Psychology in Malta

Very few people knew what psychology was in the 1980’s. Rev. Dr. Alfred Darminin SJ, Prof. Joseph Falzon and Dr. Alfred Zammit Montebello were three pioneers in psychology in Malta. Through their teaching and through the use of media, they put psychology on the public agenda, introducing psychology both at University of Malta as well as in other non-academic domains. 

The first cohort who graduated in psychology from the University of Malta included Prof. Marilyn Clark and Prof. Mary Anne Lauri, who still lecture in the same department. This degree started as a B.A. in Philosophy and Human Studies held at the Institute of Human Studies at tal-Virtu. These students fought hard to continue their studies at the University of Malta. The Department of Psychology was set up in 1988 with Fr. Darmanin as Head of Department. The first group who graduated with a B.A. in Psychology (Hons.) were less than 10.

The number of students studying psychology increased gradually but steadily. The pressure to introduce the first Masters in Psychology grew as more people wanted to further their studies. Many students had to go abroad to read for a Masters. In 2001, the first 11 M.Psy. students graduated from the University of Malta. 

As the discipline flourished and the number of psychologists gradually increased, an association was set up in 1992. This was the Maltese Association for Clinical and Counselling Psychologists (MACPP) which later changed its name to the Maltese Psychological Association (MPA). Fr. Darmanin was elected president of this association. Some months later, another association, the Malta Union of Professional Psychologists (MUPP) was set up. The first president was Dr. Zammit Montebello. 

Both associations worked greatly in furthering the discipline of psychology and in bettering the conditions of work for psychologists. In 2016, the two associations merged under the new name Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP). The first president was Dr. Roberta Farrugia Debono.

Since 2016, MCP has grown steadily. Members work in various areas of psychology and have made psychology a respected discipline. MCP has its representatives on the Malta Psychology Profession Board (MPPB) which is in charge of issuing warrants for psychologists practicing in Malta. MCP represents psychologists in different fora and is the official representative in negotiating official agreements concerning the work of psychologists. The Chamber regularly holds CPD courses to keep members abreast of new developments in the discipline. MCP is affiliated with the European Federation of Psychologists’ Association (EFPA), as well as with various local and international bodies.