***All Members are invited to click here to visit the SAC Counselling Symposium 2015 Photo Gallery.

Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources, at the Singapore Association for Counselling’s first Counselling Symposium on “Evidence-Informed Practice: Towards a Better State of Well-Being”, on 15 Oct 2015 at 9:00 am at The Academia, 20 College Road


Mr Jim Bek, President Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC)

Members of SAC,  Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

It is a pleasure to join you here today at the Singapore Association for Counselling’s first counselling symposium.


Our fast pace of life today has increased the need for counselling services to help individuals cope. This is true for people across all ages.

Children and youths may face peer pressure or stress from academic demands. Adults may encounter increased stress from the workplace, family, as well as health or financial issues. With our ageing demographics, the elderly may increasingly find themselves experiencing financial worries, loneliness, depression, dementia and chronic illnesses.

Our caregivers may also face the stress of caregiving and could require counselling support to cope with the responsibilities and challenges that they face in looking after their loved ones.

Through counselling, we empower these individuals, young or old, to be more resilient. Counsellors help their clients to explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and use their strengths to cope more effectively with the challenges they face.

Integrated Care

Counselling is becoming an increasingly important component of our new models of care delivery. In the healthcare sector, the Health Ministry is developing both primary care services as well as community health services so that clients can seek advice and treatment for both physical and mental health issues, closer to their homes.

As part of this effort, primary care physicians are being supported by community allied health teams that include counsellors. These allied health services complement the primary care physicians to provide more holistic care to patients.

These teams often provide emotional support by offering a listening ear and empathy to counselling on mental health hygiene issues such as improving sleeping habits, coping with stress and anxiety, expectations in parenting and caregiving roles and other psychological issues.

Very often their work involves supporting the caregivers in understanding the needs of their loved ones, their physical or mental health conditions, tips on how they can care for their loved ones and the importance of medical treatment, such as medication and therapy. These teams’ support to the clients and caregivers has helped improve their compliance to treatment regimes and enable clients to continue to live in the community with their caregivers and loved ones.

Evidenced Based Practice

Beyond ensuring holistic and integrated services, we also need to deepen the skills of our counsellors to provide better care for clients. The key theme of this counselling symposium is “Evidence Informed Practice”. As counsellors, you are expected to draw from evidence-based practices to deliver the most appropriate treatment for your clients to the best of your abilities. Such an approach plays a vital role in facilitating the translation of research findings into best practices and policies, which ultimately benefits the client.

I am also happy to hear that SAC is launching the Ethics Manual of Procedures today. It is a timely guide to govern and regulate the conduct of its members, and to provide protection for both the counsellor and client. It is truly a commendable effort.

I applaud the association’s overall focus on emphasising an evidence-based approach to promote the training and competencies of counsellors and promoting the advancement of education, training, competencies and professional growth of counselling in Singapore.


It is heartening to note the partnerships and collaborations among counsellors in the region and beyond. This event has attracted more than 450 delegates, from the ASEAN region and even from countries as far away as the United States, Australia and New Zealand – countries with a more established practice of professional counselling.

This regional symposium brings together the international community to discuss best practices, techniques, and innovations in counselling and provides an excellent opportunity for networking and strengthening relationships. It is encouraging to see your collective efforts to bring the sector together and move the profession forward. I congratulate the Singapore Association for Counselling in organising and hosting this event in Singapore. I wish all of you a fruitful and engaging experience at the Symposium.

Thank You.

SAC Symposium masthead