SGPsychStud: Having a Mentor for Your Psychological Journey

I have first mentioned about networking on a July 2013 post.  Since early 2015, I have been advocating the idea of building your network as one of the most important factors to build your psychological career.  It has been mentioned throughout these posts:

Jobs (Part 8): Summary + Major reason for expanding your network (January 2015)
SGPsychStud: Applying I/O Psychology Knowledge to Get a Job (April 2015)
SGPsychStud: Staying Competitive in the Psychology Job Market as a New Graduate (May 2015)
SGPsychStud: Career Planning for a Psychological Career (Part 1) (October 2015)
SGPsychStud: Career Planning for a Psychological Career (Part 2) (October 2015)
SGPsychStud: Career Planning for a Psychological Career (Part 3) (October 2015)
SGPsychStuff @ UniPsych Symposium: Why should you be coming to UniPsych Symposium (July 2016)

Image Credit: http://dab.25stories.org/256
For undergraduate studies, students may have to find their internships themselves, which can be quite challenging in the first place with no connections at all.  Internships, though recommended, also tend not to be compulsory by the local universities.  With the current financial situation in the market now, companies and organisations may not take up too many interns or even any interns at all.
Networking at every possible event is a good thing to do, but purely attending events with no interactions or/and having shallow conversations with the psychologists and other professionals may not be very beneficial at all, even if you may have connected with them via social media for future communications.

So what may be a better method to have a deep and longer lasting relationship with the professionals?
Recently, a student came to seek advice, and the topic of mentorship came up, which we discussed as a good alternative to the traditional methods of networking.
Image Credit: http://www.efccl.org/mentoring/
Why is having a mentor a good idea?
Like internship, it allows you to have a connection with the mentor/s, which can be developed into a long-term mentor-student relationship.  However it reduces time and financial load on the mentor/s and organisation/s.  The mentor and mentee can arrange to meet a few times a year, with communication to be done online.  The mentor can also guide you along in your psychological journey, and possibly introduce you to more professionals and the real sights of the psychology industry.

Do find a good mentor! Here are some websites with some tips:
1) https://www.fastcompany.com/3052068/know-it-all/8-successful-people-share-how-not-to-find-a-mentor
2) https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249950

Which Australian university should I go to for my undergraduate psychology degree?

Image Credit: http://www.psychologycouncil.org.au/course-search/singapore/
The above is the pathway for all those who plans to be registered in Australia as a psychologist.

I spoke to some students interested in studying psychology in the last week and they asked a similar question:
Which Australian university should I go to for my undergraduate psychology degree?
Step 1: Understanding Yourself
Understand which areas of psychology you are interested in.  You may look up and read the respective pages in the Australian Psychological Society (APS) website to learn about the areas of psychology.  These areas are the areas of practice endorsements as shown in the image above.

Step 2: Knowing APAC
First and foremost, I would introduce the APAC (Australian Psychological Accreditation Council) and they have the list of accredited programs in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, which includes all accredited undergraduate and postgraduate programs.  APAC allows you to switch universities from undergraduate level to postgraduate level as a result of their accreditation of the programs, which truly embodies the quote of:
"All schools are good schools"
Read this to know more about APAC.

Step 3: Identifying universities of interest
After identifying areas of psychology you are interested in (Step 1), you can go through the list of universities in the different countries (Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia) and states in Australia.
 My tip is to go through all of them and have a brief look at the postgraduate programs offered by all the universities.
From APAC website: Click the Country (Blue Arrow) and/or Australian state, followed by the Postgraduate Courses (Red Arrow)
Clicking on Postgraduate Courses will bring you to the postgraduate programs offered by the universities.  An example would be: the APAC-accredited postgraduate programs offered in Singapore  (link: http://www.psychologycouncil.org.au/course-search/singapore/#5th)
You can identify possible universities by seeing which universities offer the areas of psychology (in their postgraduate programs) that you are interested in.
You may ask why postgraduate programs?
The postgraduate programs offered are an indication of the specialities that their professors, in the respective universities, major in.  It implies that you will be learning from the best and well-respected academia in Australia, by undergoing the undergraduate and possibly the postgraduate degrees in the universities.  Why not learn from the best?

Step 4: Making your choice
After identifying the universities that are aligned to your areas of interest, you may then consider the following (not in any specific order):
  • Annual tuition fees of programs
  • Scholarships available (which means reduction of fees)
  • Advanced standings or module exemptions available (if you are articulating from the diploma level) to help you reduce the study time in the university
  • Accommodation (on-campus or self-rental) and surrounding factors, i.e. transport and accessibility, surrounding facilities, etc.
  • Summary accreditation reports by APAC (to assess the quality of universities and programs by the APAC standards)
  • Entry requirements (the minimum 'A' level grades or Polytechnic GPA results to enter the programs)
So, have you made your choice?

SGPsychStud: Dealing with Stress as a Non-Prepper

As mentioned previously, there are two types of people who will succeed whilst experiencing stress:
  1. The Preppers
  2. The Non-Preppers
For more information about the preppers and non-preppers, read my post about Stress Management.

