21 Feb 2019

The evolution of Singapore's counseling scene

On 11 January 2019, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam mentioned that the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) is looking into using counseling via video alongside a mobile application to facilitate in the reintegration of society of former convicts, which can lessen travelling expenses and time for former offenders. This is an expansion of the current community-based program that enhance community corrections and practices, strengthen throughcare, and leverage family and community support.

He said, “Once you are in prison there is a negative impact on relationships and family; how you interact with family.”

Subsequently, the SPS added, “With training, volunteers and community professionals can develop more effective and strategic intervention plans to better help offenders and their families.”

Trained facilitators will help guide the former inmates and give them the necessary skills in communicating with their families. This support that is provided helps to address the negative impact on relationships that the sentence had had on the former convict.

What does a counselor do?
A counselor's job can be daunting and challenging. They may work with people who have mental disorders e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder.

The main goal of a counselor is to help their clients find potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote positive behavioral changes and mental health. The first way of accomplishing this is by performing assessments on new patients. Assessments are used to help determine an appropriate course of treatment, such as establishing behavioral goals and whether patients require counseling for substance abuse, etc. It is common for counselors to engage in conflict resolution activities, seeking to equip their patients with the relevant coping skills to help them adapt to their environment. 

Counselors might provide individual counseling on issues such as depression, stress or substance abuse. On the other end of the spectrum, they might also often lead counseling and educational groups in areas like problem solving, anger issues and stress management.

What qualities does a counselor need?
In order to thrive in this industry, counselors need:

  • Emotional resilience
  • Patience, compassion and the ability to listen without judgment
  • Good people skills and intuition, especially as patients are not always forthcoming
  • Ability to deal with difficult emotional situations

If you are passionate about helping others, you can enrol at Arium School of Arts & Sciences. We provide students with an in-depth chance to learn about counseling methods and apply these interventions across a variety of situations. Students will be able to help others cope with the problems they face in life, by applying their understanding of issues relating to counseling.

We offer several Counseling-related courses:

We offer Professional Certificates for those interested in short courses that provide basic understanding of Counseling. Our Diploma courses are endorsed by Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors (Singapore).

Check out the complete list of the numerous certificate and diploma programs which ASAS offers.