Sarlito Sarwono, chairman of the one-year-old Asian Psychologist Association, says Western theories dominate psychology but that the models are not necessarily applicable in the East.

 

"Long-time studies and experience have proven that not all  Western theories fit the Eastern context," he said.

But developments including the rise of Asian economies, terrorism in Indonesia and disasters in Asia have prompted more thought about Asian perspectives, he said.

Psychologists from around the world now see "that the Asian  community should be seen from an Asian perspective, and not the psychological approaches developed in the West," Sarwono told a press briefing.

Monty Satiadarma, the organisation's secretary, said the congress hoped "to provide more opportunity for Asian psychologists to develop approaches for Asian problems".

Understanding extremism

Among the topics at the two-day weekend seminar will be terrorism psychology, Sarwono said.

Bekto Suprapto, who heads Indonesia's anti-terror detachment, will give a briefing on the country's handling of terrorism cases, while Sarwono will present psychological profiles of some well-known detained terrorists.

Indonesia has suffered a spate of bombings in recent years, including the October 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people - mostly Western holidaymakers.

Using Asian approaches, the symposium was aimed at helping the world develop more effective programmes to prevent terrorism, the association said.

"It is necessary to find a way to prevent future terrorism and  to develop counselling techniques for the detainees to prevent them from becoming terror recidivists," Sarwono said.

About 150 participants from nine Asian countries as well as  Australia, Canada and the Netherlands will attend.