We believe in providing our people with unique, meaningful and fulfilling opportunities.
Making A Difference In The Community
We work in the community, for the community. We also work alongside public sector agencies, gaining a broader sector perspective and ensuring policies can be practically-implemented on the ground. Ultimately, we believe doing the above will bring about a meaningful impact to people’s lives, especially the vulnerable population that we serve.
A Unique Experience
As the first hub model for psychologists in Singapore, we have an opportunity to come together to build up the social service psychological services. We can also dream big to imagine and shape the role of a psychologist based in the community.
As a practice-based organisation, we believe in developing well-rounded employees with deep competencies. As a CPH employee, you can look forward to a series of training and learning opportunities to enhance your professional and personal development. With formal supervision and peer support forming an integral part of our work culture, you will learn from the best through interactions with peers or receiving guidance from senior professionals. Expect job rotations and exposure across the different areas of CPH work to form part of your career development with us.
A “Hubbing” Experience
Our CPH psychologists are deployed to Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) to provide psychological services. They “come home” once a week to “hub”. “Hubbing” entails group sharing, case presentations, team huddles, ideastorming, project planning, peer support, lunch sessions or simply having a day (and the space) to regroup, rethink and recharge.
Hear from Yin Ling about her life at CPH!
Hello! My name is Yin Ling and I’m an Educational Psychologist. I have been with CPH since early 2016 and am currently deployed to an EIPIC (Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children) Centre.
A place of family
To me, CPH is like family. Every Friday, I return to a familiar place with people who share similar values and vision as I do. This family consists of members of different functions – from the caring leaders who guide the freshly-minted, raring-to-go psychologists, to the mothering administrators, to the energetic and youthful research team. This is a family where our opinions are heard and considered whenever the senior team make decisions with regards to the growth of CPH. And who can forget our resident feline, Meowvis and his escapades? Meowvis has opened doors for us to extend a welcome to people within the Enabling Village (EV).
In CPH, I have received much-needed emotional and social support from fellow colleagues, psychologists or otherwise: a listening ear after having gone through a challenging week and mini celebrations for making steps forward. The fantastic thing is that most of us would have had similar experiences through working or volunteering in the community and so we all become more intentional in looking out for one another. Help is always there on Fridays. And since humour is an effective coping mechanism for stress, the intermittent laughter heard throughout the day.
The importance of self-care is regularly emphasised at CPH. Like most people in Singapore, food is essential. During lunch, we either eat out or buy food back to gather snugly around the table to catch up. Nom Nom Friday is a defining feature of CPH, which includes grander feasting, as well as birthday celebrations. Tsum Tsum mobile game is a serious affair among the trendier ones (FYI, I had to search the game on Google while writing this). I am also looking forward to the non-sedentary activities the Recreation Club will be organising.
A place for learning
Before you think it is all fun and games at CPH, we do take our work seriously. CPH creates such a space for professional development. Don’t know much about epilepsy or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy? Unsure how to communicate effectively with others? Or learnt about using play for intervention? These were some things that were shared during various seminars and TEACH@CPH sessions, where one of us would share about our area(s) of interest/expertise or on a recent training that we attended.
Of course, individual clinical supervision from a more senior psychologist plays a key part of professional growth. In addition, because the psychologists (e.g., Clin Psychs, Ed Psychs, etc.) all vary in experience and areas of expertise, there would always be someone we can approach whenever we come across a difficult case. For example, a psychologist with expertise on epilepsy could be consulted about what to do with a client with seizures. A research assistant with better skills in Excel can assist during auditing period. As we do not see clients on Fridays, it is also a day that we can catch up on our own learning and other paperwork that we may not have time for during the rest of the week.
But my VWO feels like home too!
(Note. This section only describes my personal experience. The experiences and circumstances of every CPH psychologist are different.)
I know I have spoken of CPH being family – this is definitely truth. However, I have been blessed by the openness of the Voluntary Welfare Organization (VWO) that I am deployed to four days a week. At the VWO, I wear two hats – to my clients, I am “teacher Yin Ling” representing the VWO; to the staff, I am from CPH. When my colleagues found out that a few of us were not hired directly by the VWO, we were peppered with questions, including: You mean you’re not a [VWO] staff? What’s CPH? How come [another psychologist] is from [VWO] and you’re not? What do you do on Fridays? How long will you be staying at the VWO? Tricky questions that had to be answered with care and honesty.
Once the dust settled, my VWO colleagues have warmly welcomed the four other CPH psychologists and me into the EIPIC Centre and a few of us have forged strong friendships with them and planned other activities with them, such as steamboats, karaoke and dinners. Even though I am from CPH, I am incredibly thankful that they see me as part of the team, which includes social workers, therapists, teachers, who work together to understand and plan goals for each child that enters the EIPIC Centre. They are the ones who have seen me trying to figure out why a child is displaying outbursts in class, willingly go along with intervention strategies, heard me explain why certain changes are needed in the classroom and cheered together when a child succeeds! They have sat through sessions with parents – some easy, others more painful. While Fridays usually serve as a reprieve for me, I do occasionally wish I was at the VWO doing interventions whenever I have that one particular struggling kid. In short, my journey as an early career psychologist has undeniably been influenced by my colleagues and experiences in the VWO.
Growing in numbers
CPH has tripled in size since I started. It is a healthy growth, but it does have its drawbacks:
“How do we maintain the family-like culture of the hub?”
“Wow. So crowded!”
