Serving the Singapore Psychological Society

I am honoured and humbled to be able to serve SPS again. I am glad I had the opportunity to say yes, because I can. I still have the capacity to do so; more so because I have the task now to look into the regulation of the psychological profession in Singapore. It has always been my interest.

Regulation is not something new for us as psychologist in Singapore. It has been a long standing interest. The heart of it has always been and still is about the well being of users of psychological services.

In 2020, we reported receiving “frequent feedback that includes unethical practice, inappropriate use of the title “psychologist”, and unqualified psychological service providers”. See ST link below.

When I was in the council more than a decade ago, we had to consult psychological associations beyond our shores to guide our actions. There are a few factors to look into for regulation to happen. Here are four:

[1] Critical Mass – Do we have enough psychologists?

In 2020, MP Christopher de Souza, asked in Parliament whether there were enough of us to help cope with the potential increase in mental illness, if not, how are we promoting the profession?

Then, we had about one registered psychologist to every 11,000 people in Singapore. Today, we are just about slightly more. Seemingly, our local degree programs in psychology also ensure the supply of properly qualified psychologists; promoting the profession.

Do we have enough? I personally think we do have enough, but we need more.

[2] Education-Career Pathways

With the exception of Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Technology and Design, Psychology is offered at the other four Autonomous Universities. It is still uncertain how many Psychology Degree graduates move on to pursue their Masters Degree, and become Registered Psychologists. The word on the ground is less than 1%.

SkillsFuture and the National Council of Social Service have mapped out the career pathways with corresponding competencies required and salary ranges. This is helpful for employers looking into training and budgeting for a psychologist headcount, even useful for new entrants into the profession at the specific levels.

[3] Supervision-Practice Sites

While there may be Registered Supervisors available to provide supervision for psychologists in training. There may not be many practicum sites available.

A large proportion of psychologists are in the public sector, yet not everyone is registered. Conversely, while many private psychologists are registered, they are not many employing other psychologist at their practice-sites, seemingly for practical reasons.

Maybe the private practitioners can consider engaging more Associate Psychologists and the public service engaging psychologists are Post Graduate levels.

[4] Governing Jurisdiction

In 2021, MP Dr Wan Rizal asked in Parliament which body or institution has jurisdiction over the various organisations or individuals that purport to be providing psychological and mental health services.

In 2022, MP Melvin Yong asked (a) whether psychologists are fully regulated under the Allied Health Professions Act; and (b) whether the Allied Health Professions Council has the power to investigate any complaint made against errant psychologists.

In short, psychologist are not regulated by any Board, Council, Act or Legislation. The Allied Health Professions Council does not have the power to investigate complaints against any psychologists, even clinical psychologists who are under the Allied Health Act Lists of Professions.

Nonetheless, psychologists in hospitals will be subject to the clinical governance framework of the hospitals, and existing healthcare legislations such as the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act.

The journey ahead is going to be an exciting one for me.

In the meantime, I believe SPS will continue to provide guidance on the professional and ethical conduct for its members, whilst maintaining a close working relationship with the government to ensure clients’ interest continue to be safe-guarded.


[ST] Important to ensure quality of psychological services, 3 Mar 2020 –

[MOH] MP Christopher de Souza, 14 Oct 2020 –


[SkillsFuture] Skills Framework for Psychologist

[MOH] MP Dr Wan Rizal, 1 Mar 2021 –

[MOH] MP Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, 11 Jan 2022 –

[AHPC] Allied Health Professions

Morning with Susan Ng, CNA 938LIVE

It’s a wrap! What a meaningful morning!

This morning, I had the opportunity to go on air with Susan Ng from ChannelNewsAsia Radio 938 Live, to not only only talk about my life and work, but to also respond to the comments that some young people made, and whom Susan Ng spoke to in her previous Our Town programme.

One said at one time he didn’t know how to even start a conversation with his mum. (Read in book: “Fill in the blanks”).

Another said he didn’t know how to share his problems with his family. (Read in book: “Keep communication open”)

Another wanted parents to loosen up and listen to them (Read in book: “Be present body and soul” and “Be supportive”)

Another felt that there is a generation gap. And I commented that this “gap” is more developmental than generational. (Read in book: Chapter 4 or briefly read about this “gap”, that I call the “Clash Story” here.

Finally, someone wanted to learn to be friends with his parents. I was delighted to hear this. All youths actually want this. They want to share with their parents or someone they trust about themselves. The reality is sometimes adults unknowingly can become the “dampener”.

