Trailer Post: UniPsych Symposium

The UniPsych Symposium happened last Saturday with a total of 27 talks happening over 3 sessions from 10.30am to 4pm. It was a wonderful and fruitful day, with a lot of learning happening throughout the day even during lunchtime and the closing speech. I believe all students who attended this event will agree with me.
Other than the talks, the event was accompanied with an opening speech by the Organisers, NTU and NUS Psychology Societies and InPsych, and a closing speech by Ms Rachel Seetoh, NTU Career Consultant.

Here are the speeches! Apologies for low quality.

UniPsych Symposium Opening Speech by NTU and NUS Psychology Societies and InPsych
video

"The Perfect Job: Myth or Fact?" by Ms Rachel Seetoh 
video

Stay tuned for the write-ups about the talks that happened during UniPsych Symposium!!!

SGPsychStuff @ UniPsych Symposium: What can you expect from UniPsych Symposium

As the symposium draws closer, I am sure many of you are apprehensive about what to expect from it! After all, for many of you this might be the first time attending an academic event like this. So what exactly is a symposium? To put simply, a symposium is a collection of experts (the speakers) in a particular field of study (in this case – psychology), sharing their knowledge and experience with the delegates (us).
With the theme being the first psychology symposium catering to the needs of undergraduate psychology students, you can expect the speakers to be sharing about the various fields that psychology undergraduates are most likely to end up working in. For example, professionals may share what they do on a daily basis, their own personal experiences working in their respective fields, challenges they may have faced when entering the field, and providing advice for any doubts or misconceptions that might be raised by the participants.

Additionally, there will be some recruitment talks which will give participants a chance to learn about potential internship or job opportunities, which is important! Work experience in the field of psychology is hard to get due to the minimum requirements of a postgraduate degree (e.g. masters or PhD); organizations who are willing to hire undergraduate psychology students for psychology-related positions are even rarer.

Furthermore, this symposium will be attended by a wide variety of people, as psychologists and people working in the field of psychology, whom you should network with, so be sure to put on your friendly face and try to make some new friends!
Low Hui Hui and Chan Tsin Damien,
Presidents of NTU Psychology Society and NUS Psychology Society. 
In conclusion, prepare yourself well by having a rough idea of the areas in psychology that you have an interest in, come and learn about the various fields of psychology available in Singapore, and/or also come hear what your seniors have to share. Either way, this symposium will provide an opportunity for learning about the psychology scene in Singapore, and also allow you to meet other like-minded individuals. See you there!

SGPsychStuff @ UniPsych Symposium: Why should you be coming to UniPsych Symposium

Image as provided by UniPsych Organising Committee
It is now 3 weeks to this wonderful event organised by NTU and NUS psychology societies (PsychSoc).  I believe most of you should be registered for this event, regardless of which university or institution you belong to.  The event is not only open to NTU and NUS PsychSoc members, but to all psychology students in Singapore.  The response for the event has been so overwhelming, such that their 100 early bird tickets were sold out in 1 day.  You may still purchase their tickets at $10 for NTU and NUS PsychSoc members and $15 for everyone else at http://goo.gl/forms/HVnqEi3Tp6U0CqZD3.  I do not guarantee a spot for you if you have read this post too late.

So what is so appealing for this event that all psychology students should attend it?

This UniPsych Symposium is very different from other university collaborations, as this time round, they have more than 40 different speakers and 9 concurrent talks over 3 sessions, which is never done before!  NTU and NUS Psychology Societies collaborated together to organize this symposium as the teams felt that there was a need for a platform where all aspiring psychologists and current Psychology students could gain more information about the various options available after graduation.  The objective of the symposium is to gather employers, alumni, and undergraduates together to interact with each other.  Ultimately, the team hopes that all who participate and attend the event will benefit in one way or another.
In terms of the logistics and coordination, I believe this is quite a mammoth effort considering the people behind the scenes are current full time undergraduate students.

If you have been reading my posts in the last two years, you would have noticed that I am a big advocate of students attending events.  I have also noted that students are not interacting enough in my May 2015 post on Interactions of Psychology Students in Singapore with this event being only the third collaboration between universities in the last 7 years.  In that post, I wrote:
It is not enough to only interact with students in your own institutions, as there is only a small amount of people that you will meet considering the number of students studying psychology in Singapore... Events like these are wonderful as they really bring the different institutions together for the overall learning of the students.
A very good reason for you to attend the event is for the networking and the learning that you can gain in that one short day!!  The ability to network and having the thirst for knowledge, curiosity, and a positive mindset are two of the three tips I have recommended that a new graduate would need to stay competitive in the psychology job market.  The job market at this current moment is bleak, and hence you need much more than your degree!
The UniPsych Symposium will allow you to understand from the practitioners what are the "actual" requirements are for the different job positions in the various Psychology fields, and what you will need to do to get a job or further your studies in the psychology field.
For more information about the event, you can refer to their official website and Facebook event page!!!

