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Egypt

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a broad-based view of psychology in Egypt. The chapter starts by casting some light on Egypt: its land and population and its ancient legacy in medicine and related behavioral thoughts; then the chapter discusses briefly the relevant contributions of ancient Arab scholars in the medieval ages, Egyptian modern psychology pioneers, research interests, new trends in psychology in Egypt, models in Egyptian psychology, psychology associations, conferences and meetings, books and journals, psychology encyclopedias and dictionaries, job opportunities and the image of psychology, teaching psychology and the qualification of psychologists, efforts of Egyptian universities to promote psychology, the influence (impact) of Egyptian psychology/psychologists on the development of psychology in other Arab countries, private practice, ethics codes, and psychology and Islam. The chapter concludes by shedding some light on the strengths and shortcomings of psychology as practiced in Egypt.

Keywords: Egypt, pharaonic Egypt, Islam, psychology

Egypt: Land and Population

Egypt is a country occupying the northwestern corner of Africa, with a mountainous extension across the Gulf of Suez, and the Sinai Peninsula, which is usually regarded as part of Asia. It is strategically situated at the crossroads between Europe and the Orient and between North Africa and Southeast Asia. Egypt is an almost square block of mostly arid land: 995,450 square kilometers south to north (from 22° to 32°N) and 1,240 kilometers west to east (from 26° to 36°E). It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by the Red Sea, on the South by the Sudan, and on the west by Libya. Most of its political borders are straight lines, drawn by the European colonial powers in the 20th century; all have been disputed since the time of their definition.

From the dawn of history, human habitation hinged on the Egyptian people’s ability to harness the River Nile, which annually flooded its banks, depositing a fertile alluvium of silt brought down from Lakes Victoria and Albert and from the mountains of Ethiopia. The creation of a basin irrigation system to capture the silt and store the floodwaters, and efficient devices to raise water from the channels and basins to the fields, was a prerequisite for the evolution of Egyptian agriculture between six and three millennia before the birth of Jesus Christ (Ahmed, 2004; Goldschmidt, 1994).

Modern Egypt, which has pharaonic ancestors and Arab fathers, had an estimated population of 72 million in 2007: 49.6% of the population is female, and 25% of Egyptians are less than 16 years old. A statistical report (Al-Ahram, January 18, 2002) indicated that, in 2000, 32% of the Egyptian population was between 10 and 24 years old. In 2000, life expectancy rates reached 67 years for males and 71 years for females (Ahmed, 2004).

(p. 163) The common language in Egypt is Arabic, however, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, in that order, are also known and spoken in many places.

Egypt is the world’s oldest continuous nation, with a recorded past of over 6,000 years. Often invaded, conquered, and occupied by foreign armies, Egypt has never lost its identity. The Egyptians of today, although they have changed their language once and their religion twice, descend mainly from the Egyptians who built the Giza Pyramids and the Temple of Karnak, who served Alexander the Great and his heirs, who submitted to Augustus Caesar and grew much the grain that fed the Roman Empire, who started Christian monasticism and the veneration of the Virgin Mary, and who advanced and sustained Muslim learning in what is now the longest-functioning university in the world, Al-Azhar University in Cairo (established in 969) (Goldschmidt, 1994).

Historical Roots of Psychology in Egypt

Pharaonic Times

The Egyptians of Pharaonic times thought so highly of medicine that some pharaohs, with all their majesty, bore medical titles, and their mightiest leaders prided themselves on knowing the sacred writings on medical activities. Accordingly, Herodotus said “In Egypt, there are physicians everywhere” (cited in Ghalioungui & Dawakhly, 1965, p. 9). Ghalioungui and Dawakhly (1965, p. 9–10) wrote: “But although Egyptian civilization was built on objective observation, residues of magic and sacerdotal medicine tainted their practice. To satisfy all kinds of patients, there were the healer-priest of the goddess Sekhmet who, though possessing some medical knowledge, acted as mediator between the patient and the gods; the magician, follower of Hika, god of magic, who exorcised demons and triumphed over fiendish charms or inimical spirits; and the lay physicians, or swnw. But even the last was not above spicing his drug and scalpel practice with some magical condiment, as can be seen from some of the titles he bore.” Moreover, the ancient Egyptians were the first to speculate that the brain was the center of the mind and the director of the body (Eion el-Soud, 2000).

The field of psychology has not been alien to Egypt, nor, in the later centuries, to the Arab world as well. In ancient times, the Egyptians had already formed many psychological-philosophical ideas about phenomena such as hysteria, epilepsy, delusions, and dreams, and how to treat some mental and physical abnormalities (Girges, 1967). Caudle (1994, p. 135) wrote, “One of the earliest known documents … is the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, named for the first Westerner who owned it. This Egyptian document, which dates back to perhaps 3000 bc, describes behavioral effects of head injuries, and the brain and its convolutions. Its author, a surgeon, may have recognized in a primitive way that the brain controls behavior, a notion that became lost for thousands of years.”

Islamic and Arab Influences

In the ninth century, and throughout the mid and late medieval period, psychological concepts were generated, coined, and discussed by a broad variety of Muslim and Arab scholars such as Al-Kindi (796–873), Al-Farabi (870–950), Ibn Al-Haitham (965–1039), Ibn Sina or Avicenna (980–1037), Al-Gazzali (1058–1111), Al-Damiri (1341–1405), and Ibn Khaldoun (1332–1406). These scholars developed more or less scientific ideas concerning a wide variety of topics that we find still discussed in psychology as it is known today (Ahmed, 1992, 2004; Ahmed & Gielen, 1998b). The works and ideas of Muslim and Arab scholars influenced, in differing ways, the establishment, march, and development of modern psychology in Egypt (Nagaty, 1961, 1993a, b; Soueif, 1965a; Al-Abd, 1986). One of the concepts espoused by the Qu’ran 1,400 years ago is that human development is seen as a part of a lifecycle and not as separate distinct stages (Soliman, 1990). The Qur’an also describes a huge number of psychological conditions, states, motives, emotions, and disorders.

Modern Psychology in Egypt

Early Beginnings

The last three decades of the 19th century witnessed three important events that influenced the establishment of psychology in Egypt. First, the Al-Abssia Mental Health Hospital, the first mental hospital in Africa and the Arab world, opened in Cairo in 1880. Second, newspapers and magazines, mainly published by a group of immigrant Lebanese and Syrian journalists, were established in Cairo and Alexandria. These newspapers and magazines paved the road for psychology in Egypt because they occasionally published articles in psychology for the lay public (Eion el-Soud, 2000). Third, Egypt started to expand its schooling system by establishing schools all over the country, including teachers’ schools, whose curriculum included some basic psychology training.

(p. 164) The first Egyptian (and Arabic) book on psychology was written in Egypt in 1895 under the title Psychology by Sheikh Mohammed Sherif Saliem. The book was published in 1911 when the Egyptian Ministry of Education decided to use it as a reference for students at teacher schools in Cairo. In 1906 the term psychology appeared for the first time in the curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education in Cairo. In 1891, the Egyptian physician Mohammed Nagaty published a book entitled Insanity. The period from 1890 to 1920s witnessed copious writings on psychology, as Farag (1987) has noticed. In early 1920s, Henry Claparede, while on visit to Cairo, advised the government to established an institute for education aimed at qualification of school teachers. By establishing the Higher Institute for Education in Cairo in 1929, psychology started to be known as a distinguished scientific discipline (Soueif & Ahmed, 2001).

