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60 years of psychology in Honduras

60 years of psychology in Honduras

Author: Pedronel González Rodríguez

Last November 09th, were 60 years since the creation of Psychological degree in Honduras by the “Consejo Universitario de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH)”. Paradoxically, the careers of psychology, and Pedagogy and Educational Sciences, were created the same date and year, were the only ones that accepted teacher-training college students. 

Between 1967 and 1968 the University graduates the first class of Psychologists who were: Tina Turcios Raudales, Ana Eva Murcia, Amparo Quan de Raquel, María Luisa Zelaya, Augusto Aguilar y Rigoberto Palacios (Red Honduras , 2021).

As Red Honduras Red Honduras (2021) defines, it should be emphasized that the first honduran psychologist was Victor Manuel Donaire Chan, who was given scholarship by the president of Chile, Juan Antonio Ríos al Gobierno de Honduras. Victor Manuel Donaire managed to travel with three Hondurans, to study at the University of Chile. The requirement to obtain the scholarship was that it must have been two men and two women. Two of them were to be Elementary school teachers and two first year approved students of teacher training programs. This is how at the end of 1952, the first three psychologists from Central America graduated. Two Guatemalans Herminio García and Eugenio Aragón, along with the Honduran Victor Manuel Donaire Chang.

In 1953, Mr. Víctor Manuel Donaire attends the first Inter-American Congress of Psychology, in Santo Domingo, as a delegate from Honduras, organized by our Inter-American Psychology Society (SIP), affirms Red Honduras (2021). Mr. Donaire was a Psychology professor at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras (National Autonomous University of Honduras) for 30 years and is the author of the books: history of psychology in Honduras and memoirs of the first Honduran psychologist. On April 21, 2018, the guild of psychologists in Honduras mourns the death of someone who is considered the first psychologist in our country (Proceso Digital, 2021)

In 1974 the Honduran Association of Psychologists was created, a previous step for the foundation of the College of Psychologists and on November 9, 1982, thanks to the management of  Ph.D. Augusto Aguilar, the National Congress of Honduras, approved the organic law of the College of Psychologists of Honduras (COPSIH), which in its 1st article states “The College of Psychologists of Honduras is constituted, with legal personality and its own patrimony, which will be governed by the law of Professional Association required by this law, its regulations and in what is not foreseen, by the other laws. The domicile of the school will be the capital of the Republic” (Colegio de Psicólogos de Honduras, 2021). 

In 1983 the first Board of Directors was elected, whose mission was to prepare and approve regulations, including the internal regulations of the court of honor and the regulations of the assemblies. PsyD Augusto Aguilar serves as current president and has been in nine previous terms (Colegio de Psicólogos de Honduras, 2021). In honor of the approval of the organic law, it is approved that November 9 be institutionalized as the national day of the Honduran psychologist.

Currently within the assets of COPSIH there is a building in Tegucigalpa with 4 floors where its offices are located and another with 4 floors where private clinics rented by members, with their respective parking lots, operate. In San Pedro Sula, COPSIH has acquired another building so that members of the second largest city in Honduras can attend to their patients in private clinics.

The COPSIH membership has grown a lot, since in 1983 there were only 56 affiliates (Colegio de Psicólogos de Honduras, 2021) and today in 2021, their number rises to 5,293, among which there are 63 psychologists with a master’s degree and only 6 (myself too) have a PhD in psychology, that are incorporated and recognized by the National University of Honduras, which is solely responsible for carrying out the process of incorporating degrees obtained from national or foreign universities.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Northern Zone Chapter of Psychologists, under the presidency of Mr. Mauricio Velásquez and MsC. Irvin Cubas, provided free psychological counseling around the country throughout the pandemic. The team of volunteers was previously trained by a program created in Colombia, by PsyD Diego Castrillón under the auspices of the Interamerican Society of Psychology and the Union of Psychologists of Colombia, this training was achieved thanks to the mediation of PsyD Pedronel González Rodríguez (delegate of the Interamerican Society of Psychology of Honduras: 2017-2019).

Currently, PsyD Pedronel González Rodríguez (delegate of the Interamerican Society of Psychology of Honduras: 2021-2023) in alliance with Diario La Prensa, the Honduran Association for Intervention in Crisis and Mental Health, and Montessori de Honduras, are socializing and will deploy in Honduras, with prior written Authorization by email from Dr. Ricardo Muñoz, “the tools to support emotional well-being in children, youth and adolescents”. 

The goal of these tools is to offer healthy ways for children and teenagers to deal with stressful situations, especially in this time that the pandemic continues affecting mental health. This material teaches skills proposed by evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy, compiled in five videos for children and five videos for young people, each with a comic-style pdf option. The topics covered are: deep breathing; increase your favorite activities; calm your mind; note, examine and change your thoughts part 1; note, examine and change your thoughts part 2. 

The tools were the result of the call made by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the United States, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and prepared by ICF an external contractor and under the supervision of a team of experts, led by Dr. Ricardo Muñoz and his team (The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, 2021).

Regarding the growth of the Interamerican Society of Psychology of Honduras, its membership has begun to grow little by little and on June of the current year, it has gone from three members who were active to eight. It is expected that according to the work plan presented to the Vice Presidency of the region and where “the monthly conference sessions with IAPA experts” were included as an activity, we will be able to make our organization visible and continue to attract new members. 

Another achievement that has been made through the management of PsyD Pedronel González Rodríguez, is that Honduras is part of the Latin American Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies (ALAPCCO), since in the 25 years that this Association has just completed, “the Honduras chair was empty ”, as expressed by Dr. Carmem Beatriz Neufeld, current president of ALAPCCO. The Working Group for the Honduran Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy is coordinated by Mr. Carlos Gabriel Zepeda, a graduate of the specialization in cognitive behavioral therapy from the Jesús de Nazareth University and the endorsement of the College of Psychologists of Honduras, this program was created by PsyD Pedronel González Rodríguez and to date two promotions of psychologists from different cities in Honduras have graduated.

References

Colegio de Psicólogos de Honduras. (26 de Noviembre de 2021).Obtenido de https://colegiodepsicologos.hn/historia/

Colegio de Psicólogos de Honduras. (26 de Noviembre de 2021). Ley orgánica del Colegio de Psicólogos de Honduras (COPSIH). Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Obtenido de https://www.tsc.gob.hn/web/leyes/LEY%20ORGANICA%20DEL%20COLEGIO%20DE%20PSICOLOGOS.pdf

Donaire, V. (2002). Historia de la psicología en Honduras. Tegucigalpa MDC: Ingraco.

Proceso Digital. (26 de Noviembre de 2021).  Obtenido de https://proceso.hn/fallece-victor-manuel-donaire-considerado-el-primer-sicologo-en-honduras/

Red Honduras . (26 de Noviembre de 2021). https://redhonduras.com. Obtenido de https://redhonduras.com/historia/historia-de-la-psicologia-en-honduras/

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. (26 de Noviembre de 2021).Obtenido de https://www.nap.edu/resource/other/dbasse/wellbeing-tools/interactive/espanol/tools-for-teens.html

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