Archive for the ‘Counselling Services’ Category

Hi everyone, it’s been a really long time since I last wrote anything on the blog. I’ve had some health challenges the past few months and it’s been quite difficult at points but at last we’ve come to the end of term 3.

I’ve written some time ago on how life sometimes throw us curve balls and how tough it can be to deal with the unknown and I had said something like this, “the way we deal with the unknown and unforseeable future, the way we deal with life adversities shape our character and fortitude”. Nowhere has this ring more true in my own life than the past few months. I’ve come to believe now, more than ever,  that the adversities in our lives can indeed be our best teachers. And the lessons we learn from these ‘teachers’ often last a life time and are the most impactful because we experienced these personally.

Term 4 is usually one of the most trying times in the year for both JC1 and JC2 students alike. In this time, you might, in all reality, face a number of challenges and adversities. One of the things we talked about alot in the dot b lessons is that when we face an adversity, instead of reacting in our usual way – wanting the adversity to not exist, wanting to run away and hide and scream, lamenting why this is happening to us and not to others etc., the most powerful way we can deal with an adversity is to look at it in its face fearlessly. When we can look at an adversity calmly and learn to ask ourselves “what is this teaching me?”, in that moment we would have transformed an otherwise distressing and crippling situation into one that facilitates tremendous personal growth.

So what has adversity taught me in the past few months? That it’s okay to ask for help (seriously…counsellors can be the most stubborn when it comes to asking for help!); That I need to be compassionate with myself and accept myself (and this imperfect health) in its totality, not needing things to be different or be disappointed when things don’t go my way but just to accept that it is the way it is. When we are able to let go of our fixations on what has been and where we want things to be, and learn to be content with what is, that’s when we invite tremendous peace and calm into our lives.

So this teacher’s day, I want to say a big thank you to the adversities in my life, who has turned out to be my greatest teachers. 

On an important note, I will be away on leave from the end of term 3 to take care of these health issues and will return some time in term 1 next year. In my absence, we have a new part time school counsellor, Mr Foo Kit Meng. So you can still contact him if you want to find someone to talk to about the adversities in your life. Here’s Mr Foo introducing himself in his own words:

kit mengHi, I am your new Part-Time School Counsellor Mr FOO KIT MENG, and I hope to get acquainted with you during my stay in YJC. I hope to share a little about myself…

In June 1995, I retired from the Republic of Singapore Air Force after having a fulfilling and rewarding 25 years of military service. Some of the highlights of my career included a tour as the Commanding Officer of a mobile air-defence squadron, staff appointments at the RSAF Headquarters and an overseas-posting to the Headquarters of the Five-Power Integrated Air Defence System consisting representations from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore.

Upon retirement, I had a desire to experience working in an educational environment, where I could influence our generation of young people. Hence, the beginning of a journey of 21 years in New Town Sec School, firstly as a PE Teacher then HOD Student Welfare and finally a Full-Time School Counsellor (12 years). I retired a second time in June this year.

As I am still passionate about counselling and working with young people, I opted to embark on the Part-Time School Counselling scheme. I hope to explore various perspectives of life challenges with you through our engagement and interaction.

I am contactable through email (foo_kit_meng@moe.edu.sg) or the School Counsellor’s mobile phone from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays. I can be located at the Counselling Room…. and am looking forward to having a chat with you sometime.

See you all next year! – Ms Joan 🙂

 

 

ImageHello JC1 students! Welcome to your new school year! My name is Joan and I’m your School Counsellor here at Yishun JC. 🙂 Most students call me Ms Joan and occasionally students call me ‘eh counsellor!’

I’ve been writing stuff on this blog for the past 5 years so feel free to click through the articles here. You can find out more about me as well as what counselling is about by clicking on the tabs above. I’ve also put up some resources available outside school that you may find helpful.

