Good News to all VWOs! The SAC Counselling Symposium 2015 has received pre-approval for VCF Funding for eligible staff and volunteers (Singaporeans and PRs) from NCSS member VWOs and MSF-funded VWOs. 

VCF Funding is being further extended to all qualifying VWOs for SAC Members and non-Members.
The pre-approved funding is at 80% of $458.00. 

1. SAC Members only need to pay $91.60 – based on the registration fee of $458.00 for SAC Members.
2. Non-SAC Members only need to pay $121.60 – based on the registration fee of $488.00 for non-Members.

VCF Local Training Fund application is to be made through the VWO Corner at least ONE month before the date of the Symposium. Please send the approval email from VCF to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as proof of eligibility for VCF funding when submitting your application through the Symposium website

View Day Two Agenda HERE


Time Topic/Synopsis Speaker(s)

Registration for Delegates


Opening Ceremony 

Arrival of GOH: Welcome Drums by MINDS Taiko 

Welcome Speech by GOH 

Launch of SAC's Ethics Manual 

Speech by SAC President


Key Note #1

"The Three Waves of Behavioural Psychotherapy:
Theory, Evidence and Practice Towards Improved Wellbeing"

Numerous psychotherapies hold the promise of improving our clients’ wellbeing. Some of the most prominent contemporary approaches fall under the broad heading of ‘behavioural’ psychotherapies. The history of scientific psychology is paralleled in the history of behavioural psychotherapies, which have arisen in three ‘waves’: traditional conditioning-based therapies, cognitive-behavioural therapies, and mindfulness-based therapies.

The overarching aim of this talk is to characterise these three approaches in terms of their theoretical assumptions, evidence base and clinical implications. Shared features will be highlighted (e.g., the transparent and collaborative therapeutic process), as will important differences (e.g., changing assumptions about the nature of the person).   Examples of particular interventions and their application in counselling will be provided. It will be argued that the behavioural psychotherapies provide a wide range of relatively simple tools with demonstrated efficacy, but evidence-informed counselling practice requires more than scientific evidence of efficacy: To obtain the best outcomes for a particular client, the counsellor must integrate evidence from the scientific literature with knowledge about this client’s personal and social context, values and preferences.

Prof Greg Murray
Professor in Psychology
Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology


Morning Tea


Roundtable / Panel: Follow up on Key Note

"Multi-disciplinary Panel"

The two areas for discussion by the panellists are:

  1. Would the panellist comment from his/her perspective whether school counsellors; psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychologists and social workers could collaborate in a multi-disciplinary setting to support clients/patients in Singapore? What are the challenges? 
  2. Would the panellist comment from his/her perspective the importance of evidence-informed Practice in his/her area of work?



Dr Kok Lee Peng


  • Ms Ang Bee Lian - Director of Social Welfare, Ministry of Social & Family Development, Singapore
  • Ms Malar Palaiyan - Senior Specialist Guidance Branch, Student Development Curriculum Division, Ministry of Education, Singapore
  • Associate Prof John Wong - Head, Associate Professor & Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS & National University Hospital, Singapore
  • Dr Augustine Tan - Psychotherapist/Director, Executive Counselling & Training Academy, Singapore
  • Dr Elizabeth Nair - Principal Psychologist of Work & Health Psychologists, Singapore

Networking Lunch



Concurrent Sessions 1: Scientific Papers (8 papers)
Session 1:  1:50 – 2:40 (SP1 - SP8)


SP 1 - Attributes students report as being unique to counselling teachers: A qualitative study

