions. Appropriate referrals are made,
but the spectrum of professional skills necessary for this counseling psycho-
logical mission include grief counseling, crisis intervention, community
intervention, and value clarification (Morad, 2006). Current services include
individual counseling as well as access to the career hot-line.
The 2006 armed conflict on the Lebanese border exposed the civilian
population to indiscriminate launching of missiles, exacting considerable
damage in life, property, and mental health, mandating a variety of coun-
seling interventions in school and career settings.

Research and Test Development


Recognised advances have been made in designing psychological tools. For
instance, research on emotional intelligence has produced new insights as
well as a widely used assessment tool (e.g. Bar-On & Parker, 2000). A
pre-counseling career decision difficulties questionnaire (CDDQ) has been
developed (Gati, Osipow, Krausz, & Saka, 2000) as well as a novel technique
to analyse Holland’s Self-Directed Search questionnaire, incorporating and
highlighting elements of self-efficacy (Peiser, 2004). An Internet-based
non-verbal stress assessment tool has been developed that addresses the
stress-related issues of a broader population (Toubiana, 2006).

WEAKNESSES OF COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY IN ISRAEL


As noted above, the obstacles to the establishment of counseling psychology
as a recognised specialty have been considerable, mostly as a result of pro-
fessional turf wars, with traditional clinical psychology interests being
vigorously defended. Since Israel is a relatively small country (approximately
7 million citizens) with an abundance of clinical psychologists, the resistance
is understandable. As an indication, current unofficial tallies reveal 2,400
registered clinical psychologists, 1,400 registered school psychologists, and
only 250 registered vocational/I-O psychologists. With the country’s only
defined counseling psychology program recently discontinued by the host
university, one would be hard-pressed to be optimistic. One reason for
counseling psychology being overpowered by the clinical specialty is a
simple inadequacy of numbers of interested stake-holders. Clinical psycho-
logists have successfully positioned themselves as the professionals of choice
to perform even in areas traditionally not theirs, such as vocational and
industrial/organisational psychology, often even overstepping professional
bounds set by current Health Ministry regulations. Without the ability to

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turn out young hungry professionals through traditional training programs,


the campaign to resuscitate counseling psychology in formal institutions
seems lost—a somber catch-22.
Israel publishes only a few professional psychology journals, one channel
in which the profession can develop. In the universities’ “publish or perish”
game, however, tenure-track faculty is reinforced significantly more for
publishing their work in prestigious English-language journals rather than
in Hebrew-language field-related journals. Thus, local professional journals
face difficulties in maintaining consistently attractive, high-quality publica-
tions. A recent victim of this trend was the short-lived professional journal,
Psychologia, published in Hebrew by the IPA in a format reminiscent of the
APA’s The American Psychologist.
Recent years have seen a decline in scientific research-based conferences,
especially those sponsored by the IPA—fewer quality presentations and
significantly lowered attendance. This phenomenon reflects the preferred
reinforcement regimen for tenure-track academicians to gain exposure in
international forums rather than in local ones. As a result this avenue has
come to a dead end, further reducing the opportunity for scientific meetings
among colleagues cutting across official specialty categories. A current crisis
at the IPA involving the status of the clinical specialty has led to unstable
national leadership, further eroding the IPA’s strength as a central force in
the psychological profession. This situation tends to create a vacuum that
will most likely be filled by a lattice-work of independent, sectored niche
organisations.
The advent of coaching as a focused, results-oriented quasi-counseling
specialty has the prospect of revolutionising the way the public sees the
helping profession. There is currently a faddish element to the proliferation
of coaching training and practice, resembling world-wide trends, but this
trend seems to go beyond fashion and beyond elitist executive clientele. Its
spread would further impact the entire counseling profession in that not
only psychologists will be seen as holding the key to enhancing quality of
life. As a result, psychologists themselves are joining the demand to add
coaching skills to their professional tool chest, with the hope that, when the
dust settles, the public will once again seek out the recognised, traditionally
trained professional. As a result, formal coaching training programs
specifically designed for psychologists have been offered by university con-
tinuing education programs and by private trainers. Similar dynamics have
been recognised in the medical profession as traditionally trained medical
professionals have added complementary medical tools to their treatment
arsenal.
There are current indications that the clinical psychology profession may
be losing some of its clout. Besides the attractiveness of coaching to the non-
pathological population, there is the incursion of the familiar phenomenon

