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20 Oct 2022, Thursday

Raffles Town Club

Join the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) in celebrating 40 years of caring for the Nation! 

In conjunction with SAC 40th Anniversary, we will be organising the first SAC Symposium 2022 after a long period of hiatus. The Symposium would feature a keynote address by Dr Lee Boon Ooi. Dr Jessica Leong and Ms Ruth Chua would also share interesting topics you would not want to miss. 

There will also be a breakout room segment where you will be able to sign up for topics you are interested in. 

Participants will be awarded with double Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours



40 Years of Caring for the Nation, Building Communities of Carers


  • Member: $60, Non-Member: $85



The Place of Culture in Counselling: Context, Diversity, and Symbolic Meaning


The professionalization of counseling in Singapore has come a long way since the establishment of Singapore Association for Counseling in 1982 and the Register of Counselors in 2003. This development brings the necessary social legitimacy to counseling as a therapeutic method for alleviating emotional distress. However, counseling in a multicultural society of Singapore can be a challenge. Since culture and social contexts shape the meaning, experience, expression and coping of distress, counselors must be competent in adapting their approaches when working with diverse ethnocultural groups. In this presentation, Dr Lee shows that the way culture is operationalized in counseling goes beyond the social construct of ethnicity or any demographic variables. It is about recognizing counseling as a symbolic healing system constructed in a specific clinical reality or a mythic world in which the counselor evokes a culturally legitimized myth consistent with the client’s explanatory model, and then transforms the client’s personal and bodily experience through symbolically meaningful interventions. In this sense, counseling is more concerned with the personal and social meanings that clients attach to their distress in a diverse lifeworld rather than truth.


Lee Boon Ooi, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer and Program Leader of MA in Counseling and Guidance with the Psychology and Child & Human Development Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. He is interested in culture and mental health, in particular, indigenous healing systems, multicultural therapy, cultural psychopathology, alteration of consciousness, health beliefs, somatization, and embodiment. His current research investigates the relevance of indigenous healing systems to mental health, and the relationship between alteration of consciousness (e.g., dissociation, trance) and mental health.

Structured Presentation 1

Cultivating a Care Contagion - A Personal Journey


Reflecting on her own personal life journey, Dr Jessica Leong will share how adverse childhood experiences set her on a path to yearn for care. Later encounters with significant persons would give her an experience of care, and inspire her to bring compassion to various communities where individuals were also searching for it. The roles she has undertaken through this journey, which include being a co-founder and CEO of the Executive Counselling and Training Academy, have convinced her that the decision to care for another person is a transmission of compassion that will go on to resonate through even more lives and communities. Dr Leong, a teaching and supervising Transactional Analyst, will also take this opportunity to explain how counsellors can use a Transactional Analysis framework to offer empathy and compassion to those who need it.


Dr Jessica Leong is the CEO of JC Integra (TA) Pte Ltd and Berne TA Center Pte Ltd. She is the Clinical Director and Academic Director of the Executive Counselling & Training Academy Pte Ltd. She is also the Director, Swinburne University - ECTA Programmes in Singapore. Jessica also provides employee counselling to multi-international companies.

Structured Presentation 2

Nurturing Counsellor’s resilience to navigate the “VUCA” world


In this presentation, Ms Ruth Chua adapted the acronym, “VUCA” from the business sector to mean “Vulnerabilities, Uncertainties, Complexities and Ambiguity”. The acronym describes the counsellors’ experiences of working with the individuals, families and their related complex web of social support networks. In the constantly changing global environment, the role of Counsellor has evolved and expanded beyond the comfort zone of the counselling room to include working with and responding to the demands and expectations of stakeholders and partners such as funders, community agencies, medical, educational and legal systems etc.

With immense external pressure, Counsellors will require resilience to navigate the “VUCA” world and manage the job effectively and sustainably. The term 'resilience' refers to the ability to be resourceful, flexible and bounce back from life’s adversities. VUCA poses four distinct types of challenges, which are “Vulnerabilities, Uncertainties, Complexities and Ambiguity” that are unique and yet interconnected. The presentation will seek to expound on the values, principles and techniques to help counsellors nurture resilience to navigate the VUCA world. Additionally, it will propose an integrated approach with emphasis on the role of supervisors and organisation in nurturing counsellors’ resilience.


Ms Ruth Chua has been a Counsellor for more than 25 years. She has been the Clinical Consultant and Trainer for Social Service Professionals working in Family Service Centres, community agencies, healthcare and educational institutes. She is also an advocate for professional and personal development of counsellors to enhance their competency to meet the rising demands. She is a Clinical Supervisor and registered Counsellor with the Singapore Association for Counselling.


​Participants are welcome to attend one of two workshop tracks:

(1) Trends and approaches in working with children, youths and families in Singapore

(2) Working with diverse populations and cultures.

Symposium: Resources
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