If you need why you need to do networking, read this post on the "Power of Networking" and here's some tips to help you with networking!!

Here are some events that has happened in this last year:
SPS Student Forum (December 2015)
SPS PsychWeek 2016 (April 2016)
Singapore Mental Health Conference 2016 Part 1 and 2 (May 2016)

SGPsychStud: Stress Management

Image Credit: https://www.emaze.com/@ACQLFRIL/Stress%C2%A0@%C2%A0workplace
“Stress (a), in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself (b), and the result of itself (c).”  -  Hans Selye
We experience stress on a daily basis.  The word "Stress" was coined by Han Selye in 1936, and described as a physiological, emotional, and/or behavioural reaction to any form of change.  In the above quote, it is mentioned that stress in one's environment (b) causes a person to have the perception of experiencing stress (a), resulting in the physiological, emotional, and/or behavioural reaction of stress (c).
With this, Newton's third law "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" can also be applied to our understanding of stress.  Such that for each stressful event that you experienced, you will experience an equal amount of stress.  Situations of low levels of stress cause us to feel low levels of stress, while a high amount of stressful situations can result in us having and exhibiting high levels of stress in different forms such as  physiological, emotional, and/or behavioural.
Hope this is not too difficult to understand.
For more information about Stress, please view the below links:
https://www.psychology.org.au/public/topics/stress-and-wellbeing/
https://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/2014-NPW-Stress-A4-Poster-Infographic.pdf
http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/37-stress-management-tips/
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx

Writing this post is so stressful!!!!
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/55524309@N05/5519749611
But since the topic is on stress management, we should include some tips on the management of stress.  Hence I went through previous SG Psych Stuff posts that were related to stress management, namely "Psychological Burnout - How does it feel like?", "Are you mentally prepared for your exams? Tips included!", and "The "Nothing Box" and Mindfulness", and I found that I have already written about how it feels like to experience high level of stress (the first post), how to prepare to face stressful situations (the second post), and how to be less stressful in your daily lives (the third post)!!
What more is that to write??

The "preppers"and the "non-preppers"
There are two types of people who will succeed even with stress being experienced:
  1. Those who are prepared 
  2. Those who are not prepared
These are different personalities of people, and different people pefer to do things differently.
Some may prefer to be very prepared and have every information at their fingertips, such that they are able to have control over the stressful situation, when it happens.  This allows them to know what to do exactly to deal with the situation.
As for the "non-preppers", those who are not prepared, you may ask how can they succeed?  In order for them to succeed, they usually possess a high ability to control their emotions, as well to relax (learn how to relax here), and a positive view of themselves.  Though they may not be fully prepared, they have the positive mindset and confidence that they will be able to overcome the stressful situation.

So which type are you???
Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/563864815819903974/

SGPsychStud: A Conversation Regarding Psychologist Registration in Singapore

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcwathieu/2980385784
An ex-student texted me and we had quite a interesting conversation, which I thought might be useful for students considering to become registered psychologists in Singapore.  It revolves mainly around doing a research postgraduate degree and the requirements as stated by SRP.  Permission had been obtained to publish this conversation, with names changed and text reworded for clarity.

Before you read further, I would recommend you to read this two posts to understand what is registration and the current situation about registration in Singapore:
Registration vs Membership
Psychologist Registration in Singapore and Updates on the National Psychology Competency Framework
SRP Membership Application website

The current requirements by SRP registration are:
  • Master’s or doctoral degrees in any area of applied psychology. 
    • The degree must include a supervised practicum component and modules in applied psychology (e.g. Counselling, psychological assessment).  The relevant accreditation bodies in the country or region in which the institution operates must accredit the degree earned. 
  • Full membership in SPS.
  • Completion of 1000 supervised practicum hours, with at least some hours must be completed during the degree.  It is not acceptable to do all supervision post-degree. 
In the following conversation, my ex-student is denoted as "N" and SGPsychStud as "S".  

Discussion on the need to be registered and the requirements

N: How important is becoming a registered psychologist?  Apparently they have changed the requirements completely [He was referrring to this SPS page].  Now they no longer recognise those degrees accredited by the BPS and APS.  Instead [the SPS website] say that the postgraduate degrees must be an applied psychology degree which must have supervised practicum (Please refer to the SRP application form).  This would mean that research degrees would not meet the requirement.
S:  Yes.  Masters from Australia  and UK are still feasible, but clinical practicum with supervision would be required.  An easier option is to do a Masters program in Australia which normally include the 1000 hours of supervision.
N:  Could the rules [of having a applied postgraduate degree] be changed again in the near future?
S:  This one is a major change to align everyone toward national registration.
N:  So SPS is intending to regulate the psychology field in the near future?  As in, if SPS is making a major change to align people to certain requirements as a professional psychologist, is it intending to start clamping down on those who are not registered but still call themselves psychologists or practise in this area?
S:  Yes.  Definitely.  So calling yourself as a psychologist may become a professional title,  rather than just a job title.

