The passion to aid and "give back to the community" was what inspired a community grassroots leader to obtain his tertiary studies in Psychology and Counseling at Monash University – 25 years ago. Since then Mr. C Joshi has fulfilled his vision by becoming a registered Counselor and Psychotherapist with the Singapore Association of Counsellors, as well as a dedicated counselor to many.
"It's rewarding for me to assist my clients to overcome their emotional issues and get them to see 'the light at the end of the tunnel'," he said. We were privileged to speak with Mr. Joshi about what it means to be a counselor in Singapore, as well as get some helpful advice on mental well-being.
Q. Please share with us your experience as a counselor in Singapore.
A. In a nutshell, it’s a challenging career but it’s all about passion and commitment.
Q. Who are the groups of people who utilize your service?
A. Clients vary from a multitude of diagnosis – personal issues, anxiety issues, stress, depression, anger management, abuse and addiction, and marital issues etc. I mentor students and teens for career guidance as well as conduct talks on self-esteem, motivation, and parenting.
Q. What would you advise people to do if they are often unhappy, before considering seeking medical help?
A. Seek the advice of a counselor or go for a counseling session.
Q. When someone feels unusually depressed and overwhelmed with work, could it be a sign they may have a mental health issues? How does someone get diagnosed?
A. First of all, see a Medical Doctor. When a client is psychologically unstable, he will be referred to a counselor for a therapeutical assessment and intervention, which is counseling.
Q. Please tell us more about the various therapy methods you use.
A. There are many therapeutic types and models to name a few:
“Carl Rogers“ Humanist approach when it comes to personal sensitive issues; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for addiction problems; Bowenian Model or Family Therapy to deal with Family issues; Solution Focus Therapy for individual issues; REBT for Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapy; Mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
Q. What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counselor?
A. A psychologist is a therapist who uses scientific research methods for assessment of clients mental well-being and then using psychotherapy to address these issues. The counselor, on the other hand, uses counseling (Talk Therapy) therapeutical approaches to address issues. Frankly, the roles intertwine together as Psychology is a Major and Counselling is a subset.
Q. How to be a counselor in Singapore?
A. Most importantly must have the passion and care for fellow human beings regardless of race, language, religion or sexual orientation. The rest is getting your academic qualifications through a recognized educational institute – Diploma, Bachelors, Masters, and then get registered officially.
Q. What makes a good counselor?
A. The pillars are integrity, truthfulness, being ethical, caring, compassion, sense of commitment, competency and never be complacent. Have a good listening ear, patience and show care.
Q. What would you say are the pros and cons of being a counselor?
A. There is happiness when you have succeeded but if you are not careful you might end up with burnout or transference, or countertransference. Self-care is thus important and counselors need to seek clinical supervision after every 10 hours of contact counseling, which is mandatory.
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