YK Poudel 

The Bhutan Board for Certified Counsellors (BBCC) Mandate was transferred from the Respect, Educate, Nurture, and Empower Women (RENEW) Secretariat to the Bhutan Qualification and Professional Certification Authority (BQPCA) under the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) in Thimphu yesterday.

Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Royal Patron for RENEW, was the chief guest at the event. The executive director of RENEW, Tshering Dolkar, handed over the BBCC Mandate to the Director of BQPCA,Duba, in the presence of Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck.

Tshering Dolkar said that RENEW in collaboration with the National Board for Certified Counsellors (NBCC) in the United States developed the standards for the certification of the counselling profession and professionals in Bhutan in 2008. “Under Her Majesty the Gyalyum’s guidance, RENEW has dedicated one of its core services to counselling since its inception in 2004.”

The transfer of the BBCC mandate from RENEW Secretariat to BQPCA, she said, was a milestone journey since its establishment on September 1, 2015. “BBCC helps register, certify and train counselling professionals such as counsellors, psychologists and social workers.”

RCSC’s chairman, Karma Hamu Dorjee, said that the establishment of BBCC enabled Bhutan to professionalise counselling in the country. “The incorporation of the mandate of BBCC into BQPCA is the culmination of the steady and relentless efforts over the years.”

The initiation of the Civil Service Reforms in 2021, she said, provided us with the opportunity to accelerate the process which culminated successfully for BBCC being incorporated under BQPCA with the enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act 2022.

The transfer of the BBCC mandate to BQPCA is expected to enable the BBCC to work within the ambit of the civil service and ensure its sustainability and continuity as a civil service agency.

BQPCA’s Director Duba said: “We shall continue to function as a competent authority for qualification accreditation, professional certification, and national qualifications framework of registered counsellors in the country.”

The BQPCA was launched this year on January 9 as per Section 25 of the Civil Service Reform Act 2022.

“The BBCC mandate and Medical and Health Professionals Council (MHPC) as the certifying body for counselling professionals will work towards establishing a professional development training institute for certified counsellors who require updating their knowledge and skills to continue their practice,” Duba said.

BBCC Mandate

The BBCC was launched in 2013 by Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck.

BBCC under RENEW Secretariat has certified a total of 489 counsellors under four different categories: 12 under the supervisory level (with PhD and Master in related fields of counselling, five years of work experience, and 400 practice hours), 53 under the Master level, 264 counsellors under the associate level (school counsellors), and 160 under the peer level with specific training and workshops in the related fields.

BBCC has re-certified 112 counsellors, trained 766 counsellors in mental health facilitation, and conducted two international counselling conferences until now.