Since its establishment in 1908, Cairo University offered few psychology courses as a part of its philosophy department’s curriculum. Until the early 1970s, psychology was introduced at Egyptian universities as part of the philosophy and/or sociology departments’ curricula. By 1974, separate psychology departments had been opened at the universities of Ain Shams, Cairo, and Alexandria, in that order. Soon, all other Egyptian universities established separate psychology departments.

Between the 1940s and 1970s, psychoanalysis theory garnered huge interest from Egyptian psychologists, especially those who were working at Ain Shams University in Cairo. This was due to the efforts of one Egyptian pioneer, Mustafa R. Zewar, who studied psychoanalysis and medicine in France and who established in 1950 a psychology department based on multiscientific approaches at Ain Shams University (Zewar, 1986).

In 1956, the National Centre for Sociological and Criminal Research (NCSR) was opened in Cairo. Among the activities and duties of the NCSR are the conducting of research, through its units, to investigate societal problems. Under the auspices of the NCSR, several psychological research studies have been conducted. Examples of these studies are the “cannabis project” (known later as the Lasting Program for Drug Abuse), and “the woman’s changing role in the society” project. Through the two periodicals issued by the NCSR since 1958 (i.e., The National Review of Sociological Research and the National Review of Criminal Research), several psychological research studies have been published, mostly in Arabic.

Pioneers in Egyptian Psychology

Psychology as a science started in Egypt in the mid-1930s, when the first Egyptian pioneers in psychology, Abdel-Aziz H. El-Koussy (1906–1992), Yousef Murad (1906–1966), Mustafa Zewar (1907–1990), and Ahmed E. Rageh (1908–1980), returned home after earning their degrees in England (Abdel-Aziz H. El-Koussy, in 1934) and France (Yousef Murad, in 1940; Ahmed E. Rageh, in 1938; Mustafa Zewar, in 1942). These pioneers had a great impact on the development of psychology and education in Egypt and other Arab countries (Abou-Hatab, 1992; Farag, 1987). As results of their efforts: (a) many graduate students were sent abroad, especially to the United Kingdom and France, and later to the United States, while others obtained their degrees locally under the supervision of these pioneers; (b) psychology programs were expanded and increased in number to cover a variety of topics and approaches; (c) programs for postgraduate studies (diploma, M.A., Ph.D. degrees in psychology) were set up; (d) psychological laboratories were established (the first Egyptian psychological laboratory was established in 1929); (e) psychological clinics were opened, the first in 1928, to serve the Higher Institute of Education; (f) many publications appeared and a great number of research studies were conducted; (g) the Egyptian Association for Psychological Studies (EAPS) was founded in 1948; and (h) psychology as a distinct scientific discipline and as a profession received increasing recognition from the public and from officials, which later (in the mid-1970s) helped in establishing separate university psychology departments (Ahmed, 1992, 2004; Ahmed & Gielen, 1998b).

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the second wave of Egyptian pioneers in psychology appeared. These include mostly those Egyptian psychologists who graduated from schools in the United States and United Kingdom. The list includes F. B. Sayed [El-Sayed], L. K. Melieka, M. A. Ahmed, M. E. Ismail, and E. M. Kh. Morsy, and the first Egyptian woman psychology professor, Semia A. Fahmy. The list includes also M. I. Soueif, who earned his doctorate from Cairo University 1954. A few years later, another Egyptian woman, Ramazia el-Gharib, became the second woman professor of psychology at Ain Shams University in Cairo.

Some Egyptian psychologists, especially the pioneers, contributed to international psychology. As an example, Vernon (1971, p. 17) wrote: “The symbol k for the spatial factor was first applied by El-Koussy (1935) who gave 26 tests to 162 boys (p. 165) aged 11 to 13. He showed by tetrad analysis that eight of these obtained loadings on such factor with about the same variance as their g-loadings. According to introspective evidence all these tests seemed to require visual imagery for their successful solution. Other tests employing visual material, together with Cox’s Mechanical Explanation and Completion (i.e., mechanical comprehension) tests, and school marks in woodwork and drawing, gave only low correlations with this factor.” Vernon also wrote (1971, p. 66) “The Thurstones (1938a, 1941, 1948) included numerous spatial tests in their primary mental abilities investigations and obtained a factor which they call S, obviously the same as El-Koussy’s k, even as early as 5 to 6 years.” In the same page, Vernon wrote: “Emmett (1949) recently reanalyzed El-Koussy’s figures and showed that several visual tests, together with mechanical tests and woodwork marks, have almost as high k-loadings as the original eight tests.”

As for F. E. El-Sayed (or F. B. Sayed, as mentioned by Vernon, 1971), Vernon (1971, p. 159) wrote: “Sayed (1951) compared plane and solid geometry at 6th form level with a variety of spatial and other tests, and claimed to find evidence of a 2-dimensional space factor in the former, 3-dimensional in the latter.”

Research Topics in Psychology in Egypt

Although it is not possible here to refer to all psychological studies conducted in Egypt over the last 60 years, and to cover all psychological branches and topics, psychology research in Egypt may be classified in the following five categories (Ahmed, 1992, 1998, 2004; Ahmed & Gielen, 1998b).

Prevailing Paradigmatic Research

In the 1940s through the 1970s, psychometric, experimental, psychoanalytic, clinical, and applied approaches dominated the scene. Some new findings about the structure of intelligence and learning were produced (A. H. El-Koussy, 1935; F. E. El-Sayed, 1951, 1958). The information-processing approach emerged in the late 1960s, and many studies evolved from Egyptian psychology laboratories, especially at Ain Shams University (Abou-Hatab, 1984).

Standardization Of Psychological Tests

Standardization of psychological tests, scales, and questionnaires imported from the West has been an important research interest of Egyptian psychologists since the early 1940s. In the mid-1930s, El-Kappani and El-Koussy were early active psychologists who revised and standardized many psychological tests, obtaining norms suitable for use in Egypt (El-Koussy, 1985); their work is being continued by many others, such as L. K. Meleika, who adapted and standardized many psychological tests, such as the Binet Intelligence Test, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Adults, and several subscales from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) (Abou-Hatab, 1977, 1992; Farag, 1987; Ahmed, 1992, 1999). Other psychological tests, such as Raven’s Matrices Test and Goodenough-Harris’s Draw-A-Man-Test were also adapted to the Egyptian milieu (Abou-Hatab, 1977; Farag, El-Sayed, & Magadi, 1976). Egyptian psychologists have showed an early interest in adapting and standardizing some projective tests, such as the Thematic Appreciation Test (Salama, 1956) and Rorschach’s Ink Blot Test (Galal, 1960), and in exploring the suitability of the Rorschach Ink Blot Test in measuring intelligence (Ghoniem, 1955). By the mid-1950s, Egyptian psychologists started to develop tests, measures, and scales for measuring intelligence and mental abilities. Examples include the study conducted by M. A. Ahmed (1951), who developed a battery for measuring Three-Dimensional Visualization and Mental-Spatial Manipulation. Ahmed’s (1951) study demonstrates for the first time the existence of a distinct mental manipulation factor. It should be added here that, although Egyptian pioneers paid great attention to translating, adapting, and developing measures and scales for assessing intelligence and mental abilities (El-Koussy, 1935; Ahmed, 1951), the later generations of Egyptian psychologists have been involved mostly in translating, adapting, or designing measures for assessing personality traits and social aspects of behavior. In addition, almost all of the ten most used psychological tests in the United States have been translated and adapted to the Egyptian (and Arab) milieu, and only a few attempts have been made to build and development indigenous tests.

