UniPsych Symposium 2018 (Part 3) - Coverage on Sessions A

Image Credit: https://unipsych18.wixsite.com/main
Other than the Keynote Adress by Dr Majeed and the Panel session, UniPsych Symposium also offered 3 concurrent sessions, featuring up to 10 talks in each concurrent session.  The image below shows all the talk titles.  We have covered those talks which are in the blue boxes and will be writing about them in the next three posts!
Image Credit: https://unipsych18.wixsite.com/main

Session A6:  Pursuing A Career in Clinical Psychology
Speaker:  Muhammad Haikal Bin Jamil  (Founder / Clinical Psychologist from ImPossible Psychological Services)
Covered by:  Rachel Lim
Image credit: http://www.impossiblepsychservices.com.sg/psychologists

What exactly does a clinical psychologist do?  And how does one embark on a path towards that role? 
Muhammad Haikal Bin Jamil, Founder and Clinical Psychologist of ImPossible Psychological Services, addressed some of these commonly asked questions in his talk  ‘Pursuing A Career in Clinical Psychology’.

Crime dramas first piqued Haikal’s interest in forensic psychology, but he eventually discovered that reality differs from the fictional glamour we see on television.   Furthermore, he cited low crime rates in Singapore as a possible lack of motivation for some people to pursue a career in forensic psychology.

After acquiring a master’s degree in clinical psychology, Haikal became a psychologist at MINDS (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore).  There, he specialised in assessments and interventions, such as behavioural modifications to assist persons with intellectual disabilities.  Apart from that, he conducts workshops and talks on mental health too.

Haikal discussed the confusion regarding the job scopes of counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists.  There are degrees of overlaps between the various roles, but the main difference lies in each type of training the professionals go through.
For more information, please refer to: https://sgpsychstuff.blogspot.com/2013/02/whats-difference.html
“Why do you want to become a clinical psychologist?” 
A word of advice from him  –  Should you ever get that question in an interview, steer away from answers such as “I want to help people”, as there are many professions that allow one to help others too, including social work.  Being a clinical psychologist does not merely provide assistance;  it allows one to empower people by lifting them out of debilitating situations.  Nonetheless, clients need to possess a desire for change in order to work together effectively.

There may be a few challenges that come with being a psychologist.  Initially, one may need to process difficult emotions.  It is crucial to be emotionally stable in the first place, be able to detach and have proper self-care.  The nature of work requires a high level of confidentiality, so there is little outlet to share the challenges faced in the job.  Thus, having a good network of support from peers is helpful too.  Haikal goes on to share the challenges he faced in his own private practice – that is apart from being a psychologist, he also has to actively network and market the business.

Haikal advised for those aspiring to carve out a career in clinical psychology to get a good clinical supervisor and obtain relevant experience in different settings such as prisons, hospitals, social service, and private practice.  It is beneficial to consider a sub-specialty as well.  There seems to a demand for clinical psychologists, as the ideal psychologist to population ratio in a developed country is 1:10,000.  We are still far from that figure, so there is little need to fret about an oversaturated industry.

Session A4: Psychology in Singapore: A Path to Nowhere?
Speakers: Dr Jessie Chua and Conrad Mark Lim (from Resilienz Clinic)
Covered by:  SGPsychStud
Conrad Lim (left) and Dr Jessie Chua (right)
Jessie asked this question:
Does this degree lead you to nowhere? 
She started with mentioning that a lot of students are feeling anxious about their career options and pathways, as the competition for graduate studies and work is very tough.  She advised that instead of feeling anxious, we should have the mindset that "the world is your oyster".

After compiling a list of information that the participants wanted to find out, Conrad discussed the differences between the different helping professions.  With the brief description of the different helping professions such as psychologists, counsellors, and social workers, he also noted that there is no official regulation of these different jobs.
He also commented that there are actually many other other careers for psychology graduates to consider, such as human resource,  marketing,  research work, or even general business management.

Jessie advised:
Your degree is like your first love.  Sometimes u need to break and learn more and continue.  You never know where you will end up to.  You have to really think about what drives you.   Ask why and think about where you want to go next. 
SGPsychStud:  My talk-away from this talk is that you have to be really clear on your choices with regards to your future work and studies in psychology.  You have to be very reflective and ask yourself what you really wish to pursue among the different helping professions, as they can all be very different.  Your degree is only your first step;  however you have to do much more to have a better understanding and knowledge for what you really wish to pursue in psychology.


This post is written by SGPsychStud and Rachel Lim. Rachel is a first-year psychology student from the Singapore University of Social Sciences. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is currently working as a writer.