Kuala Lumpur, 09 November 2011 - UCSI University recently held a two-day National Counselling Conference, from 9am to 6pm at its Kuala Lumpur Campus. Themed, “Life Journey of H20: Hope, Help and Opportunity,” the Conference was organised to realise their aims of providing professional counseling to its community as well as to enhance the helping and counselling skills of counsellors and helping professionals within various industries. 

The Conference also focused on providing its participants with therapeutic knowledge and tools as well as invaluable information from the sharing of experiences and exchanging of ideas amongst renowned practicing professionals. Moreover, the workshop topics were highlighted to enhance self-discovery of the trainees and practitioners through various counselling approaches. 

According to the President of the Board of Counsellors, Malaysia, Dato’ Dr Ismail Alias, the government has acknowledged the increasing need of counselors and the helping profession in promoting human development and therefore has transitioned into pubescence with several counseling programmes being offered at both the local and private universities, as well as in the foreign offshore programmes. 

He added that these programmes are aimed at ensuring the professional practitioners are equipped with the competencies that would lead to specialization in drug counselling, sexual minority counselling, mental health counselling and family counselling. 

The various workshops, such as Art Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Therapeutic Journaling and Satir Therapy to name a few, were conducted to further educate the participants on the various methods of counseling and at the same time, to create trust and rapport between them and their clients to express their inner feelings and thoughts. These methods help develop the confidence level of the clients and increase self-awareness within themselves as practitioners. Hence, this event hopes the participants would be enriched with the self-discovery and therapeutic experiences that will upgrade their knowledge and skills in the counselling profession. 

“Statistics show that there are 450 million people throughout the world that are affected with mental health problems but would not seek any counselling support as most people seem to be under the impression that counselling is only meant for people who have serious emotional or mental problems. But the truth is, counselling is a tool to help one deal with one’s own problems so that we can be proactive in enhancing our lives,” said Professor Emeritus Dr Lim Koon Ong, the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Research during his opening speech at the Conference. 

Thus, the focus of the Conference on day two was on “Skills Enhancing and Opportunities in Helping the Profession,” where the participants were given the knowledge about taking the necessary steps to brush up their skills in order to stay on top of their professions and to provide them opportunities for helping professional development. Workshops like Crisis Intervention, Grief Therapy, Music Therapy & Peer Support Group were conducted. 

“I believe these skills which are to be discussed during the conference are necessary not only for handling remedial cases but they also provide opportunities for further professional development,” added Professor Lim as he touched on the importance of research and further development in the area of counseling. 

As the main objective is to provide a platform to enhance training and professional behavior among helping professionals, some renowned speakers in the industry were invited to share their knowledge and experiences through various topics. The keynote speech on the first day, encompassing the topic of “Discovery of Inner Self” was delivered by Professor Othman Dato’ Hj. Mohamed who is the Professor of Guidance and Counselling and is a registered certified counselling practitioner in Malaysia. In his speech, Professor Othman talked about the recollections and reflections on understanding about one self that coincides with the core elements of emotions, cognition, behavior and spirituality. He pointed out that self-discovery links to healthy relationships and honoring fidelity links to respect and understanding of our loved ones. 

Dr. Evelyn Biles, a lecturer, counsellor and mentor on the other hand, delivered her keynote speech entitled, “Dynamics of the Helping Profession” on the second day. Stepping into the counselling field with one mission; to help people overcome their own problems by empowering them instead of merely imposing ideology, Dr Biles stressed on conflict management which is observably common in Malaysia. As a result, she found the word “pressurize” frequently used by Malaysians which truly encapsulates the intensity of their stress levels. 

In line with one of UCSI University’s missions, ‘Education for all,’ this workshop-based Conference enables not only the recognition of the counseling profession as a catalyst for human development, but also to make learning and honing of skills available to everyone from all walks of life. 

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