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

Day One

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

Professor Murray is an academic and a practicing clinical psychologist. Since taking out his PhD from University of Melbourne in 2001, he has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and two books. He has been a chief investigator on more than $5 million of national competitive grants in Australia and overseas, and graduated more than a dozen doctoral students.  From 2010 to 2013, he was Head of Psychology at Swinburne University. He became a Full Professor in 2011, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society in 2013.

Professor Murray is an award-winning educator and acclaimed presenter. He has conducted workshops for hundreds of counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists in Australia, Singapore, and Canada. In 2012, he authored the Australian Psychological Society guidelines for psychological treatment of bipolar disorder, and he is currently collaborating on mood disorder guidelines for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

In Australia, Professor Murray’s research focuses on psychological treatments (behavioural, cognitive and mindfulness-based) for depression and bipolar disorder. Internationally, he is research lead for the Canada-based CREST.BD group investigating determinants of well-being in people with bipolar disorder. He also conducts basic psychological research, collaborating with colleagues at UC Berkeley, Harvard, and University of Massachusetts on studies of sleep, circadian rhythms and mood.  His work has been cited more than 2000 times, and been the focus of more than 200 media interviews.



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.   



Day Two

Associate Professor Timothy Sim
Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Kong

Professor Sim is an Approved Supervisor and Associate Fellow of The Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association and a Member of Singapore Association of Social Workers. His main practice and research interest is to develop culturally sensitive family-based treatment in Asian contexts, particularly for the Chinese family that is in constant flux. He has been involved in children and adolescent-health-related-behaviors practice research, with a particular focus on family dynamics of adolescent drug abusers, as well as excessive video game use among adolescents. In the wake of the 5.12 Sichuan earthquake, he has been working closely with Chinese scholars and social work practitioners in developing psychosocial practice research projects in the earthquake-affected areas.



Listen to what they say: Engaging service users to improve counselling service

This keynote speech highlights the need to rigorously obtain feedback from service users, who we aim to serve, as an important source of evidence to inform best practices.  This set of practice research data is drawn from an eminent and award winning cyber-wellness programme in Singapore.  The process of engaging the service users, methods used, findings and lessons learnt are delineated.  Inevitably, the voices and views of the service users are crucial to develop effective interventions, while the openness of counsellors and their management to listen to service users’ feedback forms the backbone for excellent services.