Replication And Cross-Cultural Studies

From the early 1960s to the present, many Egyptian psychologists have conducted replication studies with cross-cultural comparisons. They include, for example studies on values (Hana, 1965); youth attitudes (Nagaty, 1962); personality (Abdel-Razek, 2005; Askar, 1996b; Gaber & El-Sheikh, 1978); test anxiety, trait anxiety, and arousability (El-Zahar & Hocevor, 1991); collectivism versus individualism (p. 166) (Darwish & Hubert, 2002); uncertainty avoidance (Darwish, 2005); societal risk perception (Ahmed, Macri, & Mullet, 2006); drug addiction (Ghanem, 2000); children’s perception of parental behavior (Askar, 1996a); adolescents’ gender role (Ahmed & Gibbons, 2007); modernization and parental permissiveness (Nagaty, 1963); identity disorders (Ahmed & Megreya, 2008); the factorial structure and measurement invariance of the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) in Egypt and the United States (Gadelrab, 2006); and Piagetian research with children and adolescents (Ahmed, 1981, 1989). It was noted that, although the majority of Egyptian cross-cultural or replication studies have focused on the comparison between Egyptian and other Arab respondents, very few studies (among them Abdel-Razek, 2005; Ahmed, Macri, & Mullet, 2006; Ahmed, 1981; Darwish, 2005; Darwish & Hubert, 2002; El-Zahar & Hocevor, 1991; and Gadelrab, 2006) have compared Egyptians with subjects from the West. In his conclusion on the status of Arab psychology (Egypt included), Soueif (1998b, p. 581) wrote: “By and large cross-cultural research seems to be one of the few truly promising areas of research among Arab psychologists.”

Special Research Problems

A number of special research problems are pertinent to changing Egyptian culture and society. For example, in response to the rising rate of cannabis consumption since the late 1950s, many interdisciplinary studies were conducted to explore the various aspects of this problem. The first one of these studies was the “cannabis project,” led and supervised for more than 35 years by M. I. Soueif in collaboration with several psychologists working mainly at Cairo University (Ahmed, 1997; British Journal of Addiction, 1988; Soueif, 1990, 1991, 1998a Soueif & Ahmed, 2001). Later, the project was expanded to include studies on substances other than cannabis, such as opium and heroin addiction, addiction to nonprescription drugs, and cigarette smoking. The project employed in its studies several sectors of Egyptian society and population, such as intermediate and secondary students, university students, professionals, and industry workers. The project has inspired some Egyptian and Arab psychologists to deal with the problem of drug addition (e.g., Ghanem, 2000, in Egypt; Debies, 2001, in Saudi Arabia). Soueif has also led a group of psychologists in conducting a series of research studies dealing with extreme response sets (Soueif, 1958, 1965b), creativity (Soueif, 1978), and personality (Soueif, 1990, 1991). Modernization and parental permissiveness (Nagaty, 1963), women’s issues (Ahmed, 1991), and children’s drawings have also received wide attention from Egyptian psychologists (Abou-Hatab, 1977; Farag et al., 1976).

During the last two decades, some Egyptian psychologists have focused on developing intervention programs that are aimed at modifying or improving different forms of behavior, in children and adolescents in particular. Examples of these efforts include Habib’s (2000) study on developing creativity in childhood stages; Abdel-Moety’s (2006) study on the impact of professional intervention in reducing the severity of violence among secondary school students; El-Sayed’s (2006) study on the efficacy of relaxation with visualization and biofeedback training in reducing the levels of generalized anxiety disorder in university students; and El-Beheary’s (2007) study, which explored the impact of a suggested emotional intelligence program on reducing children’s behavioral problems (i.e., aggression, introversion, and lying). Comparison between pre- and post-assessment showed a positive change in children’s behavior as a result of administering the program. Another study (El-Beheary, 2008) has focused on school violence: its negative impacts, prevention strategies, and therapeutic interventions. Another example of Egyptian intervention studies is the study by Mohammed (2006) that explored the efficiency of a suggested multimedia program based on the theory of multiple intelligence on the achievement and development of some thinking and achievement motivation skills among intermediate school students with learning difficulties in science.

Other Egyptian psychologists explored the impact of using emotive-rationale therapy on eradicating superstitious ideas and beliefs among university students (Omara, 1985), the efficiency of an individual and group counseling program in reducing the level of aggressive behavior (Omara, 2004), or improving parental skills and reducing children’s behavioral problems by using a counseling program (Abdel-Sayed, 2003). Others have investigated the need for psychological counseling to confront identity crisis in adolescence (Morsy, 2002).

A few Egyptian psychologists have focused on the effectiveness of proposed programs on improving the capabilities of the mentally retarded. Examples include the study by El-Beheary (2003), which explored the effectiveness of intervention programs based on the Intermittent Limited Extensive (p. 167) Pervasive (ILEP) model of support for individuals with developmental disabilities.

A few attempts have been made by Egyptian psychologists to improve reading process and language education, and to overcome learning difficulties. These attempts include Al-Farmawy’s (2004) study that explored the effectiveness of a suggested program to improve meta-reading skills, and Bedair’s (2004) study, which examined the effectiveness of some suggested strategies for efficient language education in kindergarten children.

Some Egyptian studies have been conducted and aimed at improving psychological aspects through physical education and sports. Examples of these studies include that by Heda (2006), who investigated the impact of a swimming learning program on self-confidence in sample of 9- to 12-year-old blind girls. Results revealed a significant increase in the level of self-confidence due to administering the suggested swimming learning program.

Since the mid-1970s, very few Egyptian psychologists have shown an interest in employing nonpsychometric approaches, such as psychoanalysis and phenomenological methods. Examples include S. J. Abdel-Hameed’s (2006) study that investigated wisdom among the aged by using a phenomenological approach as a framework.

New Trends In Psychology Research In Egypt

Since the early 1990s, some new trends in psychology research in Egypt have become visible. Examples of research in this new trend of research are studies that focused on the impact of crisis and tragic events (Abdel-Rahman, 2003).

Recently, some other Egyptian psychologists have engaged nontraditional topics. Examples include Abou-Hashem’s (2004) book Psychology of Skills, which deals with the acquisition and measurement of linguistic, mathematical, mental-cognitive, behavioral, and social skills.

A book by Bedair (2004) suggested strategies for learning education in kindergarten. Other examples include Awad’s (2001) book Adolescents’ Pressures and Confrontation Skills: Diagnosis and Treatment; Abdel-Rahman’s (2006) Domestic Violence: Reasons and Therapy; and Mershed’s (2006) book on Aggressive Behavior Modification for Normal and Special Needs Children: A Guide for Parents.

During the 1970s, few Egyptian studies have been conducted to deal with political issues. Among these studies are Hefny’s 1970 study on the differences between Ashkinism and Saverdem in Israel, and Al-Mounefi’s 1984 study on political socialization in Egypt (Ahmed, 1998). Recently, some researchers have reactivated this trend. Examples include El-Sayed’s (1994) study on Political Behavior: Theory and Reality; Moussa’s (2001) study on “political psychology: political participation and its relation with some psychological variables in a sample of university students”; and Al-Mestkawy (2007) study “self-image and the other-image: between Arabs and Israel.”