Dr Nicky Jacobs, Dr Brett Furlonger & A/Prof Andrea Reupert

SP 2 & SP 10 - What helps? Working with adolescents who play video games excessively (1) A/Prof Timothy Sim 
SP 3 - Exploring factors that influence Singaporeans’ intention in seeking professional counselling Ms Goh Siew Khim  Dr Nicky Jacobs & Dr Brett Furlonger
SP 4 - How clients benefit from group counselling for Social anxiety Disorder Prof Glen Bates, Mr Anthony Mackie, & Ms Lee Thurlow
SP 5 - The use of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy among young people who have  recovered from depression Dr Kok Jin Kuan
SP 6 - Indicators of Troubled Singapore Marriages and Reasons for Divorce Dr Jessica Leong
SP 7 - Effectiveness of online platforms in enhancing counselling services in schools Ms Michelle Koay
SP 8 - Managing Stress Using a Mindfulness-Based Programme for University Students – An Evidence-Informed Practice Ms Connie Wong & Dr Bibi Jan Md Ayyub





Concurrent Sessions 2: Scientific Papers (8 papers)
Session 2:  2:40 – 3:30 (SP9 - SP16)

SP 9 - Integration of Asian Traditional Healing into Psychotherapy:
Rationales, Opportunities and Challenges

A/Prof Lee Boon Ooi

SP 2 & SP 10 - What helps? Working with adolescents who play video games excessively (2)

A/Prof Timothy Sim 

SP 11 - Counselling beyond the clinic: Practical ways to turn client goals into behaviour change using self-management strategies 

Dr Brett Furlonger 

SP 12 - Integrative Care: An Anxiety Case Study

Ms Nabilah Ulfah Bagarib & Dr Bibi Jan Md Ayyub

SP 13 - Forensic Psychology and the Missing Middle: Counselling and Offender Well-Being

A/Prof Jeffrey Pfeifer

SP 14 - Journey of a Lifetime: Narrative techniques for evolving the preferred identities of Women

Mrs Esther Tzer Wong

SP 15 - Becoming informed about reducing cyber-bullying … taking a stand in higher education

Dr Margaret Anne Carter

SP 16 - The ORBIT project:  Pilot evidence for feasibility and efficacy of a novel international online mindfulness-based intervention for late stage Bipolar Disorder

Prof Greg Murray


Afternoon Tea


Concurrent Sessions 3: Hot Spots 



Hot Spots 1:

"The Mindful and Attuned Therapist"

This workshop is designed to enable participants to employ a "Mindsight" approach to personal, professional and client development.  Participants will be led to explore principles of mindfulness and mindsight.  The practice of this state of mind and experience will enable them to attune to their experiences and resources, and to more effectively engage clients compassionately and empathically.  Participants will learn to experientially access self-resources and potential that include self care and development, adaptability, wisdom, creativity and resilience. 

Dr Harold Robers
Clinical Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist Psycare Consultants, Singapore

Hot Spots 2:

"Counselling: A Co-Creative Perspective"

The “co” of co-creative acknowledges the transactional, inter-relational, mutual, joint, and co-operative, as well as partnership. That the term contains the word “creative” is an intentional reference to what is, can, and should be, original, imaginative, intuitive and spontaneous about the encounter between human beings – with all our wisdom, intellect, and emotions, and in all our complexities and contexts. Together, the suffix and the root word describe what emerges – and is emergent – between counsellor, therapist, practitioner, facilitator, educator, trainer, supervisor, consultant, helper, and client.
In this “hot spot”, Dr Keith Tudor, the co-author of Co-creative Transactional Analysis (Karnac Books, 2014), will present and elaborate the principles of co-creative transactional analysis, and the philosophical influences on its development, as well as its contribution to contemporary transactional analysis and counselling theory and practice.


Prof Keith Tudor
Head of the Department of Psychotherapy & Counselling, School of Public Health & Psychosocial Studies, Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Hot Spots 3:

"Qualitative & Quantitative Research In Counselling: Choosing Your Path"

This presentation will provide a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of employing qualitative and quantitative methodologies within the context of counselling research. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring that those engaged in designing research projects gain an understanding of when each of the methodologies may be more effectively utilised. Attention will also be given to ensuring that consumers of this research (e.g., counsellors, practitioners, students) hold a clearer understanding of how selected methodologies might impact the findings reported in journal articles, books, and counselling manuals.  Finally, a discussion will be presented which suggests the importance of framing the qualitative/quantitative question in terms of its effectiveness as triangulation evidence for alterations to counselling practices and programs rather than as a competing methodological decision (i.e., one method perceived as more effective than the other).

