The first time I came across psychology was at the age of 11. I was famous for being a difficult child who refused to go to school. No one seemed to know what was happening, myself included! Nothing seemed to work, and in the end, I dropped out of school. This was where my journey with psychology began. I started working with a child psychologist for a year at a day care centre for individuals suffering from various mental health problems. During my time there, I got to know individuals with other forms of difficulties such as Autism and ADHD. I learnt a lot from them and my overall experience at the centre, which ultimately allowed me to go back to school where I began to excel. This early experience with psychology taught me that everyone can experience difficulties at some point in their lives. But given enough support and access to resources, everyone can get back on their feet. It was from those experiences that my love and determination to become a psychologist began.

I obtained my Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) from HELP University in 2012, followed by a Masters of Science in Health Psychology from the University of the West of England, Bristol. I returned to Malaysia in 2014 to kick start my career in psychology. Health psychology focuses on promoting health as well as the prevention and treatment of disease and illness. The main approach used within health psychology is known as the biopsychosocial model. It looks into how a combination of biological, psychological and social factors contributes to the outcome of illness and health. For example, there are several factors that could lead one to be overweight (health outcome), such as hormonal imbalance (biological), stress (psychological) and cultural influences (social).

As a health psychologist, I help clients to understand the impacts of their behaviours on health outcome based on the biopsychosocial model, and then develop effective behaviour change interventions to improve their healthy behaviours. This can be widely used in any health related areas such as quitting smoking, weight management, addiction, stress management and so on. I also look into the influences of physical conditions on psychological factors, where I support patients and families or caregivers in taking care of their mental health by understanding how they react, cope and recover from illness.

I have had the privilege of practicing as a smoking cessation adviser and mental health support worker throughout my postgraduate years in the UK. I worked at the university health clinic to support university students and staff to quit smoking. I also work with the community, predominantly assisted my clients in developing healthy behaviours and looking after their mental wellness. Now that I am back in Malaysia, I am happy to share my experience and skills to help my clients achieve a better quality of life. I recognize that seeking appropriate help might be a scary thing to do at first but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I am more than happy to be able to assist my clients to lead more fulfilling lives.

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