“There’s too much talking, I can’t concentrate on work”
When once I could choose where to sit at the hub, we now have to share desks with fellow colleagues. This also means more chatting informal peer supervision. We can choose to go to another place within EV, where it is much quieter. When once I could easily hold longer conversations with most of my colleagues, I barely say “hi” to some of them now. A recently-hired psychologist once commented, “I love it now, but when I first came to CPH, the number of people in the office was overwhelming”.
Despite its challenges, everyone has been making huge efforts to preserve the spirit of unity within CPH. A new psychologist starts off with a buddy (usually deployed to the same organization) who would guide him/her through CPH, EV and the VWO. During lunch, we mix around and talk to different people.
So, yes, we are growing and the space is almost bursting at its seams. But we’ve managed to work around it. Work is getting busier. But Friday is a break from the crazy week and I get to learn new things on Fridays. I am well supported by enthusiastic, like-minded people. After weighing all the pros and cons (for myself), as an early career psychologist working in the community, I can’t think of a better place to be.
– Sim Yin Ling, Educational Psychologist
Hear from Bernie about her life at CPH!
It has been a little over a year since I started my stint with CPH in July 2015.
Throughout the year, many have asked me what it’s like working in CPH, so here’s a list of 5 things that sums up the journey thus far:
1. The work week
Most of us at CPH are deployed for most of the work week to Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs). My work week is divided between SPD, the VWO I’m deployed to, and CPH. From Monday to Thursday mornings, I’m at SPD, providing psychological services under the Development Support Programme (DSP) to preschool children. When Thursday afternoon comes around, that’s when I make my way back to CPH for clinical supervision, to catch up with colleagues and for nourishment from the many snacks that have piled up over the week when I was on deployment.
Just as we have our good and bad days, so too do the preschoolers I work with. Sometimes, everything in that week seems to be going wrong for them. This could range from general moodiness, to feeling physically unwell, to having been reprimanded quite a fair bit over the week by their teacher. When this happens, the child may become more hesitant or irritable during individual or group therapy sessions. At other times, there does not seem to be a discernible reason for their behaviours.
These moments are challenging to me as a new psychologist, as I try to figure out what is causing the child to behave this way, while trying to handle the occasional physical or emotional outburst. However, working with preschoolers has its fair share of treasured moments as well. I see how the child tries his/ her best despite having a bad day at school, or hear about how he/ she perseveres through a difficult task, surprising the teachers with his/ her tenacity. Many of these children also suffer from a bad reputation in school, and it is extremely edifying when teachers are able to peel away the negative label to see the child’s strengths.
My experience at SPD has been a very welcoming one, as the team has been warm and positive. When work gets tough, there’s always positivity and good humour to provide a much needed emotional boost. We do not see each other often as the DSP requires us to travel to different preschools to provide services. However, that is never a deterrent as we use every opportunity we can to catch up.
2. Psychological support is always available!
Working in the helping profession has given me many moments of satisfaction and joy. Yet, there are times when I feel demotivated because things do not always turn out the way I had hoped. Or, we just feel ill-equipped to handle the challenges given to us. Where else to best seek psychological support than from a hub full of psychologists! In stressful moments, CPH colleagues have provided much comfort and counsel, as they share their own reflections on therapy or similar challenges with clients, and reassure me that I am not alone in my struggles.
I recall a moment when I had shared with a colleague about feeling discouraged because my case seemed too challenging. Instead of telling me what to do, that colleague had reassured me, saying that we are one of the many people the child would meet in their lives, and while we are in this child’s life, we do what we can to plant seeds of learning, which may grow later, if not during the span of our therapy work with them.
In fact, the assurance I receive from empathetic colleagues provides me with encouragement to handle challenges and obstacles, and to keep moving forward in difficult situations. At times, being amidst the positive team already does wonders to lift the mood, as CPH psychologists are gifted with humour, perseverance, and have the ability to see the best (or the funny) in any situation. Our newest addition, the Enabling Village cat (Meowvis), has also proven himself to be useful as cat therapy.
CPH is a big advocate of learning and development. Other than courses, seminars and conferences, we learn at in-house sessions called TEACH@CPH.
These are informal teaching sessions delivered by CPH colleagues based on either a pet topic, or a recent training they have attended. Topics are wide ranging, from personal development, to research, assessment and creative play. Learning takes place in other forms too. We learn about our colleagues as these sessions reveal hidden talents among the team. Some are good at presenting ideas, others at art, and many, at speech and drama (some of us poured our heart and soul into re-enacting the pains of the 3 Little Pigs in a recent creative play teaching session – see accompanying photo below).
4. It is not just about work
Being in CPH is not just about work and more work, although we do take our responsibilities very seriously. For one, we have Nom Nom Fridays, monthly lunchtime gatherings set aside so that we all have time to catch up with one another after being away for most of the week. The amount of food we consume at CPH is balanced nicely with our weekly exercise initiative aptly termed as Fitness Fridays. This is when a small group of us, enticed by a promising breakfast after a killer workout, meet at 7.45 am on Friday mornings for cardio, yoga or whatever exercise tickles our fancy.
5. This is home, truly
Back at the hub on Thursday afternoons and Fridays, it always feels like a giant family reunion, as we all return from deployment with different stories to share. It feels like home, because we know that we will look out for one another, and that difficulties or struggles are discussed openly, with respect and with an open mind to hear all views. We know that we have a voice, and a share in this vision that we are building. Most of all, I feel like I’m returning to a secure base, a family, whose members I am thankful to be among.
– Bernadette Chan, Educational Psychologist