Parents and adults working with youths who want to know how to overcome this “gap” or “barrier”, and want to be that trusted adult teens want to share their lives with, you can consider using the developmentally appropriate strategies I proposed from Chapter 10 to 13 in my book.

For more information about my book and work, savour everything on this website.

Izhar Roslan on Going Beyond To Empower Youths.

The best for last!

Photo credit; Izhar’s LinkedIn

Introducing Izhar Roslan! One of our speakers for the #YouthHack Learning Video Series! He will be presenting to you the topic on “Going Beyond To Empower Youths”.

I cannot emphasize how much Izhar is an inspiration to youths, and to me as well!

He is a strong advocate of youth and humanitarian causes. On his own, he has also been involved in numerous humanitarian projects, even training and bringing along with him many young people.

Izhar builds capacities of young volunteers, and supports their development by mentoring them, availing training to them and providing numerous volunteering opportunities to them.

Izhar is a former Youth Development Officer Manager with Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) building capabilities. He is a hands-on and dedicated father and a devoted husband.

Izhar will walk you through the following topics to help youths thrive:

  • Giving Trust And Space
  • Building Trust
  • Developing An Outward Approach
  • Staying Relevant
  • Building A Deeper Relationship
  • Challenges and Successes
  • Providing Autonomy
  • Navigating Future Challenges
  • Empowering Youths

Here’s a snippet of the learning video:

For more details of all the learning videos and my book bundle, click here.

Tony Leong on Taking Strained Relationships To Strengths.

Tony reminds me of the Chinese idiom 出门看天色,进门看脸色.

What it means is “when you go out, observe the color of the sky, when you come in, observe the facial expressions (of your family members).”

If you have heard him speak before, I remember him ever saying, “…a lot of times, I feel guilty about not spending enough time with my children; and I will guilt trip myself by saying, maybe I could get something nice for them.”

He goes on to say, “…but by observing their behaviors, looking at them, and sometimes even asking them, all they want from me, is for me to be with them; my presence is more important than my presents. They just want my time.”

Photo credit: Campus Impact

May I introduce to you Mr Tony Leong! Our next speaker from the #YouthHack Learning Videos Series about understanding youths!

The above statements, Tony confesses, guides him in everything he does.

Tony is now the Director of Youth Work at Campus Impact, a youth organization that helps disadvantaged youths and families to become meaningfully engaged citizens.

He is a former Assistant Director at National Youth Council and Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities. He is also an author of the book the “Art of Parent-Child Interaction”, a trained counselor, and currently pursuing this PhD in Psychology.

He will be speaking about the topic “Taking Strained Relationships To Strengths”.

He believes that sound mental and emotional health in youths provides an essential foundation of stability that supports the formation of friendships, the ability to cope with adversity and the achievement of success in school, work, and community life.

Tony will walk us through the following topics:

  • Recognizing Progress
  • Learning Through Play
  • Developing Good Responses and Habit
  • Parenting Early
  • Rebuilding Relationships
  • Principle-based Approach
  • Future Trends

Here’s a snippet of the learning video:

For more details of all the learning videos and my book bundle, click here.

Joe Chan on Youth Coaching

Youth Coaching!

How does this differs from an intervention approach to youth work?

Joe would say, the coaching approach with youth is about “helping the individual pursue their hopes and dreams by tapping on their strengths”.

I cannot agree more!

In this post, I like to introduce to you Mr Joe Chan!!

Joe recently left his role as Head of Youth Services at REACH Community Services (Singapore), to trail-blaze his pioneering work in youth coaching, and helping parents overcome the barriers of understanding and working with youths. He has been working with youths for more than a decade!

Photo credit:

Joe used to also coach and manage dragon boating teams as. He is an athlete, hits the gym regularly, a family man, an entrepreneur, an author, and a certified solution-focused Master Trainer.

Just to be clear. Not that the intervention approach to working with youths, does not help youths pursue their hopes and dreams by tapping on their strengths?

What is absent here in coaching, is the presence of problem behaviors; like for example, excessive gaming, anxiety, panic attack, truancy, promiscuity, etc.

Very often, youths are being identified by these problem behaviors, and unfortunately, being misunderstood. Adults sometimes only see these bad behaviors about them, and cannot who the person is?

So here’s taking a different approach with youths. Joe will walk you through the following topics in one of the YouthHack Series Learning Videos on Coaching Youths:

  • Being a Positive Influence
  • Developing Healthy Independence
  • Coaching Youths
  • A Systemic Approach
  • Shifting Mindsets
  • Engaging Youths
  • Engaging Children
  • Being Adaptable

Here’s a snippet of the learning video:

For more details of all the learning videos and my book bundle, click here.