Most students at YJC don’t find talking to a counsellor a stigma at all. That kind of thinking is quite archaic if you think about it. Nowadays it is a very reasonable thing to talk to a professional counsellor if you have something on your mind that you want to process or stuff that you want to work through.  I have my Masters in Social Science in Professional Counselling and I’m also a Master Solution Focused Therapist so I do have some credentials to back up what I do. haha. I like to talk to students about what they would like to see different in their lives and together we figure out ways to get there as I see counselling as a collaborative process. 🙂  So if you’d like to make an appointment with me, just drop me a text (my number is available in the handbook), email me at low_dar_fen_joan@moe.edu.sg or swing by the counselling room! My office is located within the Student Resource Centre, 2nd floor above the General Office. You can come in by the back door after you come up the stairs from the Wednesday Expresso. One of these days I should really draw a map.

See you around school and have a good rest of the week!  🙂

photo 1Hello everyone! Welcome back to a new school year! Although with the lessons starting and homework piling you may not feel very welcome and may in fact already feel like dying. I feel you. This was me just three weeks ago, lying on a hammock on the best beach in Asia with not a care in the world. It might as well be three years cos that feeling of not having to wake up to anything is already a distant memory. And it’s only Tuesday! All those people who talk about how a holiday recharges you for more work (or study) must not know what they’re talking about.

So I thought a ‘survivor guide’ of sorts is in order for those of you who are literally scrapping by.

1. Practice Gratitude

Sounds abit lame but totally backed up by scientific research which shows that people who practice gratitude daily are happier, more energetic, more hopeful, falls sick less easily and have richer social lives etc. It can be in a form of a gratitude journal where you pen down the stuff you’re grateful for daily, or thinking grateful thoughts, or even just saying ‘Thank you’ more often. Perhaps you are grateful for your friends, or the person who fixed your breakfast or that the mee siam today tastes extra nice. Whatever it may be.

2. Practice Acts of Kindness

Again it sounds abit hokey but research has shown that practicing small acts of kindness can tremendously boost your own level of happiness regardless of the recipient’s response. Things like helping a stranger with directions, or helping an old auntie with her groceries, or helping your friend queue up for food etc.

3. Get into Flow

Probably something I should talk about more in another post but flow can be described as enjoyable experiences whereby you are so engrossed you forget the time has passed such as when you’re playing candy crush, or running or shooting hoops etc. Many students say they don’t have time to do anything enjoyable once school starts but that’s precisely why you’d need it so you don’t burn out even if it’s just once a week over weekends.

Finally: Take a Breathing Space

Research has shown that intentionally taking a couple of minutes to close your eyes and just focus on your breathing (and not do anything else while you’re at it) can help to reduce anxiety and stress and increase mental focus and clarity.

Hope this helps you to survive the first week better and know that things will become better as you adjust to the pace and get your groove on. A few new things regarding the counselling department this year for you to take note:-

– While I’m still the only full time school counsellor here we do have an intern counsellor Ms Pauline Ong whom some of you have met. She’s doing her Masters in Counselling with Monash University and will continue her internship with us here at YJC till the middle of the year (clap! clap!)

– There is a new counselling room which is right next to the original one. The new room is so nice you won’t believe it and it’s closest to the back door of the student resource centre so do pop by and have a chat and some tea and biscuits.

– I’ll still do the resilience workshop for the JC2 CTGs in Term 2 and this year I’m also launching the Dot b programme which is a once a week (45 minutes each time) x 9 mindfulness curriculum that has been proven to help students focus better, be more efficient and manage time better as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Sounds good? Pop by and get an introduction sheet and sign up if you’re interested. It’s a really good programme if I may say so myself.