Some Egyptian psychologists explored the suitability of some intelligence theories. Examples include Khader’s (2004) study in which Sternberg’s triadic model of intelligence has been investigated in an Egyptian sample. Other Egyptian psychologists investigated social intelligence and related variables. Examples include Othman’s and Hasan’s (2003) study on social intelligence and its relation with learning motivation, shyness, courage, and academic achievement among male and female university students. Results revealed that social intelligence correlated significantly and positively with academic achievement, courage, and learning motivation, and significantly negatively with shyness. Male and senior students were significantly higher on most aspects of social intelligence compared with their female and junior counterparts.

Emotional intelligence (EI) has received great attention from Egyptian psychologists during the last two decades. The work of S.Y. Al-Aaser at the Girls College, Ain Shams University, in Cairo paved the road for Egyptian (and Arab) psychologists to investigate EI and its related variables, through her translations of required materials, such as books and measures (i.e., Bar-On Emotional Intelligence Quotient Inventory, B-O EIQI), and through her supervision of several master theses and doctoral dissertations.

Similarly, critical thinking and other cognitive aspects received considerable attention from Egyptian psychologists. An early study by Mahmoud (1966) investigated factors affecting critical thinking. Othman’s (1992, 1993) two studies focused on developing an index for critical thinking, personality, and the impact of critical thinking on reducing prejudice level among university students. In a more recent study, Faraag (2006) sought the relationship between university students’ critical thinking levels and factors such as gender, academic specialization (science vs. literature humanities vs. social sciences), and place of residence (urban vs. rural settings). Other Egyptian researchers (Ahmed & El-Shenway, 2005, February) investigated the (p. 168) relationship between critical thinking and extreme response sets in Kuwaiti and Egyptian secondary school and university students.

The last three decades have witnessed a significant increase in the investigation of topics related to childhood. S. K. Ahmed (1997) published a comprehensive explorative bibliography on Egyptian psychology research studies on childhood issues that had been prepared for obtaining M.A. and/or Ph.D. degrees and submitted to some major universities in Egypt (Cairo, Ain Shams, Alexandria, Helwan, and Al-Azhar Universities) between 1990 and 1996. According to S. K. Ahmed (1997) the number of these studies reached 220.

Perceptions of parental behavior and related psychological, social, and demographic variables have attracted Egyptian psychologists since the early 1960s. Several theoretical and Western and locally devised measures have been used. In general, results of Egyptian studies came in line with corresponding Western results (Ahmed, 2008).

Developmental and cognitive issues have received reasonable attention from Egyptian psychologists during the last 10 years. Examples include Abdel-Hamid’s (2006, 2007) studies on counting in Egyptian children with Down syndrome. Other Egyptian psychologists investigated new issues in cognitive psychology, such as face matching and recognition, and the impact of cultural context (Megreya & Burton, 2007).

A few psychologists have paid attention to psychosocial pathology. Among them is the Egyptian psychoanalyst Ahmed Fayek, who wrote in 2001 a book entitled Psychosocial Pathology: Toward a Theory on the Disturbing Relationship Between Individual and the Society.

Some Egyptian studies have focused on topics such as measurement and the use of statistics in psychology. Examples include M. H. H. Mohammed’s (2005) study, which reviewed the applications of factor analysis in educational and psychological research published in two Egyptian psychology journals (Egyptian Journal of Psychological Studies and Psychological Studies) between 1999 and 2003, and revealed that about 25% of these studies have used explorative factor analysis. This body of research includes also Gadelrab’s (2006) cross-cultural study on the factorial structure and measurement invariance of CES-D Depression Scale in high school adolescents in Egypt and United States by using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. In another study by Gadelrab (2007), the focus was placed on the relationship between an item’s cognitive components and its difficulty using path analysis and the Rash Model.

During the last few decades, very few collaborative attempts between psychologists and psychiatrists in Egypt have been achieved, mostly aimed at determining and assessing the physiological mechanisms of general ability (Tantawi, Sayed, & Farwiz, 1994).

During the 1960s, some Egyptian psychologists began to show an interest in investigating topics related to sport psychology. M. H. Alawai was the first Arab psychologist in this field. Due to his efforts, psychology courses have been adopted in sports colleges in Egypt and other Arab countries. In addition to his several research studies in sport psychology, he supervised a huge number of master and doctoral theses conducted by several Egyptian and Arab sport psychologists, which covered a variety of topics related to sport psychology. Also due to his efforts, the Egyptian Association of Sport Psychology was established in the early 1990s, of which M. H. Alawai is the president. One of the major contributions of Alawai is his book entitled Encyclopedia of Psychological Tests for the Athletics (1998), in which he developed and translated from English more than 80 psychological tests cover almost all topics related to sport psychology.

It is notable that Arab psychologists in general rarely build theoretical models in psychology. However, in Egypt, a number of psychologists have developed psychological models during the last 60 years. They are A. H. El-Koussy (the three-dimensional model of intellect), Y. Murad (the developmental model), A. Z. Saleh (the learning model), F. E. El-Sayed (the hierarchical model of intellectual abilities), R. M. El-Gharib (the factorial analysis of practical ability), M. I. Soueif (the model of creative thinking and the personality model), and F. A. Abou-Hatab (the four-dimensional model for cognitive processes) (Abou-Hatab, 1984, 1988a; Abdel-Mawgoud, 2000; Mohammed, 2008).

Psychology Associations in Egypt

At present, there are five psychology associations in Egypt, the EAPS, established in 1948, and one of founding groups of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPYs); the Egyptian Psychologists’ Association (EPA), established in the early 1990s; the Egyptian Society for Psychoanalysis (ESP), which was established by a group of Egyptian psychoanalysts in the early 1990s; and the Egyptian Association for Mental Health (EAMH), which was founded in the late 1970s (p. 169) mainly by psychiatrists. The fifth Egyptian psychology association is the Egyptian Association for Sport Psychology, established in the early 1990s; its membership consists of sports psychologists and interested athletes, who work at Egyptian and some other Arab sports colleges.

Conferences and Meetings

The first Arab conference of psychology was held in Egypt in May 1971, organized by the National Centre for Sociological and Criminal Research in Cairo.

Since 1985, the EAPS holds an annual conference, which is usually well attended by Egyptian and Arab psychologists. The 25th Annual Convention of the Egyptian Association for Psychological Studies (along with the 17th Annual Convention of Arab Psychology) was held February 2–4, 2009 and hosted by the Faculty of Education, Ain Shams University, Cairo.

The First Regional Conference of the Egyptian Psychologists’ Association was held in Cairo from November 18–20, 2007. The conference was well attended by Egyptian and Arab psychologists, in addition to a number of non-Arab psychologists.

The Egyptian Society for Psychoanalysis held it third international conference October 29–November 2, 2008. The conference’s theme was “Terrorism and Violence.” The conference was well attended by researchers from Egypt, Arab, and non-Arab countries.

Publications

In the early 1950s, Yousuf Mourad established, with his associates, the Group of Integrative Psychology (GIP). Under the auspice of the GIP, several organic Arabic-language and translated (from English and French), books have been published. Examples include (Ahmed, 1998) El-Drobey’s book Science of Characters, in 1951; Soueif’s book Creativity in Arts, and in Poetry in Particular in 1954; and Dousseki’s book Panel Psychology, in 1957.

