As the holidays approach for the universities and most of you will be embarking on internships during this period, SG Psych Stuff have decided to do some posts on this topic of internships. This one would be looking at how best to approach your internships so as to benefit from your time with a particular organization. Increasingly, with internships becoming the norm in one's tertiary education and everyone doing them, these will result in the reduction of the value of internships as part of your CV and the credibility and soundness of your internships may soon begin to be scrutinized by employers. Without further ado, here are three simple tips to maximise your experience and improve your learning outcomes from your internships:
1. Choosing a suitable organization
To ensure that you gain the most out of an internship, it is essential to choose an organization that aligns with your goals. While conventional wisdom points to internships as being experimental periods where you explore what you wish to do in the future, that isn’t the case for undergraduate internships.
As a psychology undergraduate, you should have a basic understanding of the various fields in psychology and an inkling of the area which you may want to eventually work in. With this knowledge, you can actually leverage on your internship to help you get a foot into the respective sectors or psychological specialisations. To start off, you have to research more about the field to better understand the various organizations within it and also the various sectors in each field. For example, if you wish to venture into clinical psychology, you may need to consider what aspect of clinical psychology suits or interests you most. This will then lead to a list of the most suitable organisations that fits your needs (e.g., if you’re into child psychology, KK Hospital or the Child Guidance Clinic at IMH may be better matches over an internship at the Singapore Police Force).
2. Being prepared
Now that you’ve decided where to go, it is important to start learning more about the organization. Learn about the people within it and the work the organization does. Specifically, check out the departments that you may end up working in and look up individuals you may be working for while on your internship. Read up on their current and past projects to gain a better understanding of their work, which will allow you to then do more independent research and evaluation to come up with ideas on how you can add value to their work. In addition to learning more about the field, this also will give you an opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge you have gained from school in real world situations and also show your supervisors that you are keen on a career in the sector.
3. Forging networks
Last but certainly not least and perhaps the most underlooked aspect is that undergraduates do not consider are the numerous networking opportunities available during internships. If you have completed the two tips above, you should be in an excellent position to start building your connections with individuals in the field.
Additionally, while maintaining good relationships with your fellow interns is essential, you should also consider becoming on good terms with your supervisors and other professionals working in the field. While this can be intimidating at times, it really boils down to how prepared you are, because this will allow you to communicate with them on a more equal level. By being updated on the pressing issues in the field, discussions on how to solve them can be done, and this will allow you to forge professional relationships with such individuals.
We wish all of you the very best in your internships and do comment below on how these tips may have benefited you!
As mentioned briefly in the previous post, positive psychology has been applied to other specialised psychological fields such as clinical psychology and educational psychology. In this post, we explore how positive psychology theories and interventions have been adopted in some fields.
1. Clinical Interventions Clinical psychology traditionally looks on the abnormal aspects of human personality and behaviour, focusing on alleviation of these behaviours that deviate from societal norms. However, the integration of positive psychology into clinical psychology shifts the focus beyond negative functioning onto both negative aspects and human positive flourishing. According to Wood and Tarrier (2010), choosing to focus on positive aspects of behaviour, emotions and thoughts can improve the prediction of disorders and act as a cushion for traumatising life experiences. Wood and Tarrier recommended that positive functioning should be integrated into clinical psychology to make it a more holistic field in treating disorders. Their findings have been supported by earlier and recent research that found that happiness interventions lead to sustained levels of happiness and lowered depression (Seligman, Steen, Park, and Peterson, 2005; Germer and Neff, 2013).
2. Educational Psychology With increased stress and competitiveness in the global world, some educational psychologists acknowledge the need to teach students happiness skills (Seligman, Ernst, Gillham, Reivish, and Linkins, 2009). According to Seligman and colleagues, these happiness skills increase “resilience, positive emotion, engagement and meaning” to school children. In Waters’ (2012) research, she reviewed 12 positive psychology interventions in schools. Her study reflected significant relationships between these interventions and student wellbeing, interpersonal relationships and academic results. Optimism is also more common amongst better performing students in schools (Pajares, 2010) and associated with better coping (Reschly, Huebner, Appleton, and Antaramian, 2008).
