SGPsychStuff Goes to UniPsych Symposium 2017: Part 3

SG Psych Stuff was invited to this year's UniPsych Symposium, and Jon, Xav, and myself joined me in this wonderful event.  We will share with you our thoughts about the symposium (Part 1), the talks (Part 2), as well as our take-aways from the symposium (Part 3)!  Click on the links above for Part 1 and 2!

Question 3:  What are your key take-aways from the respective talks?

Jon:  My key take-aways having attended both the IMH talks as well as the positive psychology talk are that you have to be really sure of the path you are taking before choosing the field you wish to pursue in psychology.  Particularly because psychology is such a broad field and there are so many potential careers to pursue within it.  Furthermore, given that most jobs in the psychology field require at least a master’s degree so you are talking about minimum 6 to 7 years being taken up solely to pursue your studies. Even 6 to 7 years can be considered a less conservative estimate, especially if you take into account the probability of being rejected from graduate school, or the waiting time to being accepted for a graduate program.  I think it is essential to be sure of what you want before choosing to pursue psychology.  Also, networking as mentioned by my two colleagues is key in this field, especially with how small the circles are in Singapore.  Everywhere you go, you’ll definitely see familiar faces so it doesn’t hurt to get to know more people and making that effort to actually maintain a positive working relationship with them, because you never know when you may chance across them again.

Xav:  From the talks I attend, I realised that aside from passion, it is crucial to have self-awareness if one wishes to pursue a career as a Psychologist.  As a psychologist who wishes to help others, it is important to know the reasons why you want to pursue this job, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, and actively work to improve on them.  As put by Dr. Sandor Heng, the psychologist who shared on behalf of NAMS:
“Be aware of what your own issues are and work on them, otherwise they will get in your way of helping people through their problems.”
Apart from being self-aware, I recognise the importance of networking in the field of Psychology.  During lunch, I was grateful to be able to speak to a few speakers and understand that being in the field of helping people, it is imperative to be flexible and resilient as you may meet clients that may not respond well to the type of therapy used and require a different type of approach.  It is also cardinal to be humble and open to experiences as there is so much to learn not only from fellow colleagues in the field, but also from the patients you are treating.

SGPsychStud:  Takeaways from the keynote lecture, the Brahm centre session on Mindfulness and the panel discussion by private practitioners:
  1. We need to keep in view of possible trends in our industry, and take note of the relevant skills that we need to build, especially for young graduates and psychologists.
  2. Mindfulness is not a difficult practice to do, which sometimes we just need to stop, feel our breath, and be aware.
  3. To experience flow, we need to be aware and mindful of our own physical sensations, thoughts and feelings, and not to be instantly reactive to everything that happens. 
  4. Find our what your passion is and let it drive you towards what you do in your work.
  5. For those planning to go into private practice, you need to build a cliente base, and make sure you can cover your expenses for at least 6 to 9 months.
  6. Always upgrade your knowledge by attending courses, researching and reading up, and improving on yourself and your practice.
  7. Do self-care.
  8. Work towards understand yourself as a practitioner. Make sure to get supervision.
  9. Always network.
This post end our reflections from SG Psych Stuff team members who attended the UniPsych Symposium. From all this final post (and the earlier ones), you can see that there are some similar takeaways and reflection points, which are 1) know yourself, and 2) always make sure to network! This points have always been noted in our posts in SG Psych Stuff!

Know yourself and start craving your career well!