Published on February 2, 2022

Social psychologist - an integral part of improved social services in Turkmenistan

Nyazik Akyeva is always looking forward to a new working day. Every day she meets with a different people with one main goal - to provide them with psychological help.

Nyazik, a child psychologist, and young specialist in a very young profession.

Nyazik always dreamed of becoming a psychologist. After receiving a specialist degree from the Turkmen State University named after Magtymguly, and then a master’s degree of Psychological Sciences in the Republic of Belarus, she returned to her homeland to put into practice the skills she received during her studies to help people in Turkmenistan.

By a happy coincidence, the return of Nyazik to Turkmenistan coincided with the start of the selection of participants in a new joint program “Improving the system of social protection through the introduction of inclusive quality community-based social services”, implemented by the UN and the Government of Turkmenistan.

“I am very happy that I got the chance to be a part of this program and work in a profession that I love so much. The social psychologist is a new specialty for our country. I hope that by my example, I will inspire others to study and develop this specialty.”




As part of this program, it is planned to prepare the social protection system of Turkmenistan for the provision of inclusive quality social services at the local level. This initiative is aimed at assisting vulnerable groups in solving various problems they face, getting out of difficult life situations and allowing them to lead an independent lifestyle.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population and with the participation of key ministries and institutes, a new model of inclusive services at the local level has been piloted since November 2020, and 45 social workers have been hired and trained to provide primary social services at the local level in 20 etraps throughout Turkmenistan. Under the same programme, during 2021, UNICEF piloted four new specialized social services, such as active support for families with children at the local level, support for families with children with disabilities, reintegration of children from an orphanage, and social support for youth in the process of reintegration from residential institutions to the family and community.

In Ashgabat, within the framework of this program, two of these services were piloted: active support for families with children at the community level and support for families with children with disabilities. Nyazik is part of these piloted services, with 18 cases underway.

In cooperation with social work specialists, Nyazik helps large families with many children, families in difficult life situations, families with children with disabilities to overcome their difficulties, establish friendly relations, develop, and consolidate parental competencies necessary for the development and upbringing of a child, etc.

“The work of a psychologist in our social project is aimed at ensuring the mental health and personal development of recipients of social services. In my work, I use various methods of psychology, such as, for example, conversation, counseling, individual and group therapy, etc. The conversation is carried out in order to relieve the state of acute psychological discomfort, stress, reduce the level of psychological discomfort and the level of aggression, fear. It is also carried out at the first meeting with the recipient of services to identify the causes of conflicts, disagreements in the family, in relations with others and the social environment.”

The stages of the work of a psychologist consist of conducting and summarizing the results of a psychological examination, assessing the psychological needs, risks and resources of clients, identifying the psychological characteristics of their social environment and living conditions, as well as identifying typical psychological problems of different social groups. Further, "road maps" are drawn up together with clients in order to determine life goals and objectives at specific stages of socialization, the formation of norms of social behavior.

“People do not always realize that they need help and are always grateful to us when we successfully complete their case. Sometimes people just need to speak up and hear the opinions of professionals.”




Further, on the basis of the survey and the results obtained, identified in the preparation of the "road maps", the motives and goals of the recipients of services, together with a social work specialist, an IAP (individual assistance plan) is drawn up, which prescribes the methods, timing and ways to achieve the goals.

“I really love my job; I never have two similar days. People are different, and their life situations are just as different. The most pleasant thing is to realize that we really help people, to see the results of our work and smiles on their faces.