L. K. Meleika’s efforts in introducing psychological diagnosis and treatment (therapy) should be considered. His publications include the books Neuro-Psychology Evaluation and the Development of Psychology, Behavioral Therapy and Behavior Modification, Psychoanalysis and Humanistic Approach in Psychotherapy, and Psychotherapy. During the last two decades, several publications on clinical and counseling psychology have appeared in Egypt. Examples include Soueif’s (1985) book A Source Book of Clinical Psychology, Shoukeir’s (2000) Clinical Psychology: Diagnosis, Psychotherapy, and Psychological Counseling, and Al-Aqad’s Psychology of Aggression/Hostility and Its Control: A New Cognitive Therapeutic Approach (2001). Some Egyptian psychologists have focused on translating Western psychology-related books such as the Scott, Williams, and Beck’s book Cognitive Therapy in Clinical Practice: An Illustrative Casebook (2002).

Books in other fields of psychology in Egypt are numerous. Topics such cognitive styles, creativity, and motivation have ben covered by Al-Sharkawy, who published the following three books: Cognitive Styles in Psychology and Education, in 1995; Creativity and Its Application, in 1999; and Motivation and Academic and Vocational Achievement and Its Evaluation, in 2000. As for criminal psychology, several Egyptian books have dealt with the field, among them M. Fathey’s four-volume book Criminal Psychology: Science and Practice (1950–1965). During the last five decades, several Egyptian books have been published on industrial, vocational, and organizational psychology and/or vocational guidance. One good example is Taha’s (2007) book Industrial and Managerial Psychology. Several books in social psychology have been published by Egyptian psychologists during the last five decades. Examples include M. I. Soueif’s book: An introduction to social psychology, 1962, and L. K. Meleika’s seven-volume pioneer book: Readings in social psychology in the Arab countries, 1965, 1970, 1979, 1985, 1990, 1994, 2002.

M. H. Alawai published in 1998 his Encyclopedia of Psychological Tests for the Athletics, which includes more than 80 locally developed and translated psychological tests for the athletics.

Journals

The first Arab psychology journal was published in Egypt in 1948, entitled Journal of Psychology, under the editorship of Y. Mourad and M. Zewar. The journal published articles in Arabic written by Egyptians, and in English and/or French written by Western psychologists and educators, such as H. Claparede and R. Zazazo. The journal stopped appearing in 1953 due to financial and administrative reasons.

Compared with the other Arab countries, Egypt has a reasonable number of psychology journals. The EAPS began publishing its journal Egyptian Journal of Psychological Studies in 1991. In the same year, the EPA published its journal, Psychological Studies. Since 1996, the EAPS in collaboration with the Arab Association of Psychology (AAP) started to (p. 170) publish occasionally an English language journal under the title Arab Psychologist. Other Egyptian psychology periodicals include Arabic Studies in Psychology, published by a group of psychologists working mainly at Cairo University, and since 2007, published by the EPA. The department of psychology of Cairo University has started recently to publish its Annals of Psychology. Menia University also publishes its own psychology journal, Journal of Contemporary Psychology, until the late 1990s, and then the Arab Journal of Contemporary Psychology, since 2005, and the Egyptian Journal for Mental Health. Each of the faculties and colleges of Arts and Education of all 15 governmental Egyptian universities publishes its own annals/journal for arts, humanities, and/or social sciences. The Center for Childhood Disabilities at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, publishes, since the mid-1990, its own journal under the title Journal of Childhood Disabilities.

In 1993, the Centre of Psychological Counseling, Ain Shams University, in Cairo, started to publish its own journal, the Journal of Counseling, which appear once or twice yearly. The journal publishes articles and research studies written in Arabic by Egyptian and Arab psychologists. A few years ago, the Institute of Educational Research and Studies, Cairo University, Cairo, established a center for psychological counseling. Under the center’s auspices, some research studies on counseling and related topics have been conducted. The center also offers some psychological counseling services, which focus mainly on academic counseling and are directed at the university’s students.

Recently, the Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University, Cairo, established a center for psychological services. The center began in 2005 to publish in Arabic its own journal under the title Journal of Psychological Services.

The Egyptian Journal of Psychiatry and the Egyptian Journal of Mental Health (published by the Egyptian Association of Psychiatry) publish occasionally some psychology articles and research studies (mainly in English) written by Egyptian psychologists.

Since 1989, the International Islamic Association of Mental Health (established in Cairo in the 1980s) publishes its quarterly journal entitled The Assured Soul, which features articles and research studies in psychiatry and psychology.

Finally, the Arab Council of Childhood and Development, Arab League, has published since 2005—and in collaboration with the Institute of Educational Research and Studies, Cairo University—Journal of Childhood and Development, in which some psychological studies on childhood are occasionally featured.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

For the past several decades, Egyptian psychologists have showed an interest in preparing encyclopedias and dictionaries. One of the early efforts in this field was conducted by Egyptian psychiatrist W. Al-Kholy, in his A Short Encyclopedia of Psychology and Psychiatry, in 1976. Other examples include H. A. Zahran’s Dictionary of Psychology (1972), A. Alhefnee’s Encyclopedia of Psychology and Psychoanalysis (1978), K. M. Dessougui’s two-volume Thesaurus of Psychology (1988, 1990), G. A. Gaber’s and A. E. Kaffafi’s eight-volume Dictionary of Psychology and Psychiatry (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995), and F. A. Taha’s Encyclopedia of Psychology and Psychoanalysis (2003).

Some Egyptian psychologists have focused on preparing encyclopedias and dictionaries that deal with certain fields of psychology, such as special education. One example of this kind of effort is A. E. El-Shakhs and A. A. El-Damaty’s Dictionary of Special Education and Rehabilitation (1992).

Other Egyptian psychologists, mainly those with educational interests, have prepared encyclopedias and dictionaries that deal with psychological and educational terms. Among those are M. M. Zaidan’s Dictionary of Psychological and Educational Terms (1979), M. A. Al-Khuli’s Dictionary of Education (1981), and A. Z. Badawi’s A dictionary for the social sciences ( 1982 ).

Job Opportunities

Psychology graduates in Egypt, as in other Arab countries, join the mainstream of the profession by either providing psychological services to meet the needs of the public, or by teaching. Students who graduate with a higher degree in psychology from the faculties of arts have basically two career choices: a university teaching option with a Ph.D., or hospital work, in which they may be hired as psychologists by one of the Ministries of Health, Education, Social Affairs, Interior, or Industry. Here, they work as psychologists for inpatient or outpatient clinics, in one of the public hospitals or schools, or in an institution serving the physically and mentally handicapped, the aged, juvenile delinquents, prisoners, or industry. Students who graduate from the faculties of education are almost certain to move directly into a teaching position at one of the (p. 171) national universities if they have perseverance enough to get M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in education, or at one of the public intermediate or secondary schools with anything less (lesser salary). Psychology graduates in Egypt (as in the most Arab and Third World countries) have difficulty in getting positions as psychologists due to the economic problems, insufficient qualification, and a lack of recognition of psychology’s importance. Only in the oil-producing Arab states do psychology graduates have a good opportunity to work in the field (Ahmed & Gielen, 1998b). Twenty years ago, the Ministry of Education in Cairo decided to provide each secondary school with one psychology graduate to work as a school psychologist; for that purpose, the ministry has hired over the last two decades more than 1,000 psychology graduates to work as school psychologists.

