SG Psych Stuff @ UniPsych Symposium: Session 1

The SG Psych Stuff team was invited to the UniPsych Symposium that happened on 13 August at NTU The Hive.  Overall it was a very well-organised symposium, with every participant gaining great insights at the end of every talk!  Congrats to the UniPsych Team!
Due to the lack of manpower, we only managed to cover 13 out of the 27 talks that was conducted over the three sessions.  All these talks will be presented on this blog based on their sessions: Session 1, Session 2, and Session 3.  The talks are covered by the SG Psych Stuff Team (SGPsychStud, Jerry O., Jon) and two guest writers (N.L. and A.F.)
Thank you UniPsych Team and we hope to see you again next year!!!

Session 1 Room 1:  Psychology in EBSC (Emergency Behavioural Sciences and Care Unit)
Speakers:  Mr Tan Wei Jie, Ms Stephanie Lim
Talk covered by:  N.L.

What was the talk about?
The EBSC is a psychological unit in the SCDF which comprises of two main branches, namely operations psychology and resilience and counselling psychology.  The talk centres on the details of what they do in these two branches.  For example, in terms of operations they support both local and overseas operations.  An example of what they do for local operations would be morale management for SCDF personnel involved in national-level events such as the NDP, F1 and SEA Games.  For overseas operations, they tend to mentally prepare, monitor and maintain the psychological wellness of the vanguards.  They also conduct psychometric assessment to assess the suitability of candidates for different positions, build resilience through regular trainings, manage the critical incident stress management framework and conduct counselling for the SCDF staff.

Last but not least, they also covered the "sexier" aspects of the job, such as having opportunities for career development and training where they could attend local and overseas conference.  They also mentioned that internship opportunities are open for university and polytechnic students.

Conclusion of the talk
One of the speakers, Mr Tan Wei Jie, has cautioned that the EBSC is not a pure research job and he also has to take on multiple portfolios (even those outside of his expertise) and has to be quick to adapt to them.  However, this also means that he is exposed to a wide range of experiences and has the opportunity to grow from them.

Thoughts/feedback/comments on the talk
Overall it was a very informative session with lots of details being dished out.  It also helped that the more experienced member in the EBSC, Ms Stephanie Lim, provided astute and deeper insights whenever necessary.  Both speakers were also very open in answering questions even the hard ones, such as the one raised about how to inform the workforce about the importance of psychological maintenance given their macho culture.  One may want to keep in mind the hierarchy and also that they will need to be able to build rapport with the front-line staff should they want to apply for this job.

Session 1 Room 6:  Life After Graduation
Speaker:  Desiree Phua
Talk covered by:  SGPsychStud

What was the talk about?
Desiree is a current PhD candidate in Nanyang Business School with a specialisation in social psychology, and is about to defend her thesis in the next month.  During her talk, she discussed her previous background, education and work history till where she is now at.  Through her experiences, she provided an insightful talk about the difficulties of starting a research career, her Phd experiences, as well as what are needed to pursue a PhD.  Her learnings from each of her years of work and training in research were also included.

Conclusion of the talk
Based on the knowledge shared in Desiree’s talk, she provided some very useful tips and advice for those who wishes to pursue a research postgraduate degree.  Her advice on doing a Phd include:
"Don't choose university, but choose your supervisor. Your PhD supervisor will determine whether you will experience heaven or hell."
"The Phd is much more than your studies; about your career, your CV."
She mentioned that students need to ask themselves "What is the one question that you want to ask?" if they wish to pursue a PhD.  She also advised students to explore as many experiences as possible, and to keep learning new things  [She even did a Post diploma in Cell and Molecular Biology (Ngee Ann Polytechnic) for genetic knowledge/work and self-reading for advanced statistics modelling techniques].

Thoughts/feedback/comments on the talk
It is a really genuine and relatable talk, as it covers Desiree's real life experiences and her own thought processes in her experiences.  In order to connect better during the talk, she even asked all the attendees to give a brief introduction of themselves before she started her talk.

Her previous work experiences, connections, university training and lots of self-learning and reflection has brought her to where she is now.  These experiences have taught her a lot and she has shared these experiences in order to benefit the students’ learning and experiences, which was very beneficial and wonderful for all.

Her No. 1 tip for graduates:
"Don’t limit your options. Be open to experiences.”

Session 1 Room 8:  A Normal Day of a Clinical Psychologist in a General Psychiatric Setting in IMH
Speaker:  Miss Leung Hoi Ting
Talk covered by:  Jon

What was the talk about?
The first talk of the day was by a clinical psychologist Miss Leung Hoi Ting, and was packed with people who were looking to take up clinical psychology in the future.  She started off with introducing herself and the reason for wanting to become a clinical psychologist (partially due to her enjoying the feeling of trustworthiness when other share their worries and sought her support).

Having understood her, she then cleared up some of the myths of what a clinical psychologist does:
  1. Psychologists can read minds (they cannot)
  2. Psychiatrists are the same as psychologists (psychiatrists are medical doctors while psychologists are postgraduate degree holders, and while they both work with individuals with mental conditions, their approaches differ;  psychiatrists focus more on the biological aspects such as chemical imbalances in the brain, while psychologists focus more on thoughts, behaviours and feelings)
  3. Clinical psychologists in hospital setting only do therapy (they actually do a lot more).  For example, a significant portion of their work lies in conducting psychological assessments (e.g., IQ test, Personality test, Neuropsychological test) and writing up reports.
Following which, she shared about a typical week at work which includes duties at the outpatient clinic, in the ward setting with inpatients clinic, department meetings, and multi-disciplinary team (psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, medical social workers, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, pharmacists, case managers) meetings.

Conclusion of the talk
Miss Leung also stressed the importance of being a team player as she shared some of the challenges of working in a multi-disciplinary team (e.g., difference in opinions of how to treat a patient as everyone is a subject matter expert in their field).  She then shared on the importance of a work life balance and self-care because of the nature of the work that requires psychologists to be emotionally attuned to patients’ needs.
To conclude, she encouraged us to really evaluate why we want to become a clinical psychologist, and to understand the challenges of working with individuals with mental conditions so as to make an informed decision.


  1. Hi I am interested in the EBSC internship, but i can't seem to find their website online. May i know who can i contact?


Post a Comment