My interest in mental health began when I witnessed the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami at our own shores in Malaysia. This led me to begin volunteering in disaster relief work and mentoring programs for children and youth. I had felt both powerless and unequipped to help survivors of natural disasters. But it has encouraged me to learn how to help these survivors cope with their trauma. Hence, I was prompted to seek training in clinical psychology. I then pursued and completed both my master’s and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Central Michigan University (CMU), United States of America.
Being brought up in the urban area of Kuala Lumpur, I have seen the different ways people cope (or not) with stress and trauma, which manifests itself differently in different people. Unfortunately, most Malaysians do not talk about any trauma that they have experienced. Trauma can happen to anyone from any socio-economic background and each person has his or her own unique way of interpreting and coping with stressors. The specialized training I have received from the Trauma and Anxiety Disorders Clinic at CMU has taught me evidence-based treatment in helping people who have experienced traumatic experiences as well as anxiety concerns such as panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I then received further training at a shelter for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, helping to empower women and children.
My clinical training allowed me to work with people with various concerns. I have had the opportunity to work with adults, adolescents, children, and families who have experienced concerns, such as depression, relationship issues, worries and phobias, stress, addictions, ADHD, behavioural and disciplinary problems, personality disorders, schizophrenia, mania, as well as problems with memory. During my pre-doctoral clinical internship program, I have been trained to work with people with early psychosis, managing crisis situations, as well as conducting neuropsychological assessments for patients in a hospital setting. I am primarily trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which focuses on addressing individuals’ thoughts, actions, and emotions. As suggested by the CBT model, I believe that modifying negative thoughts or unhelpful behaviours can help to change people’s emotions and help them feel better because our thoughts, actions, and emotions are all inter-related.
Reading news articles about how people with serious mental illness are being mistreated and neglected fuels my interests in working with underserved populations. As each person has different needs and styles, I like to incorporate other evidence-based techniques to cater to my clients’ needs when addressing their concerns and promoting growth within my clients. For example, mindfulness-based techniques and motivational interviewing have proved to be helpful. I am able to provide therapy in English, Cantonese, and Malay.
I respect differences in culture, and I am dedicated to work with clients, regardless of their age, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation to address their concerns. I believe in working with my clients as a team and empowering them to take ownership of the change they are making in their lives. Making any changes in life can be difficult and scary especially when you feel like you are doing it alone, without knowing which might be the right direction. If you would like to start making that change, let me work with you to make your goal a reality.