Image of Psychology

As in many other Arab and non-Arab countries, Egyptian psychology faces a lack of recognition and awareness among the public. As Melikain (1984, p. 74) noted (Arab) “psychology has not been recognized as a potential contributor to development planning. Whatever consulting role psychologists have played has been primarily restricted in ministries of education and occasionally ministries of health. However, special education and human services are the areas in which [Arab] psychologists have made a significant impact.” Moreover, studies have shown that the image and awareness of psychology are weak among the public, and even among psychology students themselves (El-Sayed & Khaleefa, 1995; Y. A. Mohammed, 2005; Soueif, 1978). For example, El-Sayed and Khaleefa’s (1995) study showed that although a positive image of psychology and its applications was held by the well-educated public, compared with the lower-educated public, both groups’ images were far from a recent and accurate image of modern psychology. Y. A. Mohammed’s (2005) study found that, although psychology students in general have more positive attitudes toward psychology compared with other disciplines’ students, female psychology students—compared with their male counterparts—expressed more positive attitudes toward psychology and its importance in life.

Teaching Psychology and Qualification of Psychology Students

In Egypt, 15 government-run universities contain 60 psychology departments that belong either to faculties of arts (academic psychology) or to faculties of education (where the departments for educational psychology and/or departments for mental hygiene or health are located). In addition, women’s colleges in both Ain Shams and Al-Azahr Universities have departments for psychology, in which women only are allowed to enroll. Moreover, the 6th of October University (one of the private universities in Egypt) established in the mid-1990s its own psychology department. Finally, the American University in Cairo (AUC, established in 1920) has a branch of psychology.

In general, students need 4 years to obtain a B.A. in general psychology. There is no specialization at the undergraduate level nor at the graduate level. Recently, Cairo University set a plan to offer an M.A. program in clinical psychology (Farag, 2008). Apart from the American University in Cairo, psychology courses are typically offered in Arabic. As a result, most of the teaching materials (and also journals and books) are in Arabic. The impact of using the Arabic language as a medium of instruction psychology is both positive and negative. On one hand, instruction in Arabic keeps psychology integrated with Arab culture; on the other hand, because Arabic is the medium of instruction, many Egyptian psychologists are not proficient in English and are less likely to publish in international journals. Consequently, there is a danger that Egyptian psychology will remain parochial in some respects.

Teaching psychology at Egyptian universities follows the British system. All Egyptian universities have long been offering psychology programs at the B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. levels (along with several academic and professional diplomas). No accreditation system comparable to the American Psychological Association (APA)’s accreditation system for a doctorate program currently exists in Egypt. There is a need to establish standards to evaluate the comprehensiveness and quality of psychology undergraduate and graduate programs in Egypt (and in the other Arab countries as well). It is difficult to evaluate the comprehensiveness and quality of the curriculum because no country-wide rating system exists.

Due to the expansion of psychology departments during the last four decades and students’ exposure to the field, graduate enrollments in master’s and doctoral programs have grown steadily. By 1998, an estimated 20,000 psychology graduates at the B.A. level and 2,500 M.A. and Ph.D.s were already active in Egypt. The ratio of active psychologists is at present about three psychologists per 100,000 population, (p. 172) which, although still markedly inadequate, is the highest of any Arab country (Ahmed, 2004; Ahmed & Gielen, 1998b).

In general, psychology in Egypt (and in other Arab countries as well) is still taught in the colleges of arts or education. These generally accept students with lower scores on the secondary school certificate than is typical for colleges of engineering, medicine, and pharmacology. As in other Arab and Third World countries, psychology in Egypt has not been able to attract many highly qualified students, especially males. Top-quality secondary school graduates tend to select more lucrative and prestigious fields of study (Ahmed, 1992, 2004).

In Egypt, as in the other Arab countries, the majority of psychology students are females (females comprise 70%–80% of psychology students). Consequently, and for several reasons, the number of female psychology graduates who tend to pursue their higher studies (i.e., M.A. and/or Ph.D.) has dramatically increased, compared with their male counterparts, especially during the last two decades. Similarly, the ratio of female psychology staff members at Egyptian universities is estimated at 50%–60% of the total number of psychology staff members in Egypt.

Efforts of Egyptian Universities to Promote Psychology in Egypt

Recently, some Egyptian universities started to offer programs to qualify psychology graduates, as well as other graduates such as physicians, educationists, and social workers, in specialized fields such as speech disorders. Examples include the program on speech disorders offered by Girls College, Ain Shams University, Cairo. The Faculty of Education, Ain Shams University in Cairo, the oldest faculty of education in the Arab world and Africa, established a Center of Psychological Counseling in the early 1990s. The center has played an important role in encouraging and supporting psychological counseling in Egypt and other Arab countries as well. Several programs and diplomas are offered by the center, and a journal for counseling has been published since 1993, as the first and only specialized journal for counseling. In addition, the center holds yearly, and since 1995, an international conference on psychological counseling. The conference represents a good opportunity for Egyptian and Arab psychologists to present their research.

Moreover, the Faculty of Education, Ain Shams University, established and has for many years offered several professional 1-year diplomas in education, mental health, and educational psychology, along with M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Among these professional diplomas is one for the qualification of school psychologists, and another that aims at qualifying psychology graduates in psychological testing.

The Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, established in the early 1990s a psychological center that played an important role in conducting and publishing a good number of psychological research studies conducted mainly by the psychology staff of Cairo University. The center also holds several training programs to qualify psychology graduates in different topics, especially measurement.

The Influence (Impact) of Egyptian Psychology/Psychologists on the Development of Psychology in Other Arab Countries

Psychology appeared in Egypt much earlier than in any other Arab countries. The pioneering role of psychology in Egypt has affected the march and development of psychology in other Arab countries. Gilgen and Gilgen (1987, p. 14) wrote “Egyptian psychology has had a strong influence within the Arab World.” The influence (impact) of Egyptian psychology can be traced as follows:

  • Establishing psychology departments. Several psychology departments have been established through the assistance of Egyptian psychologists. Examples include the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Education, Kuwait University, Kuwait, 1966; the Department of Psychology, King Saud University, Department of Psychology, King Abdel-Aziz University, Ryiad Saudi Arabia, in the 1970s; the Department of Psychology, Mohamed IV University, Fes, Morocco, in the 1980s; and the Department of Psychology, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman, in the late 1980s.

  • Qualification of Arab psychologists. Recent surveys (Ahmed, 1992; 2004; Ahmed & Gielen, 1998b; 2008) showed that a great number of Arab psychologists (from Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Kuwait, Palestine, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Sultanate of Oman, in that order) have studied in Egyptian universities, especially at Ain Shams University and Cairo Universities, in that order.

  • Egyptian psychologists working in other countries. A great number of Egyptian psychologists (p. 173) were (and are) working, permanently or temporarily, at universities located in several other Arab countries, and especially the Gulf oil-producing Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and the Sultanate of Oman), Jordan, and Libya. In 1987, Farag, who called this phenomenon the “brain drain” estimated that 200 Egyptian psychologists are active in other Arab countries.

  • Professional membership. A good number of Arab psychologists hold membership in the EAPS, and/or the EPA.

  • Conference attendance. Many Arab psychologists participate actively at the annual conferences held by the EAPS and the Ain Shams’ Counseling Centre. As an example, at the first regional meeting of the EPA (November 2007), more than 20 Arab psychologists were present.

  • Periodicals and publishing. Due to relatively advanced publishing opportunities in Egypt, compared with other Arab countries, several psychology research studies written by Arab psychologists were published in Egyptian psychology periodicals.