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of managed care, a route that diminishes the autonomy of the clinician to
call the professional shots. This trend leads away from long-term psycho-
dynamically oriented treatments and toward briefer models, inching them
closer to those counseling models espoused by their counseling psychologist
colleagues.
This insurance reform will result in fewer in-patient facilities, more
community-based treatment, and shorter therapy regimens authorised by
local Sick Fund (Health Maintenance Organisation) monitors (Haver, Baruch,
& Kotler, 2003). The anticipated impact is a preference for “quick-fix” psy-
chiatric drug-centered treatment, leading to less employment stability for
clinical psychologists. In a parallel struggle, the clinical specialty has long
fought to dictate the wording of a long-debated “psychotherapy law”, a
legislative challenge to the heretofore clinical monopoly of the provision of
psycho-therapeutic services. A current proposal on the table is to grant the
right to psychotherapy practice to anyone who has received the proper post-
graduate training in psychotherapy in one’s own psychological specialty,
regardless of the latter’s original training focus, thus diminishing the clinical
monopoly even in non-psychopathological populations. This legislative move
may serve to heterogenise even further those psychology professionals authorised
to engage in counseling and psychotherapy, a step that will ultimately allow
counseling psychologists to legitimately broaden their professional scope
beyond the vocational field in which many had been “boxed in”.

TRENDS AND VISION OF THE FUTURE


One avenue for developing the profession, besides publishing in local pro-
fessional journals, is the holding of training sessions, workshops, conferences,
etc. This aspect of professional life has been managed successfully by the
various psychology specialties. Thanks to the country’s compact size, a
healthy percentage of practitioners manage to attend annual four-day
training workshops. These are usually conducted in the format of intensive
experiential workshops which are conducted by trainers of various group or
individual counseling approaches. Fish-bowl techniques and others are
utilised to enhance personal and professional development among psycho-
logists. No less significant is the opportunity provided to network among
colleagues in similar specialties.
Advanced training programs can also contribute to a crystallisation of
new psychological specialties. Even as turf-wars are still raging there has
developed an awareness among Israeli psychologists in recent years that
there is indeed significant common ground among the various specialties.
This has resulted in several welcome pan-specialty training and study days.
For instance, an annual seminar series focusing on testing issues has been
established by the IPA, drawing the participation of several of the specialties

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that administer psychological testing to their clientele. A recent IPA course


for the training of learning disability assessment has also attracted psycho-
logists from several specialties. The IPA ethics committee has received fund-
ing to sponsor an annual 50-hour course for the advancement of professional
ethics in the applied psychology field, hosting psychologists from all the
specialties.
Given this broader exposure and attitude among colleagues, a view to the
future might include expanding pan-specialty conferences and training to
include psychological counseling methods with non-pathological populations.
These may be under the auspices of university departments, counseling
agencies, or the IPA. Currently such training programs, often involving the
hosting of well-known Western therapy pioneers, have been offered by private
counseling agencies as well as by university continuing education programs
whose professional identification is divided between the clinical family
therapy-focused social work and clinical psychology fields.
Less than a decade ago, the Israeli academic scene saw a turnabout in
government higher education policy. Until then, only the handful of tradi-
tional universities was entitled to grant degrees. Since then several local
colleges were established or upgraded to grant sanctioned degrees. With the
recent establishment and approval of Master Degree programs at some of
these newer colleges, there has been an initiation of a post-BA psychology
program, offering an applied clinical program as well as a vocational psy-
chology program to be launched in 2006. It is anticipated that this will
partially compensate for the discontinued vocational psychology program
outlined above.
As we view the future, the new careerist in every profession will become
less dependent on the particular courses learned in university preparation,
less dependent on a particular employer, and more dependent on himself to
manage his career over the course of his lifetime (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996;
Arthur, 2002). The principle and application of life-long learning is no less
evident in the field of psychology in general and in counseling psychology
in particular. If the current situation in Israel is an example, there already
exists an array of cafeteria-style continuing education opportunities whereby
a psychology graduate interested in the world of counseling and psychother-
apy can invest her resources in upgrading (or establishing new) skills. The
university-based programs will become even more of a research degree and
the applied skills will become more available after graduation, thus leaving
the responsibility to the professional to design and self-manage her career
as it progresses. There will still be a need for proper supervision as an
adjunct to these training programs to ensure the quality work expected of
the profession.
There have been severe cutbacks in the internship placements necessary
for completing accreditation in all psychological specialties, including the