N:  With this new rule about needing an "applied psychology postgraduate degree", many existing professional psychologists cannot meet this rule, and if they do not meet the requirement and are not accepted into the Singapore Register of Psychologists (SRP), will they be prevented from practising in the future?
S:  It's not really  a new rule.  I can't answer that last question because I'm not in SRP.  The rule would be that once it clamps fully down then all must meet that rule. But for now there are still some flexibility  but case to case I guess.
N:  Would SPS really clamp clamp down eventually? Can it get the legitimate power to do so? And around when will it happen?
S:  Eventually yes.  Next 5 to 10 years is estimated.  But it has already been in discussion for the last 2 to 3 years and announced in this year's AGM [please read this post].  That is why it is important to be in the network so that u know people and the latest news.

N:  FAQ Question 12 says that even if I m registered with the APS through completing the 4+2 program, instead of completing a Masters or PhD, then I would not be able to meet the SRP registration requirements?
It seems the postgraduate degree, be it Masters or Phd, is the crux here, and SRP stated in no uncertain terms that the applicant must have supervised practicum in the postgraduate degree. So if I obtain a Phd without a Masters degree, I can't meet the SRP requirement?
S: The 2 in 4+2 is clinical practicum with supervision, with the exclusion of the Masters degree [Please refer to the Australian system here].
Technically you are right about the 4+2 and Phd degree being unable to meet the SRP requirement.  However, you can choose to do a Doctorate in Psychology that comes with practicum.
N:  But even if I manage to get registered as a psychologist with BPS or APS?
S:  If you are registered with BPS or APS,  you should be able to get registered here in Singapore.

N:  What happens to those who were previously registered psychologists but now cannot meet the new requirements?  Does it means that if I do a research postgraduate degree, I would not be able to be a registered psychologist here?
S:  For previously registered psychologists,  they should have already met the criteria for registration.  For non-registered psychologists with many years of experience, I believe they may just be "grandfather"-ed them in during the process.  Hence it is best that if you plan to register as a psychologist, you may need to do a masters degree with practicum.

Discussion on whether a research postgraduate is accepted for registration

N:  There are so much variety and fields out there.  I am not sure if I'm a people person at all, hence my interest in research.  Anyway, do you think there is a big advantage in becoming registered? Like better employment or business opportunities or international standing?
S:  The main advantage for being registered is that you are a registered psychologist and more networks can be established in your psychological career.

N:  But wouldn't this rule of requiring an "applied postgraduate degree" discriminate against those in certain fields, such as research psychologists or health psychologists?  They have their own curriculum and even if they have a supervised practicum, it may not necessarily involve individual psychologist assessment tools.
S:  It's fine as long as you have the masters and 1000 hours of practicum.
N:  No. The FAQ on SPS website clarified that even if you have 1000 supervised hours after you graduate, it doesn't count if your postgraduate degree doesn't have a supervised practicum. [He was referring to the SRP FAQ Question 11.]
S:  According to the requirements, some of the supervised practicum should be done within the postgraduate program, and hence if all of the 1000 hours is done after the program, it does not count, but you have to ask the SRP to clarify that.

N:  But if I plan to jump straight to a research PhD in the US or UK? Then most likely I would not be able to be a registered psychologist here right?
S:  Some US postgraduate offers supervised training. [Please refer to this previous post on psychological training in US]  However you will have to plan properly.
N:  I'm not sure if research degrees do involve the supervised practicum which SPS is looking for though.  FAQ Question 11 makes it clear that without an applied degree the 1000 hours is pointless.  So I guess one must have an applied psych postgraduate degree.  So certain fields like research and health psychology are likely not to have the practicum and so their corresponding postgraduate degrees won't meet the SRP requirement?
S:  For UK,  students usually finish their masters then find paid supervision to be chartered psychologists in UK.
N:  But if the UK postgraduate degree does not have the practicum component, one may not qualify for SRP registration even after having the post-Masters paid supervision.
S:  So to counter that point,  it would be best to be registered overseas for UK and US before you register with SRP. For Australian postgraduate programs, they will qualify for SRP registration.

*Note: The research degrees mentioned here refer to Phd programs or Masters of Science (Psychology) programs, rather than the applied programs of Masters of Psychology or Applied Psychology.

Hope this conversation creates some thoughts regarding your choices regarding your postgraduate studies, and help you along your psychological journey!!!