3. Workplace Wellbeing Industrial and organisational psychologists are concerned with improving an organisation’s success through members’ job satisfaction, motivation and health. Researchers have dwelled on this and studied the use of positive psychology in the workplace. Based on Turner, Barling and Zacharatos (2002), using positive psychology in work practices can make work enjoyable for employees and cultivate greater resilience and optimism in them. Positive psychology strategies have also been adapted into I/O theories to boost productivity and motivation in the workplace (Martin, 2005).
With positive psychology’s increasing application on to other fields, it may very well pave the way for how future research is conducted. While more research has to be done to further support the strengths of using positive interventions, one can be hopeful and anticipate more contributions from the field of positive psychology.
Image Credit: Wiki Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_pot)
Today's topic is about the Steamboat (or also know as Hotpot or 火锅 in Singapore)!! It is a dish very commonly found and available all year round, so...
Why are we still having it for Chinese New Year reunion dinner?
Some families may choose to have a banquet dinner, but majority would still go for the all-favourite steamboat!
It seems to have a logical reason after exploring several sources. Going back to Chinese customs and traditions, two words explains it all. They are 围炉 (read as wei-lu; meaning "gathering around the family and hearth" as defined by National Library Board) and 团圆 (read as tuan-yuan; meaning of "reunion" and "getting together as a whole").
According to this Taiwanese Yahoo forum, it is common to have a hot stove to warm up the family during the reunion dinner (which is 围炉) during the Chinese New Year winter in China. This has evolved to the steamboat in modern day. With a burning fire for steamboat, it represents a prosperous family. With the steamboat dinner, it allows the whole family to come together and reunion (which is 团圆) for this special dinner.
Why do we need to have this special reunion dinner? (From a psychological viewpoint)
This behaviour of sitting together for a family meal could be explained using the relational models theory (Fiske & Haslam, 2005). According to Alan Fiske,
"Relational models theory posits that people use four elementary models to generate, interpret, coordinate, contest, plan, remember, evaluate, and think about most aspects of most social interaction in all societies. These models are Communal Sharing, Authority Ranking, Equality Matching, and Market Pricing. Scores of studies have demonstrated that people in all cultures use these models to organize much of their everyday social cognition."
With the above reasons, it highly demonstrates the model of Communal Sharing, where the family comes together once a year (or more), performing "comunal sharing" by having New Year's dinners or lunches, and hence increasing the cohesiveness and connectedness of the group.
It is not really about the steamboat dinner, but more of having a dinner with the whole family where everyone comes together on this one special evening. Regardless of a banquet, steamboat, or even a simple family meal, it is always the company of the family that counts.
Valentine’s day on February 14th is approaching soon. Love songs, red and romance has started splashing in the air. Pink and red advertisements also start gracing the windows of retail shops complimenting the Valentine’s ambience as well as creating a high profiting festive (with CNY in the mix for 2018). It is an opportunity for retailers to craft the gift of dreams for consumers. Interestingly on the other hand, in America, National Retail Federation (O’Shea, 2017) reported that consumers were spending lesser in 2017, as compared to 2016, which indicates a decrease in people who plan to celebrate Valentine’s day or a tendency to spend lesser on this special day.
History of Valentine’s Day
One of the inspired history about Valentine’s Day is related to St Valentine who was a priest whom helped couples wed in secret (Romney and Mullin, 2018). It was rumoured that when he was sent to prison for not obeying the Roman emperor Claudius II, he sent a letter to a young girl he had fallen in love with and signed it ‘From your Valentine'. Some believed that Valentine's day is celebrated on 14 February to mark the anniversary of St Valentine's death.
Reasons to celebrate Valentine’s day
There are two reasons mentioned by White (2011) in his Psychology Today post. He commented that Valentine’s Day provides an opportunity for people who are dating but not in a committed relationship yet to “test the waters” by trying out as a couple to assess whether both parties are ready to commit in the relationship. As for people who are crushing on someone, it is a great opportunity to express their feelings on that special day, without feeling awkward.
Differences between gender in buying gifts
People in new relationships may felt more obligated to give gifts than those in established ones. George Zinkhan (2003, as cited in Coghlan, 2009) found that 81% of men in new relationships felt most obliged to buy Valentine Day gifts; only 50% of females felt the need to buy the gifts. However when they are in a more mature relationship, 44% of men and 13% of women are willing to buy the gifts.
Gender role may also affect the expectations in the presenting of gifts. In general, women may expects the men to plan or create a day that is more lavish each year.
Are gifts really necessary to build up a more established relationship?
The Influence of Retailers and Consumer Psychology
This special festive season is especially tied to emotions. Since the 18th century when Valentine’s Day took off in England (Romney and Mullin, 2018), lovers start sending cards and flowers to their loved ones. That is when Valentine’s Day cards are being mass produced leading to the start of commercialism of this special day. It has hence become a day for people to prove that they love their partner through materialistic celebrations and presents.
Marketers are trying to convince people that gifts are necessary on February 14 to prove that they love their partner (Coghlan, 2009). This trend shows complexities of consumer psychology such as perceived obligations to buy gifts, escalating expectations by the the other special half (i.e. boyfriend or girlfriend) and ambivalence that may give in to market resistance (Scheinbaum, 2015). If gifts are not presented or meeting the expectations, there may be feelings of dissatisfaction and hence impacting the quality of the relationship over time.
“According to the theory, when an individual's freedom to engage in a specific behavior is threatened. the threatened behavior becomes more attractive. For reactance to occur, the individual must have an expectation of free choice and the individual must perceive the freedom in question as being important (Clee and Wicklund 1980).”
This meant that despite not wanting to give in the retailers to purchase a gift (the threatened behaviour), it seemed that buying the gift is the more “attractive” behaviour as the freedom of maintaining the relationship is more important.
In a nutshell, it seemed like there are good reasons to buy the gifts and utilising the elements of surprise and generosity to satisfy your partner’s expectations. These are also the vital aspects used by retailers to design the marketing strategies during this season. As much as it may be the rituals of adapting into the commercialized world of buying gifts during Valentine’s Day, it is important to understand your relationships also requires a balance of trust, love, and care to maintain it for the long run.
However the main question you might have is: Which diploma should I take?To better guide prospective psychology students taking up the polytechnic route, this post is written in the Question-and-Answer format with questions that students may actually ask. Disclaimer: This post is written with the assumption that you are eligible and able to enter the local programs with your current results.
I am really interested in psychology, but I am not sure if I should go to a Junior College or Polytechnic first?
I am only interested in learning psychology and no other programs.
Answer: Simple question. You have two options: Diploma of Psychology Studies either at TP or NP, both under their respective Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences.
What is the difference between the TP and NP Diplomas of Psychology Studies?
Answer: From our knowledge, we only know that the TP diploma has a very strong inclination towards research, while the NP diploma has a strong inclination towards working in the community. Otherwise they should be very similar.
What are my choices if I would like to try psychology with something else?
Answer: For those also interested in the application of psychology in business and human resource, you have diploma options such as:
How do I know whether which psychology/psychology-related diploma at which polytechnic is best for me?
Answer: This is the most difficult question. As we have learnt in psychology that humans are very complex and each of us a very different person, there is no standard answer to this question. Each of you may be choosing the diploma and the polytechnic for different reasons. I would advise that you seek the help of your secondary school's Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Counsellors, or the polytechnic's ECG Counsellors if they are available at the JAE exercises in the polytechnics, for their opinions as well. You should also find out more about the respective diplomas from their websites as well as the lecturers available this week at the JAE exercise.
