SGPsychStud: Two Reasons Why Everyone Should Study Psychology

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"What?!! Everyone should study Psychology? Why?"
You might be thinking the above questions right?  Yes.  Everyone should study Psychology, or at least a few modules related to counselling.

In the last 10 years, there has been a large increase in the number of people studying psychology or being interested in psychology.  This may be due to an increased number of people who have achieved the first two levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs (as below) and seeking the other top 3 levels.  This phenomenon could be due to an increase in their socioeconomic status, hence allowing them to achieve the first two levels easily.

However, why should everyone study psychology?  Here are the reasons:
  1. Gaining a new perspective
  2. Gaining better communication skills
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In arguments and conflicts, the root cause in miscommunication.  This has already been discussed in detail in this November 2015 post.  However, miscommunication can be greatly reduced if (a) everyone understands the other person's point of view or perspective and (b) have better communication skills.

Gaining a new perspective
As mentioned before in a previous 2011 post, studying the different modules in a psychology program allows a person to develop more rational and critical thinking.  This changes in thinking allows him/her to take up different perspectives and hypotheses when discussing different topics and/or issues.  With this psychology training, one may tend to look at the world and life a bit differently.

Gaining better communication skills
How do we gain better communication skills?  This skills are mostly developed in the counselling modules.  Benefits of these skills include better engagement with others, higher chances of convincing others, having better clarity in the communication, and developing stronger rapport and relationships with others.
As non-verbal communication accounts for 93% of our communication with others, it is important that we note our non-verbal communication during our dialogues.  The skills include active  and reflecting listening, as well as displaying empathic responses.

To learn more about active and reflecting, please visit:
Recommended books:
Egan, G. (2013). The skilled helper: A problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping (10th edn.). California, USA: Brooks/Cole
Ivey, A. E., Ivey M. B., & Zalaquett, C. P. (2013). Intentional interviewing and counseling: Facilitating client development in a multicultural society (8th edn.). California, USA: Brooks/Cole

SGPsychStud: For Therapy - Empathy

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It has been a while since I  wrote about counselling and/or therapy topics.  The only two posts that are directly related to counselling are:
Analogies - The passenger and the driver
For Therapy - The thinker and the observer

Recently I have took up a counselling course to polish and revise on my counselling skills, and during the course, the topic of 'Empathy' came up and it resonated deeply in me.
So what is 'Empathy'?

A very famous TED talk by Dr BrenĂ© Brown explains the difference between empathy and sympathy:

In my opionion, I believe that empathy is one of the main skills that a therapist would require.  Having empathy enables the therapist to be able to relate better to the client's emotions during the therapy session.

Did you know that there are three types of empathy?
According to Daniel Goleman, they are "cognitive empathy", "emotional empathy", and "compassionate empathy".

Having empathy is an essential ability that all therapists should have and could be developed over time; however scientists are still unsure of the feeling of empathy occurs in our brains.

Do you want to know how empathic you are? Take this test now!
Lastly, have you heard of the case of the woman with "hyper empathy"? Read it here on!

OverComeD: First OCD campaign in Singapore

This is a requested post by a group of final-year Communication Studies students from Nanyang Technological University, currently conducting a campaign on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as part of their final year project.  They would like to share their experiences and knowledge with each and every Singaporean.
SG Psych Stuff have decided to show support for this campaign by publishing this post and sharing the Facebook posts from OverComeD.  For any comments and/or questions, you may direct them to their website or Facebook page (as written below). 

“Wah you so neat ah?  You so OCD sia!”  Sounds familiar?  Most of us would have at least used a similar phrase to describe someone or ourselves.  It is no surprise then that the majority of us do not know that OCD, also known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is actually a mental illness that affects 1 in 33 Singaporeans’ daily lives.

Having started the first-ever OCD awareness campaign in Singapore, we aim to let youths aged 18-25 know more about OCD.  Throughout our journey, we are also honoured to have met people with OCD who have not only shared with us their stories but encouraged us to share their experiences with each and every person.

To those of us who still have little idea on how OCD is such a serious problem, imagine having to buy a new hand soap every day because you cannot stop washing your hands, or collecting so many items that your family member has to sleep at the staircase outside your house.  This is what happened to Julia, also known as the poster girl for OCD, who suffered from OCD for 23 years.  It was a long and arduous recovery journey for her.

OCD can also manifest in the form of thoughts.  Hazique’s constant obsession with religion and a constant need to search for answers to satisfy his thoughts, left him unable to cope with his studies.  He is close to recovering, though his mental fatigue due to his constant thinking makes it hard for him to concentrate for long.

We also met a very sweet lady, who if not for her OCD compulsion to rewrite sentences till they were perfect, would have had a different career path.  Clara* was a top-performing student in secondary school and having had to keep up to that standard, she turned into a perfectionist.  This then led to her having to be “perfect” in everything, including her writing, and that brought OCD into her life.  She is on the road to recovery, living her life just like every one of us, though she does not hold a pen till today.

There are more of such eye-opening stories that we have come across.  These people live a normal life today thanks to organisations such as Club HEAL and IMH which provide therapy and help for people suffering from OCD.

On this note, we would like to encourage all of you to do your part in providing social support for anyone whom you know may have OCD.  And the first step would always be to encourage them to seek help because the faster they seek help, the easier it is to treat and the better their lives would be.

For more information on our campaign, visit our facebook page and our website

*Name have been changed to protect identity of person
Disclaimer:  Pictures and videos are permitted to be used by campaign organiser.