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Health Psychology in Singapore

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In many Asian countries there is some reticence about acknowledging mental health issues as those that can be best addressed by psychologists, social workers or other nonmedical professionals. There is often an inclination to frame these issues as “medical” in nature. While there is considerable support for mental health services in Singapore, there is still a tendency to prefer a “medical” label when addressing challenges associated with cognitive and emotional disturbances. There is, in sum, an opportunity for psychologists to collaborate with medical professionals in the identification and treatment of mental health problems–Health psychology might be closely aligned with the perspectives and concerns of Singaporians.

What about mental ‘Illnesses” .associated with addictions, In some cases, these are clearly aligned with physical dysfunctions–such as the addictions to mind-altering and mood-altering chemicals. But what about addictions that do not seem to have a physical base — such as gambling addictions and sexual addictions. Is there a physical base?

As part of the series of essays and interviews on professional psychology in Singapore, Dr. Lian-Ya (Katrina) Wong has interviewed Dr. Eliza Yong–who is an addiction counsellor in Singapore. Following is this interview:


Dr. Eliza Yong

Dr. Eliza Yong, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (USA), is a Certified Substance Abuse and Gambling Addiction Counsellor by The Association of Professionals Specialising in Addictions Counselling (APSAC) and has been counselling individuals and their families since 2009. She also works with individuals and their families with domestic violence to break the violence cycle. Eliza is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Schema Therapy. She is a member of the Singapore Psychological Society, American Group Psychotherapy Association, APSAC and EMDR Singapore.

Dr. Yong also provides regular talks to understand and cope with different addictions and emotions as well as presents her research at international conferences. Eliza had a 2-month attachment to The Connection Inc.’s women’s programmes in residential houses, outpatient counselling centres and homeless program (Connecticut, USA) in 2013. Eliza used to have previous careers in hospitality and event marketing in an investment bank. In her free time, Eliza enjoys reading, the arts, nature, cooking and time with her family and her terrapin, Misty.

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