As a registered counselling psychologist at APSN Delta Senior School (DSS), Julyn helps students with mild intellectual challenges reach their fullest potential. Here's what she has to say of her journey with her students so far.
Working with students at APSN Delta Senior School (DSS) is like partnering them in a marathon run. I experience a gamut of emotions along the way! Excitement when I sign up, anxiety at the starting line, exhaustion and pain on the run, joy at every water point, and the runner’s high upon finishing the race.
As a Counselling Psychologist with DSS, which offers vocational training to students (aged 17-21) with mild intellectual challenges, my main task is to conduct clinical sessions for students, imparting appropriate strategies and skills to help them cope with their circumstances. My job also involves assessing our applicants’ suitability for admission based on their attributes and work readiness. Beyond that, I conduct awareness talks for potential employers who are interested in partnering us to create awareness and working opportunities for our students.
I’ve been with DSS for about seven years now, and it has been a rewarding journey. I’ve always wanted a job where I can contribute to others through intervention. This stems from my natural desire to create positive outcomes by helping to shape the behaviours and emotions of others. Working with students in a special education school allows me to do that. However, even as I set out to make a difference in my students’ lives, I realised over time that they inspire me in return. I love seeing them develop to their fullest potential. And I learned to love their quirks—each one is unique and authentic.
The emotionally rewarding incidents have been my greatest motivator. There’s no better feeling than seeing your efforts to empower the vulnerable come to fruition. I remember helping a girl with a phobia of travelling on public transport. Due to her fear of assault as a result of bad childhood experiences, she had shunned all public transport. As part of my exposure therapy, I accompanied her on the MRT for two weeks. When she eventually managed to take public transport independently, it was a moment of triumph for the both of us.
Besides my students, my colleagues have been a source of strength—they’re some of the most genuine people around. They motivate me whenever I face problems, and we often bounce ideas off each other. The culture of collaboration in DSS comes largely from this team-based approach. It’s the reason we’re always looking out for one another.
Julyn and her colleagues of different specialisations discuss joint lesson plans for the new term.