President’s Report

Introduction

35th Annual General Meeting 2017

There were many strategic developments that took place over the past nine months. It is with great honour that as President of SAC, I am pleased to highlight some of these key strategic developments and plans for 2017-2018.

As you may recall, many members attended our first SAC Symposium in 2015 and it was a success with more than 500 participants who attended the event. The current Executive Committee (EXCO) thank members who gave their valuable feedback and SAC strives to remain focus and maintain our high standards of counselling training and practices for the counselling profession.

Establishing of the Various Standing Boards  (Note: All emails stated below have been changed. Please refer to EXCO listings)

The following committee members who were formally elected at the 34th AGM, as the EXCO members to be co-opted members, various Standing Boards and Sub-Committees:

1.  Co-opted Members of the EXCO:

  1. Mr Andy Lam
  2. Ms Celine Edmund
  3. Mr Mohd Zullkarnain b Abdul Aziz

2.  Ethics Board: ethicsboard@sacsingapore.org

  1. Chairperson: Dr Jessica Leong (Psychotherapist)
  2. Mr Benny Bong (Psychotherapist)
  3. Mr Patrick Stephen (Former Superintendent of the Singapore Police Force)
  4. Ms Rita Niranjan (Lawyer)
  5. Ms Tan Mok Sang (Psychotherapist; Former School Principal)
  6. Dr Tan Chue Tin (Psychiatrist)

3. Course Recognition Board: courserecognition@sacsingapore.org

  1. Co-Chairperson: Mr Alan Yeo
  2. Co-Chairperson: Ms Joyce Chan
  3. Mr Frederick Low – Representative from SAC
  4. Ms Hema Gurnani (WINGS Counselling Centre)
  5. Ms Joanna Koh (Ministry of Education)
  6. Ms Bavani Pillai (Singapore Association for Social Workers)
  7. 1 Representative (Social Service Institute, NCSS)
  8. 1 Representative (Ministry of Social and Family Development)

4. Register Board: registerboard@sacsingapore.org

  1. Interim Adviser: Mr Frederick Low
  2. Mr Dan Ng (Representative from EXCO)
  3. Ms Reena Goenka (Observer from EXCO)
  4. Mr Bernard Mackenzie
  5. Ms Denise Yap
  6. Ms Jessica Koh
  7. Ms Jenny Giam
  8. Ms Rose Faquir

5. New Members recruited into the various Sub-Committees:-

The Membership Sub-Committee

  1. Chairperson: Ms Celine Edmund
  2. Ms Au Hoi Ting
  3. Mr C. Joshi
  4. Ms Carolyn Lim
  5. Mr Leonard Moong
  6. Ms Lily Chee
  7. Ms Miranda Ledesma
  8. Mr Sam Roberts
  9. Ms Silvia Wetherell
  10. Ms Toh Hwee Boon

The Academic Counsellors Sub-Committee

  1. Chairperson: Mr Mohd Zullkarnain b Abdul Aziz
  2. Ms Ada Chung
  3. Mr Bernard MacKenzie
  4. Mr C. Joshi
  5. Mr Jeffrey Lee Chung Yean
  6. Ms Ong Siew Hong
  7. Mr Steven Wu

The Community Counsellors Sub-Committee

  1. Chairperson: Mr Andy Lam
  2. Ms Dawn Tan
  3. Ms Hema Gurnani
  4. Mr Joachim Lee
  5. Ms Michele Gan
  6. Ms Sukumaran Nair Indu

The Clinical Supervision Standing Committee

  1. Chairperson: Mr Sam Kuna
  2. Dr Cecilia Soong
  3. Dr Elizabeth Nair
  4. Mr Joachim Lee
  5. Mr Tan Boon Huat

Improving our Communication with EXCO and Boards (Note: All emails stated below have been changed. Please refer to EXCO listings)

SAC members can now email directly to the various EXCO members and to the Chairpersons of the various Standing Boards listed above.

President                                   Sam Kuna – president@sacsingapore.org

Vice President                          Frederick Lowvice-president@sacsingapore.org

Honourary Secretary              Trina Tan – secretary@sacsingapore.org

Asst Honourary Secretary     Dan Ng– application@sacsingapore.org

Secretariat                                 Eileen Lee – admin@sacsingapore.org

Finance                                      Anthony Ow – finance@sacsingapore.org

Strengthening Our Administrative/Secretariat Processes

With effect from 1 March 2017, SAC has now 1 dedicated full time staff to handle administrative matters as well as provide secretariat support to the various boards/committees.  It has been our continuous effort to strengthen our administrative processes due to the increased number of SAC members and new applications over the period. Apart from this, we are now working on implementing an online SAC membership platform together with a revamped SAC website. We target to launch it by 1Q2018.

In a near future, SAC also plan to setup our own office premises to better handle the daily operations as well as a place where members can make use of the facilities.

Please continue to give us your valuable feedback or any queries via the SAC general email at admin@sacsingapore.org and our main line office at 6251-7040.

SAC Constitution, Code of Ethics and Handbook of Professional Counseling in Singapore

Realizing that the counseling landscape is dynamic and keeps changing locally and internationally, the EXCO has commissioned a progressive review of our SAC Constitution, the SAC Code of Ethics and the SAC Handbook of Professional Counseling in Singapore.

These are very important documents that form the foundation and ethos of SAC and it is identified in our constitution Article 3.2:-

The specific professional aims of the Association shall be:

(a)      To promote the professional practice of counselling.

(b)      To encourage the development and advancement of professional counselling as a mental health discipline in Singapore.

(c)      To promote and assist in the research on counselling theories and practice.

(d)      To promote and reinforce high standards in education and training, professional ethics, competency and growth.

(e)      To promote and enhance public awareness of the profession of counselling.

(f)       To foster co-operation and sharing of information and experience among professionals of different counselling approaches and specialities.

The EXCO invites members to seriously consider volunteering to assist in the research, review and the final presentation of these documents by the next AGM in 2018. If this review is terminated sooner, then the EXCO will consider calling for an Extra-ordinary General Meeting to table for approval from members.

Course Recognition Review and Revision of Standards

In view of the shifting academic changes going on within the different institutions, the EXCO has approved for all existing recognized courses to have their SAC Recognition extended without a review until October 2018. Please see the brief report by the Course Recognition Board below. The EXCO expresses its deep and sincere appreciation for the diligence and hard work put in by the Course Recognition Board through this review process.

Feedback on Professional Indemnity – Exemption Letter from Article 5.5.1

Once again, responding to feedback from members, the EXCO reviewed the process of applying for exclusion from Professional Indemnity (PI) and having to show proof that the RC member is covered with a PI within the agency or in private practice. It was decided that we design an exemption letter for members who are Registered Counsellors or who wish to apply to be on the Register, who already have Professional Indemnity to be exempted from Article 5.5.1 which says, “All registrants must show evidence of professional indemnity coverage when they apply for new registration or renew their registration with the SAC Register of Counsellors.” RC members who are sufficiently covered with Professional Indemnity only need to download the Exemption Form from the SAC website and sign and submit together with the RC Renewal Form.

Inclusive Posture of SAC – conversations with Ministry of Education, National Council of Social Service, Singapore Prison Service and SAF Counseling Centre

In a move that is in keeping with the goal and dream of the founding father of SAC, Mr Anthony Yeo, Mr Sam Kuna made visits with various representatives from Ministry Of Education (MOE), National Council of Social Service (NCSS), the Singapore Armed Forces Counselling Center (SAFCC) and the Prison Service to discuss the possible ways that SAC could support counsellors within these sectors and enable them to become members of SAC and benefit from the camaraderie and identification with SAC. We are seeing some movement within these sectors towards seeking membership with SAC and the EXCO will keep members updated of future developments.

Invitation to Veteran Counsellors as Clinical Members from January – December 2017

One major move that the EXCO has initiated is to re-open the Exemption Clause for the entire year of 2017. This Exemption Clause which was used in 2003 to bring all current veteran practitioners on board as Clinical Members. Thus, if veteran counselors who have been practicing for at least 5 years before 2003, i.e. from 1998, may apply through this Exemption Clause to become Clinical Members with SAC. They can begin to clock their hours towards becoming a Registered Counselor. We continue to invite veteran counselors to consider taking advantage of this invitation through 2017.

SAC’s Crisis Response Team in Partnership with SGSecure

After a meeting with a representative from the Ministry of Manpower, the SAC EXCO issued a recruitment drive among members to establish SAC’s Crisis Response Team in partnership with SCSecure. Thank you to many of our members who have signed up thus far. We are still listing members who are interested to be on-call for any emergencies within the corporate and business sector. Members are encouraged to download the SGSecure Applications at https://www.sgsecure.sg/Pages/default.aspx and we will keep you updated.

SAC Upcoming Initiatives

The following are some upcoming initiatives that SAC plan to organise for the period 2017 to 2018 :-

  1. To organise a 1-Day Conference to commemorate SAC’s 35th Anniversary in 2017. Tentative date: 3 November 2017
  2. To review the Course Recognition Program by October 2018
  3. To establish a virtual or web-based online office for better handling of the application processes for all levels of memberships, including the payments of fees and professional indemnity, and submission of all forms and update member’s personal information.
  4. To organize various training workshops each quarter in a calendar year to be led by the 3 Sub-committees.

UPDATES FROM BOARD AND SUB-COMMITTEES

1.Clinical Supervision Standing Committee – Report by Sam Kuna, Chairperson

At the 34th AGM, it was announced that SAC will maintain a Register of Clinical Supervisors and require a 2-year renewal process that will coincide with the renewal of their Registered Counsellor status. This was implemented in January 2017 with Clinical Supervisors being required to pay an annual fee of $50.00. However, we will continue to fine-tune the renewal process to coincide with the renewal of the Registered Counsellor status which is usually renewed in June every 2 years. The EXCO will study the process and adjust the administrative issues as necessary. The new SAC Clinical Supervision Standards and Procedures have been uploaded to the SAC website.

The postponed discussion on Resolution 3 at the 34th AGM was tabled on January 20, 2017 at a Dialogue with the EXCO. The outcome of the Dialogue produced changes in the proposed requirements for Clinical Supervisors to be recognized ad Registered Clinical Supervisors. The Resolution for Clinical Supervisors will be presented again at this AGM. Please see the attached Resolution 1.

2. Community Counsellors Sub-Committee – Report by Andy Lam, Chairperson

Proposed Skill-based Training on Clinical Supervision

In discussing the next line of focus, the Sub-Committee proposed to increase the professional identity and value add to the professional development of community counsellors.

Consequently, a skill-based training process focusing on clinical supervision was proposed.

This training process aims to achieve the following objectives in addition to fulfilling CPE hours:

  1. Equipping participants with new knowledge around clinical supervision;
  2. Providing the opportunity to acquire some skill-based practice;
  3. Encouraging professional feedback; and
  4. Engaging participants in professional networking.

The Sub-Committee is speaking to a potential trainer and will be concretising the proposal to SAC EXCO subsequently. The training is projected to take place in 3Q 2017.

3. Membership Sub-Committee – Report by Celine Edmund, Chairperson

The Membership Subcommittee met three times between July 2016 and February 2017.

During this period of time, the Membership Subcommittee generated one issue of the SAC E-magazine titled “The Savvy Therapist” (Dec 2016), and three SAC News Bulletins (Oct 16, Dec 16 & Feb 17).

At the same time, the committee had successfully completed the ‘Self Care Focus Group’, which was held on 27 October 2017. Since the turnout was reasonably well received, the committee will be looking at running another similar event somewhere in 1st week of October 2017 (date to be advised).

The Membership Sub-Committee actively pursued to create a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about SAC and also to help new members and current members seeking to understand some of the processes in SAC. The new FAQ was uploaded to the SAC website in January 2017. Do check it out at www.sacsingapore.org

4. Academic Counsellor’s Sub-Committee – Report by Zullkarnain, Chairperson

The Academic Counsellors Subcommittee has seen many changes with the appointment of a new chairperson and new members recruited. We take this opportunity to give thanks to Mr Frederick Low, Ms Michelle Lee and Mr Saravanakannan who had served in the subcommittee for their valuable contributions. We also welcome Mr Jeffrey Lee who will be joining us.

The subcommittee has recently supported the SAC Dialogue on Clinical Supervision which was hosted at Raffles Institution on 20 January 2016. We are also currently planning to collaborate with the Ministry of Education’s Guidance Branch to better support SAC members, particularly those working in academic institutions. We also hope to get more MOE counsellors on board as SAC members through the collaboration.

5. Ethics Board – Report by Dr Jessica Leong

The SAC Ethics Board was appointed by the President of SAC and the SAC EXCO members for the period from 17 June 2016 to 16 June 2018.

The Ethics Board had one meeting together with the President, Mr Sam Kuna to welcome members of the Board and to clarify the roles and responsibilities as well as matters pertaining to the development of the “SAC Ethics Manual of Procedures.”  There were no ethical complaints.

During this period, the Ethics Board attended to two enquiries. One related to the Press and the other related to informed consent of minors.  The Ethics Board will meet only as necessary or whenever there is an official complaint.

6. SAC Register of Counsellors Board – Report by Frederick Low, Chairperson

In late 2016, the Board commenced work and began reviewing applications for registration as SAC Registered Counsellors. During this transition period, the Board met and reviewed applications which were not reviewed by the Executive Committee. The Board will take over the review process from the Executive Committee for all new registration applications as well as Registered Counsellor renewals in the later part of 2017.

7. SAC Course Recognition Board – Report by Frederick Low, Adviser

In 2016, the Board in consultation with the Executive Committee began the process to conduct a review for the Course Recognition regime. The current Course Recognition Program has been in operations for more than a decade. All current recognized courses had their recognition period extended to October 2018 unconditionally so that both SAC and the institutions involved can engage in open discussions with the aim of improving the current system.

Conclusion

All these could not be materialised without the dedication and hard work of our EXCO and committees and I hope you can see we have made significant progress in the past nine months since their election and appointments to their various portfolios.

Once again, we thank SAC members for their valuable feedbacks. The leadership of SAC remain focus to strengthen the administration processes, to support the professional development of members through CPE training seminars and workshops, to ensure that professional benchmarks in counsellor training programs are kept current to international standards and to raise the competency, transparency and accountability for clinical supervision!

We look forward to an exciting second year to serve you, the counsellor and the community!

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Sam Kuna

SAC President (2016-2018)