As more people in Singapore recognise the importance of caring for our mental health, one might find themselves exploring the option of going for a counselling or therapy session.
The decision to start going for counselling can be a scary and foreign one. In addition, having to do extensive research in the sea of information on the internet can be an overwhelming experience.
Here are some tips and places in Singapore for those looking to start their counselling or therapy journey.
What is counselling or therapy
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Counselling and therapy are often terms that are used interchangeably. The main focus is for a participant to process their thoughts, feelings and emotions with a trained professional.
The professional will then offer their expertise and guidance by applying specific interventions and provide coping mechanisms if relevant for the situation. These sessions also help participant clarify their values and strategise the most effective path toward them.
This is different from going to a psychiatrist, as psychiatrists are not only trained to provide the same support in processing a participant’s emotions and struggles, they are also licenced to prescribe medication.
Many people have the misconception that counselling or therapy is a place to go only when there is a major or significant problem in life. Although these are appropriate platforms to reach out to in times of crisis, there is no problem too small or big to bring to a therapy session.
One good way to reframe it is to see counselling or therapy as setting up a safety net or going for a check-up. It is not necessary to wait until it gets overwhelming before going for a counselling or therapy session and it can be a way to learn coping methods for stress or even process positive feelings and successes.
This way of viewing therapy is also helpful in breaking the stigma that “something must be wrong” for someone to want to start going for counselling or therapy.
What to expect in a therapy session and how to get the most out of the process
It can be hard to imagine feeling better just by talking to a stranger about a problem, but counsellors are trained to build a strong therapeutic relationship that will predict a positive and helpful outcome.
Some people go to therapy thinking of it as a one-time visit to the doctor. A better way to approach it would be similar to going to the gym. Counselling or therapy sessions involve sharing with your counsellor innermost thoughts, feelings and experiences for a more effective intervention.
This will rarely be complete in one or two sessions, but as the participant does the inner work with their counsellor’s help, participants will be able to regulate their emotions more independently, thus having to go for lesser sessions.
Most therapists will ask participants in the first session what they hope to accomplish in therapy or what they would like to process.
Participants can get the most out of a counselling or therapy session by being prepared with an issue or aspect they wish to address or a goal of what they hope to achieve, regardless of how vague or unsure the idea is. It is a counsellors job to ask the right questions to dig deeper from that point on.
Where to get counselling in Singapore
Here are some of the organizations that you can reach out to for counselling or therapy sessions. One other reliable resource would be a trusted friend, colleague or family member who you know has gone for professional counselling.
Free counselling services and helplines
Silver Ribbon Singapore
Silver Ribbon Singapore provides free online counselling with trained counsellors via video call. There are three outlets to contact:
Address: Blk 208 Serangoon Central, #01-238, Singapore 550208
Telephone: 6386 1928
Address: Wisma Geylang Serai, 1 Engku Aman Turn Level 4, Singapore 408528
Telephone: 6509 0271
Address: Blk 550 Hougang Street 51, #01-168, Singapore 530550
Telephone: 6385 3714
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)
Samaritans of Singapore is a 24-hour suicide prevention helpline. Your life matters.
Telephone: 1800–221 4444
Tinkle Friend (by Singapore Children’s Society)
Tinkle Friend is a helpline and chat-line for primary school children.
Telephone: 1800–274 4788
Counselling and therapy organisations in Singapore
AWARE offers female-centric therapy for those who need a safe space. Their services cost 1% of the patient’s monthly salary per 60-minute session. For those who are unemployed, a minimum charge of $20 per session is applicable. Website Telephone: 1800-777 5555
Fei Yue Family Service Centre
Fei Yue is dedicated to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Book a counselling session at any of the outlets here. They also have an online counselling channel for youths aged 13 to 25 years old. The website can be found here.
Singapore Counselling Centre
The Singapore Counselling Centre (SCC) is the official counselling division of the Academy of Certified Counsellors (ACC). They provide a wide range of counselling and psychological services to enable those seeking help to mitigate stress and overcome the various issues of life. Website
REACH Counselling Service provides individual, couple and family counselling services, with a particular focus on marital and family work. They offer a variety of services to cater to various individuals. Website
Promises Healthcare provides a comprehensive range of psychiatric, psychological & physical well-being services for children and adults. Website
Religion Centred Counselling and therapy organisations in Singapore
Christian counselling – The Haven
Buddhist counselling – Shan You Counselling Centre
Muslim counselling – AMP Singapore
“Promise me you’ll always remember — you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh