The third annual conference of the Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) yesterday, opened in Accra with a call on Ghanaians to change their attitude to work, time and unproductive ways or else the nation's search for a golden age of business would remain a dream.
Dr Robert Akuamoah-Boateng, Head of the Psychology Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, who was speaking at the opening of the two-day conference, said the change could only happen "if the people have studied attitudes and attitudes change for several decades are involved in the effort".
The conference, which is under the theme: "National Development: The role of Psychology", would treat topics including: "Psychological Concerns and Help Seeking Behaviour"; "Africans Ethos as a Basis of Holistic Treatment Paradigm"; "Psychology and National Reconciliation"; "Psychological Assessment: Validity, Reliable and Cultural Fairness of Psychological Tests".
Dr Akuamoah-Boateng said psychologists have important roles to play in the development of the people and the nation as a whole and called for a concerted effort to educate people on who they were and what they could offer as psychologists.
Dr Akuamoah-Boateng, who is also the President of the Association, said Psychologists could counsel and guide people who may have HIV/AIDS or involved in road accidents; planning for retirement, boredom, loneliness, accommodation and finance to have change of behaviour. It is very unfortunate that people treat psychological matters as spiritual, thereby paying huge sums of money without having their problems solved.
He said, even though, some Pastors and Reverend Ministers have studied psychology and counselling during their training, there were many out there who did not have such an opportunity. "It has been suggested that for such people, the Association would organise training programmes and lecture for them on some basic knowledge on the subject to help in their various professions".
Dr Angela Ofori-Atta, Deputy Minister for Employment, Manpower and Development, urged practicing and student Psychologists to endeavour to be more open for their clients to make choices since certain behaviours did not come out of the blue but by circumstances. She called for a by-law that would sanction any practitioner, who would go beyond the laid down regulations of the Association.
Mr Joe Donkor, Deputy Minister for Education, Youth and Sports, said the Ministry's was doubling efforts for the quick enactment of the Psychology Act, which, he said, was currently before Parliament.