Rural practice presents important yet challenging issues for psychology, especially given the North American and international distribution of the population, levels of need for psychological services in rural settings, limited availability of rural services, and migration of rural residents to urban centres. Direct service issues include the need to accommodate a wide variety of mental health difficulties, issues related to client privacy and boundaries, and practical challenges. Indirect service issues include the greater need for diverse professional activities, including collaborative work with professionals having different orientations and beliefs, program development and evaluation, and conducting research with few mentors or peer collaborators. Professional training and development issues include lack of specialized relevant courses and placements, and such personal issues as limited opportunities for recreation and culture, and lack of privacy. Psychology will need to address more fully these complex issues if rural residents are to receive equitable treatment and services.
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