Private Practice of Psychology in Egypt

The private practice of psychology in Egypt started in the mid-1940s, when a very few psychologists began to offer diagnosis and treatment. The practice was greatly influenced by orthodox psychoanalysis orientations. In 1955, a great debate arose concerning passing a law to regulate the private nonmedical practice of psychology. Thanks to the efforts of some Egyptian psychology individuals such as A. H. El-Koussy, Chancellor M. Fathey, A. E. Rageh, and Y. Mourad, the legislation was passed. According to the 1955 law, to get a license to practice nonmedical therapy, Ph.D. degree holders must pass an exam held by a committee that consists of senior officials from the Ministries of Health and Justice, and the heads of psychiatry departments at Cairo and Ain Shams Universities. Between 1955 and 1990, the number of licensed psychologists who practiced privately was very small. The last two decades have witnessed an increase in the number of Egyptian psychologists licensed to practice therapy privately. It could be added here that behavioral therapy and emotional cognitive therapy are most common techniques used by Egyptian psychologists. Very few number of Egyptian psychologists use psychoanalysis.

Ethics Codes

Egyptian psychologists realized early the importance of the existence of ethics codes. The 1955 law that organized the nonmedical private practice of psychologists includes some ethical rules and standards.

The last three decades have witnessed attempts to establish a code of ethics for psychologists in Egypt (see Berkat, 1986; Hamaza, 1986; Mahmoud, 1993). In 1995, the Egyptian Psychologists’ Association called for a forum at which a proposal for an ethics code based on the APA’s regulations and ethics code was opened for general discussion. Later, the ethics code proposal was approved in a joint meeting of the EAPS and the EPA (Taha, 2003).

Psychology and Islam in Egypt

The last five decades have witnessed a growing trend in Egyptian (and to a very lesser degree, Arab) psychology to relate psychology to Islam. Some psychologists focused on the contributions of the early Arab and Muslim scholars to psychology (Al-Abd, 1986; Al-Haj, 1993; Al-Mateily, 1993; Al-Othman, 1963; Al-Sharkawy, 1979; Al-Taib, 1993; Eissoy, 1975; Nagaty, 1961; Othman, 1989; Rabie, 1993; Soueif, 1965a), while others have tried to reintroduce psychology, counseling, and psychotherapy in an Islamic framework (Abou-Hatab, 1988b, 1993b; Al-Sharkawy, 1993; Al-Shenway, 1993; Eissoy, 1988; Ezz el-Din, 1993; Mohammed, 1993; Morsy, 1993; Nagaty, 1982, 1989, 1993b; Soliman, 1990; Taha, 1993). Although few Egyptian psychologists have written about the psychology of invitation (guiding) to Islam, to provide clerks and other religious authorities with a better understanding of non-Muslims (Al-Hady, 1995; Moussa, 1999), very few Egyptian psychologists have dealt with some typical Islamic phenomena, such Sufism (Al-Nagar, 1984). Moreover, other Egyptian psychologists have focused on preparing an ethics code for Muslim psychologists (Mahmoud, 1993). Such efforts can also be found in other Islamic countries, such as Pakistan, as noted by Ansari 1992 (cited in Ahmed & Gielen, 2008), but it is too early to judge the value of these efforts.

Conclusion

Strengths and Shortcomings

To summarize this review (and also according to Ahmed, 1992, 1998, 2004; Ahmed & Gielen, 1998a, b, 2008; Eissoy, 1989; Gielen, 2007; Safwat, 1996; Soueif & Ahmed, 2001), psychology in Egypt (p. 174) (and also in other Arab countries) can be characterized in the following ways:

  • A great number of Egyptian psychology research studies are method-rather than problem-oriented.

  • About 30% of all Egyptian psychological research studies have focused on personality and social psychology, whereas research topics such as cognition and clinical issues have received less attention from Egyptian psychologists. Furthermore, topics relevant to experimental, physiological, neurocognitive psychology, psychopharmacology, and animal behavior have only rarely been a subject of investigation by Egyptian psychologists.

  • A great majority of Egyptian research studies have been conducted by using school and university students. Very few Egyptian research studies have sought to include other populations as subjects. This practice, which can also be found in other areas of the world, greatly limits the external validity of most psychological research conducted in Egypt. It is doubtful, for instance, whether most findings based on samples of urban students can be readily generalized to mature citizens residing in the rural areas in Egypt, many of whom are illiterate or semiliterate.

  • About 90% of Egyptian psychology research studies are conducted by a single researcher. Studies that have been conducted by a research team are rare. Even rarer are those studies that include collaboration between researchers belonging to different specializations, such as psychology, medicine, law, and the like. This situation tends to limits not only the intellectual horizon of the researchers but also the scope of the envisaged research projects, as well as their sustained nature over time.

  • There is far too little continuity in conducting research. A typical Egyptian researcher starts working on a certain topic, but then moves on to study another topics while leaving most questions related to the first topic still unanswered. In most cases, the researchers do not follow-up their findings, which then become isolated. In addition, Egyptian psychologists often come under pressure to leave research for other jobs, such as teaching or administration. There is a certain irony in this situation: while Egypt is frequently characterized as “collectivist,” most Egyptian psychology researchers and those in some other social sciences appear to exhibit a rather individualistic, self-contained outlook that makes collaboration with others inside and outside their disciplines uncommon. Consequently, Egyptian psychologists tend to lack proper contact both among themselves and with their non-Egyptian and/or non-Arab counterparts. For instance, Egyptian psychologists are insufficiently aware of other Arab psychologists’ work (such as Greater Maghreb’s psychologists) and vice versa.

  • Egyptian (and Arab) psychologists in general do not tend to build theoretical models in psychology. For instance, during the last 70 years, only a very few psychology models have been elaborated in Egypt. Unfortunately, these models did not receive enough attention, in part because they had not been elaborated in a proper way. This suggest that Egyptian psychologists find it difficult to develop middle-range theories that can be used to suggest and integrate new research strategies and findings.

  • Egyptian (and Arab) psychology is not well represented in international and/or regional meetings. Inspection of the attendance of Egyptian psychologists is very limited compared with psychologists from some other Third World countries (Iran for example). Some reasons for this situation are that most Egyptian psychological studies are published in Arabic and, as a result, the Egyptian production in psychology is not known to non-Arabic readers (Khaleefa, 2006); Egyptian psychologists have difficulties communicating in English; and economic hardship prevents Egyptian psychologists from participation in such meetings.

  • Unlike psychologists from India, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, and the Philippines, Egyptian psychologists have so far failed to establish an indigenous Egypt/Arab psychology properly reflecting the Arab and Muslim culture, and which contributes substantially toward solving major societal problems.

  • Economic hardships have negative impacts on the development and progress of psychology in Egypt, because there is not enough funding to send a good number of highly qualified psychology graduates to countries such as the United States or United Kingdom to pursue their studies there. There is not enough funding to finance research, and there is not enough funding to support psychologists in attending international and/or regional meetings and conferences.

(p. 175) The preceding, rather skeptical diagnosis of Egyptian psychology shows striking similarities with the reported situation of psychology in many other Third World nations (Abou-Hatab, 1988a, 1993a, 1996, 1997; Ahmed, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004; Ahmed & Gielen, 1998b, 2008; Khaleefa, 2006; Soueif & Ahmed, 2001; see also various country chapters in Stevens & Wedding, 2004), as follows:

  • Export–import relationship with Western psychology: Egyptian psychologists continue to import Western psychology in typically unsystematic ways. Much of Egyptian psychology, both academic and professional, reflects the assumptions, theories, methods, instruments, and research findings found in Western psychology.