Associate Prof Jeffrey Pfeifer, Ph.D., M.Leg.St.
Chair, Department of Psychological Science; Associate Professor (Psychology), Swinburne University of Technology, Australia 

Hot Spots 4:

"Supervisor’s Vision: Crafting your Personal Vision of Supervision"

What do you do as a supervisor?
What are the assumptions underlying what you do in supervision?
What do you believe about how supervisees become competent practitioners?
This workshop provides an opportunity for supervisors to share and clarify their beliefs and assumptions regarding what they do in supervision and facilitate the process of crafting a personal vision of supervision.

Dr Augustine Tan
Psychotherapist/Director, Executive Counselling & Training Academy, Singapore

Hot Spots 5:

"Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System 101"

Domestic violence is a topic that strikes at the very heart of our community and the family unit.  Victims often suffered for long periods of time before they break the silence and seek help.   One may argue that the criminal justice system does not provide the best resolution for domestic violence cases but it is often the first port of call for the victims to seek redress.  For all its imperfection, the criminal justice system strives to achieve a just result and to provide a voice for the victims.  My presentation covers the offences that are commonly invoked for domestic violence in the Penal Code as well as under the Women's Charter.

Associate Prof Stella Tan Wei Ling
Director, Legal Policy; Group Director Office; Applied Sciences Group, Health Sciences Authority, Singapore


Hot Spots 6:

"Uncertain Borders: A Counsellor's Dilemma"

Professional boundaries allow for a safe, therapeutic connection between counsellor and client and separate it from other relationships. The obligation to maintain an ethical standard of professional competence always lies, however, with the counsellor, whatever the context and nature of the relationship. Therapeutic boundaries are often difficult to define and attempts to do so have stirred considerable ethical and legal debate. Sadly, counsellors who ignore boundaries are often unaware of or underestimate the significance of their actions. As ethical boundary determinations are becoming greater in number and more complex, counsellors and those who work in the field of mental health must strive to keep abreast of such developments as a risk management process, without sacrificing the spontaneity and essence of the therapeutic alliance.

Dr Tan Chue Tin
Psychiatrist, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre; Chairman, Executive Counselling & Training Academy, Singapore 

Hot Spots 7:

Multiculturalism in Counselling; A Logical Extension of Being Client-Centered and the Intentional Use of Self”

Multicultural Counselling and Therapy has been presented as a new wave in the Counselling Movement. At its best, it is about being culturally sensitive and applying oneself in an intentional manner.  At its worst, it is about being straitjacketed by trying to be politically correct in form only.

The practice of counselling in Singapore provides a unique opportunity to experiment with the different facets and degrees of Multiculturalism in Counselling. This workshop will present the need for and the pathways taken by the presenter as he tries to be more attuned to his clients.

Mr Benny Bong
The Family Therapist, Singapore 

Hot Spots 8:

"Water The Seeds, Not The Weeds: Solution-Focused Creativity And Creative Problem-Solving"

Creativity and creative problem-solving are important parts of wellness, and people’s everyday lives often offer unnoticed rich, creative micromoments to enhance wellness.  Two key concepts are brought together in this presentation.  First, a principle in solution-focused counselling is that small changes lead to larger changes.  In a similar vein, “mini-c” and “little-c” levels of creativity (Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009) can make important changes in one’s life.  Second, the art of asking creative, thought-provoking questions is inherent in both creative problem-solving and solution-focused approaches.  Again, in a similar way, creative problem-solving starts with effective questions.

Tentative structure:

  1. Introductory points and objectives
    --definition of creativity
    --“little c” and “mini c” (Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009)
    --the thought process (mind wandering)
  2. Solution-focused concepts:
    --Small changes lead to larger changes
    --The art of asking effective (creative) questions
    --“Little c” and “mini c” ways to enhance daily wellness
  3. Conclusions
Prof John McCarthy
Professor, Department of Counselling, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA

Updated @ 28 Aug

View Day Two Agenda HERE