SGPsychStud - Why? Why the blog?

Why? is my favourite question.  It opens up a lot of questions and you can get a lot of different answers for the same question.  It also helps me to understand the person who I am talking to, in the way they feel, think or rationalise about something, so it is a very good and important question.

Why the blog?
When I first came back from Australia, I had very high hopes of getting a psychological-related job through my experience in Australia.  However, I was shocked about the psychological arena in Singapore that there was no proper regulation of psychologists in Singapore.  This meant that anyone, any Tom, Dick or Harry, can call him/herself a psychologist, even without the proper credentials and training.  This is still happening today.  I understood that SPS and SRP are already doing their best, but as compared to what are being done in other countries, we are still miles and miles away.
With this annoyance and frustration, I decided to convert this energy into what I do best:  teaching and educating people.  Hence this blog is targeted at current and prospective psychology students, to educate and help them in this journey in being a psychologist or having a career in a psychological-related field.

In the reaching of the blog's 2 years anniversary in two months, I believe and hope that this blog has helped you in some way or another.  Good luck in your studies!!!

SGPsychStud: For Therapy - The thinker and the observer

As I am recently teaching an introductory class on counselling theories and the skills involved in counselling, this is one of the things I kept emphasizing to my students during the role-play portions of the classes:  They have to develop not only the thinker but also the observer in them.  I believe this is the reason for why you have triads in counselling role-plays.   

To elaborate,  the thinker is a person who is able to think about the issues of the client, analyse them, and to assist the client to come up with the solutions to help him/her with the issues.  This person is analytical, rational, and able to guide clients to their solutions, hence the "thinker".  On the other hand, the observer looks at the client, to empathise and to feel those emotions that the client is feeling, and also to note the emotional/inner conflicts that the client is experiencing (Carl Rogers called it the "incongruence" of the client).  This person is hence empathic, genuine, and a person who provides warmth to the client without any judgement, and these qualities are displayed with the skills of the "observer".  However the state of having both the thinker and observer in one person is very difficult to achieve for a student; it takes time and many counselling skills to build up this two parts of a good therapist.

To be a good therapist or counsellor, it is true that you should have a good knowledge of observation skills, questioning techniques, and active listening skills, the abilities to use these skills, to have this whole range in your arsenal, and modify them according to your own requirements and personality.  However, these skills are just only skills; they are just the starting points of being a good observer.  For a good thinker, you also need to have good knowledge of your own psychological framework and the strategies used through the framework.  

It takes a lot of time and effort to become a good therapist (regardless of which health occupation you are).  With the knowledge and analytical abilities of a good thinker and the empathic understanding and good counselling skills of a good observer, that is when you start your journey as a good therapist. 

Jobs (Part 7): Advice for the less job-experienced..

This is long overdue, as requested by a reader of the blog, on advice on what could be done to help  in the midst of looking for jobs.  So what can you do, if you have graduated and yet to get a job??
  1. Don't panic!!  Most people panic, as family members and relatives will start asking "Have you found a job?" and "Why are you still at home and not working?"  Most do not understand the realistic nature of work in Singapore now, hence please forgive (and ignore) them if possible.  Here are somethings you can do to show them that you are doing something for your career.
  2. Consider doing a postgraduate program in psychology if this option is possible for you.  Even doing a Honours program might increase your chances of getting jobs, allowing them to be more specific jobs like research assistants.
  3. Keep looking for jobs!  Sign up and register with all the local job search engines to maximise your search.  Let the job vacancies come to you as much as possible, to the limit that they spam you like those online deal emails!  You should also apply for those positions which require 1 to 2 year work experience.  Though the employers are looking for someone with a bit of experience, but no harm trying, right?  Remember the median duration of employment is 8 to 10 weeks, so it might still take some time to get to the job you want.
  4. Go as many interviews as possible! This will help in your self-presentation and conversational skills. The more interviews you go for, the better you get at introducing yourself, and at the same time, that would also increase your chances of getting a job!
  5. Expand your knowledge of psychology as much as possible!  Don't just bury yourself in your books.  Go out and experience psychology in its real form (through internships/volunteer work), in how it has been applied in our everyday lives, and then go back and analyse why it happens like that.  Also make sure you get the latest psychological information and knowledge through recent research articles and by attending conferences and events.  All this knowledge will definitely help in building up the psychologist in you!

Good luck with the job search and hope all these advice helps you to get to your ideal job!!