In early 2001 the Gestalt Institute in Malta (GPTIM) tried to give graduates in Gestalt psychotherapy but who had not satisfied entry qualifications to the Gestalt Psychotherapy course some kind of recognition as they could not qualify as psychotherapists. So they contacted the KANA movement to set up an association together that would create a new term: Gestalt Counsellor. They contacted the then coordinator of counselling courses at the University to be the association’s president.
To her credit this person declined and called a meeting for all qualified counsellors during the last week of June 2001. During the meeting she gave all those present details of how an attempt was being made to create an association for counsellors by non-counsellors which was excluding the qualified counsellors, and told us to tackle the issue ourselves as she felt that she could not do it, herself being a psychologist rather than a counsellor. In fact she made a plea that if a new entity would be set up, this would be made up entirely of qualified counsellors.
A working group was set up to address the issue immediately. We asked for meetings with Kana, and started writing in the newspapers about the counselling profession and about who could hold the title ‘counsellor’. At this point it seems that Kana was still going ahead with its foundation and a first AGM from their end was organised. We asked one of us to attend and challenge the foundation. Because of this, the Kana/Gestalt AGM postponed the setting up of the association till January 2002. Kana/Gestalt then asked for a meeting with us and demanded that its counsellors should be given the same status as us qualified counsellors. This was flatly refused by the for qualified counsellors who attended this meeting. At this point, we as a working group decided to go it alone and fixed the first AGM for January 2002. The Kana counsellors were going to call themselves the Malta Association of Counsellors and fixed their AGM to be held one week before ours. In view of this the Malta Association for the Counselling Profession was suggested as the title of our Association us qualified counsellors, including the word ‘profession’ to make the distinction between qualified counsellors and unqualified persons. In the end the Archbishop called the Kana counsellors and ordered them to desist from founding a rival association to the one being founded by the qualified counsellors. The founding of MACP took place at Serracino Inglott hall at the University where the first statute was approved. The foundation was witnessed by a lawyer of repute. The first committee was made up of fully qualified counsellors and set the following agenda for the next few years:
- Get University to offer a masters in Counselling
- Make the Counselling profession known locally
- Work towards the profession being recognised legally
- Make Maltese Counselling known internationally
- Provide the best training possible for Maltese Counsellors
All these points became reality in the space of a few years. The first that was immediately addressed was to get a globally known name in counselling to provide training in Malta.