Honestly, I am a non-prepper, who usually have these qualities according to the previous post:
"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."
I am been very busy at work lately, and hence the lack of posts in the last two months.  Feelings of frustration at work and doing overtime past my supposed working hours has become a norm.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/55524309@N05/5519749611
So how do I fix the situation???

I know that I need to maintain my positive mindset and stay confident that I am able to get over the situation (and piles of work).  But staying positive is not going to get rid of the massive amount of work.  So here's what I did on a daily basis:

1) Evaluate what is important and what is not
Have you heard of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule?  Most importantly, the tasks are most important take up about 20% of your time, while things that are not so important take up about 80% of your time.  Therefore it is essential to first identify what is important or necessary to do first, and clear them before anything else.

2) Focus on the important things ONE at a time
After identifying the things I need to do, I would move on to clearing them one at time.  However there is always the tendencies to move back to my email inbox or web browser, and notice the other tasks I may also need to do, and start having my attention moving to the other task.  This is highly inefficient as work do not only not get done, most of them are only half done.  This may be due to my main issues of distractions and multi-thinking (thinking in a multi-tasking manner), which actually reduces my efficiency.
Therefore it is essential to concentrate on ONE thing at a time, and get the tasks completed, which is the most important thing to do.

Image Credit:  http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/a2/a22da701da96f4869d3bcf4318830d41a25e494ad8ebb969e689536cea7bb3c0.jpg
3) Take breaks to recharge and calm down
With some much work to do, it is normal to experience anger and frustration.  Hence it is important to have breaks (i.e. water breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks, toilet breaks) are important as they allow me to just take a walk, to be alone (or with people), to calm down, to vent my anger, to distract myself (through playing mobile games), etc.
Mainly taking a break allows a short period of time of distancing oneself physically and mentally away from the work, which allows me to think more clearly and rationally (and in a better mental state) before coming back to do the necessary work better.  Even writing this post is a kind of a break.

I hope that these tips also help you when you are stressed out with your work or studies.  You may read here for more tips!!!

SG Psych Stuff: The Team (Who are We??)

Hi everyone

This is SGPsychStud!  Thanks for all your support throughout these five years!  Since the establishment of SG Psych Stuff in July 2011, it has always been a OMS (One Man Show) where I wrote the blog posts, invited guest writers to do some guest writeups, updated the social media daily, going to events and talks and doing reflections on them.  It has been very tiring for me and does take up a long time to produce quality posts for all of you.  Hence this year, I decided to recruit some helpers to help me out on different tasks, which means more and better stuff for all of you!  You may have already noticed some posts by them during the past few months.
So here's an introduction of myself and the team:

SGPsychStud - Blog Owner and the "Bao Ka Liao" (Do-It-All)

A lot of readers think that I am Dr Majeed, because of the most famous and most read post in this blog.  However, I am not.  I am just a dedicated educator with a Masters in Applied Psychology, with years of working experience doing research and teaching in tertiary education in Singapore and Australia. I also hold several other certifications in counselling and coaching.  I see myself as a curious and passionate learner, with the love of educating and helping students (and in the midst, influencing psychology students in Singapore for greater changes in the future!).

You will often see me at events, so that I am able to bring you the latest news and information about psychology in Singapore.  As mentioned previously, my role in the Singapore psychological arena is to be a critical observer and reporter of what is happening in our small psychology world here.  This is all in the hope to improve psychology in Singapore and assist students, like yourself, in your journeys in psychology.

Personally I do hope to see more recognition of psychologists as a professional in Singapore, and not restricted only to the common understanding of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.  This in turn may probably result in accreditation of psychology programs in Singapore (I hope!). To understand more about accreditation, please read these posts:
What we need NOW in Singapore psychological education and training system
Accreditation of programs and Registration of psychologists

To know more about my thoughts and reflections, you may find them in here at About This Blog or the label SGPsychStud's thoughts (on the right column).

Introduction of Brenda by SGPsychStud:  
Like the Avengers in the movie, we have a pretty female on the team to balance out the testosterone in the group.  She is in charge of managing the Twitter account (@SGPsychStud), which her posts are also directed to Facebook.  Here's her introduction!

Brenda - The Social Media Manager

I have just graduated from UCL Institute of Education in MSc Psychology of Education.  I have also completed a Professional Diploma in Psychotherapy.  My education background focused on the field of psychology and counselling.  I have worked with a voluntary welfare organisation as an Executive Case Management before I pursued my Masters.  My job was to evaluate the cancer patients' financial condition and provide necessary financial assistance to them.  On top of that, I did home visits and to provide psychosocial support to the cancer patients and the family members.

As for myself, I love travelling and to experience different cultures.  I also do art and craft and music during my leisure time.  I am a great listener to my friends when they need someone to listen to them.

Psychology is definitely fun to learn.  I hope Singapore could provide more opportunities for fresh graduates or individuals who are interested in psychology a platform to have hands-on experience.  Not only does the theory important to us, the practical skills matter to us as well.

Introduction of Jon by SGPsychStud:  
Jon was invited to do the reflection on the SPS Psychweek 2016 in April and has since represented SG Psych Stuff in other events such as Singapore Mental Health Conference (Part 1, Part 2) and UniPsych Symposium (Sessions 1, 2, 3).  Stay tuned for more of his events posts soon!!

Jon - The Events Guy

Hello everyone, my name is Jon and I'm currently pursuing my Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) at James Cook University.  I am also working part time as a research assistant within the University, and am part of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

In my free time, I am an active volunteer at the Institute of Mental Health and lead a group of passionate youths to serve the mentally ill.  I am also involved in mental health advocacy and working to promote the field of psychology in Singapore.

I would really like to see more integration and cooperation within the Singapore psychology scene as I believe the only way we can move forward as a field is to put aside our differences and work together.  This would mean that the various fields of psychology (clinical, organizational, forensic, etc.) would need to come together, share their experience and good practices within each of their fields so we can establish a proper framework from which future psychologists wishing to enter the field of psychology can adhere to.

Introduction of Jerry O. by SGPsychStud:  
Jerry is a psychologist that really knows how to enjoy and have fun.  Being in his class is not never boring, and as commented by fellow colleagues, he is a true "edutainer".  You will believe me when you see him face to face and have a casual talk with him.  With his passion in helping students, I believe his contributions will bring SG Psych Stuff to greater heights!

Jerry O. - The Consultant

By training, I’m a counselling psychologist. I graduated with a Masters degree in Counselling from Monash University (Australia) in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Southern Queensland (Australia) in 2005.  I see myself as an individual with diverse and cross functional expertise as an educator, psychologist, counsellor and youth-worker, with over ten years of experience in working with youths and young adults; specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).

I have worked in many different environments, from one to one and group therapy sessions, to classroom lessons with Normal (Academic and Technical) stream students in secondary schools, to polytechnic student, to conducting motivational workshops and giving talks on at-risk youths or mental health to adults and professionals.  I am also currently a full-time Psychology lecturer and counsellor, as well as a volunteer Defence Psychologist.

When we use the term Psychologists in Singapore the perception is that it often refers to clinical psychologists.  I hope to see an inclusivity in the recognition of psychologists from other fields like organisational, counselling, forensic psychology, as well as psychologists who chose the path of education (teaching) in psychology.

Final note by SGPsychStud:
If you wish to help out by joining the SG Psych Stuff team or writing a guest post, please feel free to fill in your contact details and message in the Contact SGPsychStud column on the right!

SGPsychStud: Training pathways and Registration Requirements for Psychology, Counselling and Social Work

Image Credit: Singapore Psychological Society (SPS) , Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC), and Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW)

This post is focused on the training pathways to be registered psychologists, counsellors, and social workers.  The information as mentioned in this post are illustrated from websites of the above associations and societies. 
Before we move on in this post, there are a few things to clarify regarding registration:

Why should one be registered? 
To be registered would indicate that you have achieved the highest standards and gained full competence of the profession, and hence qualified to practice as a registered professional.

Can I work without being registered?
Yes.  To work in the professions, you need the minimum academic qualifications and experience; however registration is not mandatory (for now).
Image Credit: http://singaporepsychologicalsociety.org/singapore-register-of-psychologist/srp-membership-application/
What is the difference between Psychologists, Counsellors, Social Workers?
You may find the descriptions of the three professions here in this SG Psych Stuff post: "What's the difference?"

Training pathway and registration requirements to become a Psychologist

For more information and details, please view: Pathway for Singapore Psychology Education

  • 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. 

Training pathway and registration requirements to become a Counsellor

To become a counsellor, there are several recognised postgraduate local counselling programs that you can do, after your undergraduate studies.  This list of programs below is available from Singapore Association for Counselling.

To be able to register with SAC Register of Counsellors, you need to have:
  • Graduated from an accredited institute of higher learning and has also completed recognized training courses in counselling theory and content (of a minimum of 300 contact hours altogether).
  • Counselling Practicum or Internship as part of the degree programme, which includes a minimum of 100 hours in the practice of face to face counselling under clinical supervision.
  • Completed 600 hours of face-to-face counselling within a minimum period of two years, subject to a maximum of three years.  
The counselling supervision, which must be by an SAC Registered Counsellor or SAC Registered Supervisor, or a Clinical Supervisor approved by the institute will consist of at least one hour of clinical supervision for each ten hours of counselling practice.

Training pathway and registration requirements to become a Social Worker

Image Credit: SASW (http://www.sasw.org.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=207&Itemid=212)
According to Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board (SWAAB), here are the requirements to qualify to be a Registered Social Worker (RSW):
  • Possess social work qualifications recognised by the Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board (SWAAB) (as above)
  • Have one year of post-qualification full-time social work experience in Singapore
  • Have 80 hours of relevant in-employment training
  • Have 1,000 hours of supervised practice during study and/or post-study employment

Conclusion:  Regardless of the profession, it seems like a specialised undergraduate or postgraduate training is required, as well as  600 to 1000 hours of supervised practice.  There is a lot of commitment required for these professions, and hence hard work is definitely needed!