That’s it from me. Have a great week ahead!  – Ms Joan (School Counsellor, YJC)

Cyber Counselling

Posted: February 23, 2010 in Counselling Services
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Okay…so I have been having writer’s block recently. Luckily I’m done with A’levels and essay writing…haha. Anyways, I’ve been considering this idea of cyber counselling and maybe introducing it to our school at some point. Why cyber counselling? Won’t that put me out of a job if everybody decided to go all “cyber” instead of coming to make an appointment with me? Well…firstly there will always be students who prefer the face-to-face so I don’t necessarily fear for my job. Also, I mentioned during the assembly self-introduction to JC1s that I’m kind of a hermit so I understand if students find face-to-face intimidating and would rather be counselled in cyberspace. So I did some cyber snooping and found this interesting article taken from the website of an eCounselling Centre in Singapore http://ec2.sg that could introduce this concept far better than I could. So I’m quoting it here in full (though it doesn’t substitute for my writer’s block). Enjoy the read guys…it’s abit long but it’s rather clear and interesting and worth reading (IMHO). See if it can be a helpful resource for you and give me your feedback. 🙂

What is counselling?

The real question is… “Why Ask for help?”

It seems to be a universal joke that men don’t like to ask for directions when they’re lost, but the truth is that few people – male or female – like to ask for help. And the more we need help, the harder it can be to ask. Why is asking help so hard? Pride, fear of shame, fear of showing vulnerability, lack of faith in others… there can be plenty of reasons.

Interestingly though, most people want to “be of help”.

When we help someone, it makes us feel useful, important, competent. Many times, we can even put our troubles aside and help others first. Of course, “being helpful” is a great virtue and we need more people in the world today to “want to help”, to “be available to help”. But at the end of the day, one of the best gift that we can give to the people around us is a “healthy self”.

When we feel confident about ourselves, we are able to offer confidence to others. When we live a balanced lifestyle, we are in better shape psychologically and physically to help others. When we learn to manage our time and pressure well, we are more generous to others around us. When we are in good relationship with our friends and family, everyone is happier.

The problem however, is that life is not always that smooth. There are times we will experience difficulites. Adding to this, the lifestyle that you and I live in can be so fast-paced, so isolated that we hardly have a chance to sit down with someone and openly share our struggles.

Sometime, help is just around us but we need to slow down in life in order to discover these people. These people can be family members or friends that you trust. They can be your teachers, co-workers that you feel have a desire to listen to you and are able to keep things confidential as you desire.

In some circumstances, you might feel that you are not ready to talk to these people yet… and that’s where counselling comes in. There was a time when people were so shameful to tell people that they are in counselling. But more and more people today are finding “counselling” to be less stigmatized. That’s a great thing. Afterall, counselling is just like us talking to someone about our problems, except it’s in a more professional setting, hopefully with a trained counsellor with clearly defined goals in a clearly defined structure. In other words, instead of sitting down for a sundae with your friend to talk about your problems at McDonald’s, you see a counsellor to talk about your problems in a counselling centre or maybe a school setting.

Some people still find that troublesome. They still refuse to get help though they really really hope to talk to someone. That’s where eCounselling Centre comes in! We call that eC2 here in eGen. It’s an online facility on eGen where you are able to chat one-on-one with a professional counsellor about the issues you are facing in life. We having saying here at eGen that “eC2 is a place where we figure out life together!” And really, that’s really what we are about. We want to do this not just because we want to “be of help”. We want to do this because we have had good experiences in our lives when “we were helped”!

Now there should be no more excuses. It’s already at your door step. Anyone who has internet connection can sign on to eGen and make an appointment at eC2. You don’t have to take a bus somewhere on a hot and humid day! And best of all…. IT’S FREE!!! So… what are you waiting for?

I used to not like asking for directions. I didn’t want to bother people and sometimes I didn’t trust other people for their directions. But after a few good experiences, I learned that it’s so much faster to get to the place I wanna go when I ask for good directions.

Still thinking about that problem you were having when you started bloggin’ today? Why let this issue continue to bug you in your head? Give yourself a moment… Slow down a little… Give eC2 a try? Who knows… maybe you will get to where you want to go slightly faster and easier…

Check out eC2