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clinical and vocational divisions. This may lead intern candidates to pay for
proper supervision while being employed at accredited or non-accredited
agencies. Tracking the progress of some career counseling psychology
interns who have had to discontinue their internship programs due to cut-
backs, the successful ones have embarked on a portfolio career, finding
work as freelancers or as part-time employees for agencies who seek out
novice low-investment psychologists. Striving for the traditional model of
full-time employment at a recognised agency has become a non-starter.
Besides experiencing a lessening of overall job security, a by-product for
these new psychologists is a significant upgrade in the breadth of experience
to which they are exposed and in which they gain professional skills along
with the soft skills necessary for maximum employability in their field. In
addition, their professional world has expanded greatly, creating contacts
that may lead to desired positions in the future. The less successful dis-
continued interns have had to put their psychologically focused career goals on
hold while they integrate into positions calling for a more general back-
ground in the behavioral sciences, such as human resources, education, etc.
In summary, we may point to several trends:

• Fewer traditional university training programs in counseling psychology


applications, requiring a redesigning of internship activities to include
a substantial counseling skills training component in addition to the
traditional supervision function.
• More individual responsibility for one’s own career path, resulting in
a more blended loosely defined professional affiliation where profes-
sional labels will become less critical to professional identities.
• More applied programs in local colleges, including the possible intro-
duction of applied Professional Psychology programs familiar in the
United States.
• Even with the introduction of doctoral programs in psychology over
the past two decades, the master’s degree continues as the prominent
functional and terminal degree in the field. The trends mentioned
above are not consistent with the adoption of the doctorate as the
terminal degree of the future; rather they call for a master’s degree to
provide the infrastructure upon which more specific postgraduate
applied training programs will be supplemented.
• With the advent of coaching and similar sets of skills originating in
non-psychological settings, counseling psychologists will increasingly
integrate these skills and will seek out more than one reference group,
being less parochial than in the past for the purpose of networking
and professional support. Coaching’s emphasis on the achievement of
concrete outcomes will have an impact on how successful counseling
is viewed among the more traditionally oriented talk therapies. Much

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of coaching work is accomplished by telephone, with that and other


indirect media, including the Internet, expected to expand, with distance-
counseling schemes further challenging the traditional counseling
setting.
• Continued popularity and growth is anticipated in the quasi-therapeutic
specialties of music-, animal-, art-, movement-, bibliotherapy, and
drama-aided therapy. These specialties require considerably less training
time and often amount to a two- to three-year post-BA certification with
no internship requirement. This trend will further erode the monopoly
of clinicians and perhaps broaden the base of counselors, especially in
the school setting.
• With the 2006 closing of the Hadassah Institute of Career Counseling,
a venerable 62-year-old psychological career guidance institution, and
with the significant downsizing of psychologists in 2006, indicating an
ambiguous future for the National Career Counseling Center, more
psychological services in the vocational field will be provided by private
agencies, out-sourcing, freelancing, and voucher-based schemes. Career
counseling psychologists, embarking on portfolio careers, will need to
broaden their skills to include assessment center work and other
industrial and organisational elements.
• The next few years will see a watershed in the development of psychology
as a profession in Israel, not just in the counseling psychology specialty.
In the meantime the IPA will continue to serve as a key clearing house
and sponsor for initiatives that allow for pan-professional growth,
independent of specialty affiliation, even with its own organisational
structure currently in doubt.
• The current two-front struggle involving the clinical specialty (one
front against the insurance-managed care phenomenon and the other
front against allowing non-psychologists to engage in psychotherapy)
will be resolved and result in less concentrated power in the hands of
the currently largest specialty group, more non-clinicians being eligible
to engage in psychotherapy, fewer publicly funded mental health
centers, and other implications familiar to Western countries where
managed care has taken hold, such as an emphasis on concrete out-
come measures. An implication of this struggle may be a period of
turbulence in the IPA as a new organisational paradigm emerges.

The recently articulated concept of “career communities” (Parker, Arthur,


& Inkson, 2004) may provide an outline of the kind of professional future
awaiting the counseling psychologist in Israel. There will continue to exist a
community of psychology professionals with a core set of common interests
and skills, meeting one another professionally at formal and informal asso-
ciations and conferences rather than at traditional work sites, thus by-passing

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formal recognition, and thriving without the contingency of Health Ministry
authorisation for that specialty. It implies mapping out one’s own profes-
sional identity and nurturing it along with other like-minded colleagues.
This default strategy may prove to be a strengthening force in the profession,
leading to more initiative, enhanced professional self-efficacy, and more
creative innovations unencumbered by establishment-supported tradition.
The trends identified above do not necessarily paint a rosy picture, but do
aim to present a view of reality in which competent psychological services
will continue to be offered to the local population with expanding needs in
the coming decade. As is often the case upon the ushering in of a new
paradigm for a counseling psychology infrastructure, those personally
involved in the transition will likely face harsh individual challenges. Those
not transitioning well, having less professional resilience, may choose early
retirement or other avenues that will side-track them, perhaps permanently,
from their planned career path.

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