Growing up, I always thought I’d have a career in the sciences. I didn’t have a clear direction about which career pathway to pursue, so when my family suggested that I pursue a Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences (University of Alberta, Canada), I agreed.
As interesting as it was to learn about the different enzymes in our bodies and how they work… I could not see myself being interested in this for the long-term. In the third year of my degree studies, a friend of mine pointed out that I reminded her of her uncle, which surprised me at first. She later explained that her uncle was a counsellor in Hong Kong, and that I had qualities that resembled his.
Reflecting on her comment, I realized that I had spent much of my time outside of classes volunteering at different initiatives where I could interact with people of different age groups and ethnicities. Whether it was at a senior folks’ home as an assistant to a music therapist, volunteering for fundraising events, mentoring new international students or working part time as a daycare staff, these involvements gave me a sense of fulfilment that what I was learning in class couldn’t give me. I eventually decided to take on a double degree in psychology, in preparation for a Master’s degree in counselling from Monash University Malaysia.
I completed my internship at SOLS Health (now Thrive Well) where I worked with university students and working adults on issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, trauma and suicide ideation. I participated in conducting and facilitating a program for parents and their teenage children from marginalized communities to equip them with skills meant to help improve their family relationship as a whole, such as communication and assertiveness skills. In addition, I conducted mindfulness workshops for refugee youths and teaching staffs, and cultural competence workshops for new international and local staffs at SOLS 24/7.
Upon graduation, I mainly worked with working adults in corporate settings as a wellness coach where I provided coaching support and conducted group workshops on topics such as emotions regulation, mindfulness and love language. I also provided counselling support to those who requested it. I later transitioned into the private practice setting and am currently focusing more on providing counselling support and conducting group workshops.
In my sessions, I integrate techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as well as Satir, just as I do in my own life. These schools of thought have taught me to manage the ups and downs in my life differently, whether it was in terms of improving my relationship with others, regulating my emotions or changing my perspectives on the situation. In retrospect, becoming a counsellor was not only embarking on a career pathway, but also a personal journey towards a more fulfilled life.
Therefore, I hope that through collaborative efforts along this counselling journey, you’ll get closer to what a fulfilling life means to you.