In the Social Service Sector, Clinical Psychologist Melanie Liang is wholly invested in bettering their clients’ lives. The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) has been instrumental in showing them the way change the futures of every individual they meet.
Melanie Liang is a Clinical Psychologist, Psychological Services at the Community Psychology Hub. The NCSS Social Service Scholar has a Master of Psychology (Clinical) from National University of Singapore.
How did you get interested in your current field?
Before starting university, I went through some tough times myself, when it struck me that everyone faces a common struggle and many people from various walks of life face challenges that others cannot see. Then, I knew that I wanted help vulnerable individuals and families build resilience, overcome adversity and find hope.
Why did you choose the NCSS Social Service Scholarship?
I took up the scholarship because I thought I could play a part in strengthening mental health support in the community, as I believed that vulnerable individuals and families are more likely to face emotional health difficulties that may be unseen.
Did you have any transition difficulties going from theory to practice?
I would say that that is one of the biggest challenges when starting out as a psychologist in the social service sector. The psychosocial issues we see in the community are often multi-faceted and complex, where there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
There is also an added layer of complexity in applying primarily western theories to our cultural context, but it is also interesting to think of ways to deliver treatment and apply various psychological skills to our local population.
Could you tell us more about your roles?
My current role is to provide psychological services for clients who need mental health support, as well as children and adults in high-conflict divorce families. My responsibilities include conducting clinical interviews, screening and assessments, then providing the appropriate psychological interventions and monitoring the clients’ outcomes.
Could you tell us about any memorable case that has inspired you?
I had a client with autism who was referred for having anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I remember spending a lot of time reading, researching and brainstorming on how to adapt the therapy modality to meet his needs. There were times when I felt
I was going nowhere, but to my surprise,
I received a letter and drawing from him six months later, thanking me for helping him to feel heard. I learnt that empathy means to try understanding the world from the clients’ own lens.
What would you say to someone considering the social sector as a career?
Stay curious and open-minded to explore how best you can contribute as there are many different opportunities. Don’t be afraid to “get your hands dirty” to work on the ground, as it will be rewarding! Lastly, stay connected with others within the sector as you will definitely cross paths and support one another across agencies.
To find out more about scholarships, please click here https://www.ncss.gov.sg/social-service-careers/scholarship-and-awards
This article was first published in BrightSparks July 2022 magazine. Reproduced with permission from CareerBuilder (Singapore) Pte Ltd