  • Cognitive dependency: Most research findings, assumptions, models, theories, methodologies, and tools (e.g., tests and questionnaires) taught at Egyptian universities were imported from the West, including those that may already be judged to be of questionable validity in their countries of origin.

  • Severing the relationship with national heritage: Egyptian psychologists are relatively unaware of the cultural nature of their discipline and have neglected to integrate their national milieu with modern developments in psychology.

  • Conceptual fads and irrelevancy: Most of the imported knowledge was never tested in terms of its compatibility and relevance to the national culture and societal needs. A recent investigation of some of these concepts suggests that they often reflect conceptual fads (M. H. H. Mohammed, 2005; cf. Ahmed & Gielen, 2008; Farag, 2008; Gielen, 2007; Khaleefa, 2006).

  • Inhibition of creative psychological thinking: The epistemological dependence of Egyptian psychology on the West inhibits creativity in Egyptian psychologists and stifles the emergence of an indigenous psychology. It may also weaken the professional identity of Egyptian psychologists.

  • Loss of identity: Egyptian psychology and psychologists are not only suffering a lack or loss of identity; they are also suffering a loss of professional identity. In this context, Ahmed and Gielen (1998b, p. 40) have pointed to a “loss of a professional identity and in many cases, an alienation from one’s national culture. Such feelings of alienation have reinforced the conviction of too many Arab [Egyptians are included] that they are lacking a definite professional identity.”

  • Misuse of psychology: In its beginning, psychology was practiced in Egypt in a way that often served societal needs. Later, and as happened in many developing countries, several forms of misuse of psychology started to appear in Egyptian psychology. Examples of these forms of misuse are adopting (adapting), developing, and devising tools without appropriate psychometric validation; and using and interpreting the psychological tools by many unqualified individuals, including unqualified psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. One example is found in many of Egyptian psychology departments, in which M.A. students are asked to develop their own scales and measures to be used only (in most cases) to collect the data required for their own studies. Another example was pointed out by Farag (2008), who states that, although no real and efficient clinical qualification was offered by Egyptian psychology departments, many holders of Ph.D. degrees in different fields of psychology such social psychology, personality, etc., tend to practice clinical psychology as nonmedical therapists. Farag (2008) added that even individuals who have M.A. and/or Ph.D. degrees in clinical or counseling psychology from any of Egyptian universities (and those are mostly based on investigations irrelevant to clinical or counseling psychology) are suffering a lack of actual, real, and efficient training.

A review of the Egyptian literature in psychology produced during the last six decades shows that this production is not known to non-Arabic readers for several reasons, among them that most Egyptian (and also Arab) psychology literature is written in Arabic, and very few Arab studies have been published internationally (Khaleefa, 2006). Ahmed and Gielen (2008) arrived at some conclusions and suggestions concerning the status of Arab psychology, and such conclusions are applicable to Egyptian psychology as well:

  • Liberate Egyptian psychology from the excessive influence of Western (and especially American) psychology

  • Establish a realistic perception of the scientific, cultural, and political dangers involved in the dependency relationship between the “exporters” and “importers” of psychology.

  • (p. 176)
  • Create an efficient integration of the national heritage and Egyptian society’s contemporary needs.

  • Develop research strategies, assumptions, models, theories, methods, and instruments (including tests and questionnaires) that are relevant to the national culture and society.

  • Emphasize the importance of successful psychological intervention. Mere understanding is not enough.

  • As Gielen (2007) suggested, Arab psychologists (among them Egyptians) should “think globally and act locally.” Egyptian psychologists, especially the younger ones, should be encouraged to achieve a two-fold goal: to base their research studies on solving problems within their own society, and at the same time, to conceptualize and publish their findings (which have been arrived at by using internationally accepted methodologies) in accordance with international standards. Thus, psychology in Egypt needs to become intellectually independent while also measuring up to international standards concerning theorizing, research, practice, and pedagogy. Only thus can psychology become an effective force for appropriate social change while also contributing to world psychology (Stevens & Wedding, 2004).

  • At present, the main challenge for Egyptian psychologists is to provide high-quality degree programs in traditional areas of psychology while creating new programs, particularly interdisciplinary ones, that will attract the finest students and faculty members. To do so, it is necessary to evaluate current and potential resources and build on these assets to develop areas of strength that will enhance the visibility of psychology in Egyptian higher education and better serve society (Ahmed & Gielen, 2008).

  • In addition, Ahmed and Gielen (1998b) have suggested the foundation of an institute of Arab psychology in Cairo, to develop more effective networks of communication and cooperation between different disciplines across national and cultural borders. The ultimate goal of such an institute would be to establish a creative culture supporting fresh theorizing, cumulative research, and informed criticism.

In brief, much work needs to be done by Egyptian psychologists, as well as by those of many other nations in the so-called developing world, before psychology can assume its rightful place as a science and practice that is intellectually mature, socially useful and responsible, and internationally oriented while preserving its local identity and relevance.

Future Directions

This critical review of the progress of psychology in Egypt indicates that some other questions should be answered: What are the variables responsible for the process of development in the society? Which factors could lead to enhancing the learning process, especially for younger students? What are the factors affecting social cohesiveness? What is the relationship between aggressive/hostility/extreme behavior and both social structure and religion? What is/are the factor(s) responsible for phenomena such as the high rate of divorce, high rate of crime, and especially crimes among family’s members and relatives? What variables are related to creativity and creativity development?

Further Reading

Further Reading

Abo-Ghazala, S. A. G. (2008). The effectiveness of a counseling program based on reality therapy in improving marital adjustment. Psychological Studies (Egypt), 18(2), 333–370 (in Arabic).Find this resource:

    Al-Nassag, W. R. (2007). The optical density of the RNA and Nucleoprotein as a function of meta-emotional deficiency among mentally retarded children. Egyptian Journal of Psychological Studies (Egypt), 17(55), 419–460 (in Arabic).Find this resource:

      Behgat, R. M. (2005). Enrichment and critical thinking: An experimental study on gifted primary school children (2nd ed.). Cairo: Alem al-Koteb (in Arabic).Find this resource:

        El-Hussieny, H. H. (2006). A model for cognitive and non-cognitive components of self-regulated learning, and its relationship with academic performance in the light of Self-System, and Expectancy-Value Model of Motivation. Egyptian Journal of Psychological Studies (Egypt), 16(50), 385–436 (in Arabic).Find this resource:

          Kafaffi, A. M. (1997). Developmental psychology: Psychology of childhood and adolescence. Cairo: Al-Riselat Establishment (in Arabic).Find this resource:

            Saleh, N. A. A. (2005). Lateral asymmetry in affective psychosis patients. Egyptian Journal of Psychological Studies (Egypt), 15(47), 397–432 (in Arabic).Find this resource:

              Shoukeir, Z. M. (2001). Social pathology and current problems. Cairo: The Anglo-Egyptian Bookshop (in Arabic).Find this resource:

                Soueif, M. I. (2001). Practice clinical psychology in the Egyptian cultural context: Some personal experiences. International Journal of Group Tensions. 30(3), 241–266.Find this resource:

                  Tohamy, H. A. (2005). Sex differences in inter-hemispheric transfer. Egyptian Journal of Psychological Studies (Egypt), 15(47), 433–459 (in Arabic).Find this resource:

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