The 'O' levels results are coming out soon on 12 January 2018, which has resulted in the polytechnics having their Open Houses this week and the JAE exercises from 12 to 17 January 2018.
As mentioned previously, the cut-off scores are the scores of the lowest ranked students who entered that program, and is only a general indication of the next year's intake, and hence does not guarantee that you will be given a spot even if you get that similar score.
Here are the cut-off for psychology and psychology-related programs from 2017 for your application in 2018:
For the diplomas: These cut-off points are based on ELR2B2: (Please refer to the respective websites for more details) EL=English Language; R2=Two relevant subjects; B2=Any two other subjects excluding CCA
For the 2018/19 admissions for the degrees: This are represented by their current year entry students' 3H2/1H1 and polytechnic GPA grades and stated by 10th % - lowest minimum; and 90th % - safest to be confirmed percentile
NUS (2016/17): 3H2/1H1: 10th - ABB/B, 90% - AAA/A. GPA: 10th - 3.73, 90% - 3.94 (Additional criteria - Students must obtain at least a B-grade in each of these modules during their first year of the program: PL1101E and PL2131) NTU (2016/17): 3H2/1H1: 10th - ABC/B, 90% - AAA/A. GPA: 10th - 3.69, 90% - 3.94 SMU (2016/17): 3H2/1H1: 10th - BBC/B, 90% - AAA/A. GPA: 10th - 3.71, 90% - 3.96 The indicative grade profiles of the 2017/18 cohorts are not being released by the universities.
For last year's academic requirements, please view here!!
Good Luck for your 'O' Levels results and your polytechnic and university applications!!!
A model was proposed during the recent SPS Student Forum 2017 at Singapore Management University during the opening talk, and it discussed on how one can discover your psychological specialisation. It is achieved mainly through these steps: 1. Learn 2. Explore 3. Experience 4. Network
Actually it is relatively easy if you know what to do and have the means to do it.
These steps are actually the same as our topic for today: Carving your Psychology Career during University, but I will be providing you with more resources, as well as a new opportunity that SG Psych Stuff has decided to pilot for 2018!
When you are doing your university (and other tertiary) education, this is the best time to try out different things, because as a student, a) it is socially accepted to discover and try out new things and still fail at the same time, and b) you have lesser obligations and commitments than a working adult, which results in more time to try out new things. Starting to plan and carve your career earlier is better, with reasons as stated in 3 Reasons Why You Should Plan Your Psychology Career During University, and it helps to increase your value even before you finish your degree.
So here are three things I would advise you to do before you graduate: 1. Network 2. Internship or Volunteer (or any experience) 3. Find a mentor With regards to Networking and Internship/Volunteer, SG Psych Stuff has already written multiple posts on their benefits and why you should partake in them as much as possible. Here are the posts to read before you start anything else:
Finding a mentor was a idea that is relatively new that has only been discussed since November 2016, hence here is the only post: Having a Mentor for Your Psychological Journey Often, a mentor is someone that you know through your existing contacts (hence Power of Networking again), whom you can discuss your career thoughts and issues in the hope to better direct yourself in the path that you wish to move in your psychological journey. This navigation in your journey is not easy, hence it is of utmost important to find a mentor who is willing to guide you, as well as challenge you to become a stronger person. ANNOUNCEMENT:Throughout our years in SG Psych Stuff, we have tried and implemented many projects to help students gain better knowledge. Here is our latest project for 2018:
SG Psych Stuff will be taking in a total of 8 students for our pilot mentorship program. We are currently only accepting Year 1 and 2 students who are studying the major of Psychology from local universities in Singapore (as of Jan 2018).
Please click THIS LINK for more details and registration for the program! Registration for the program will close 14 January 2018.
Interviews may be done in end January or early February to see the suitability of the students to the respective mentors. Stay tuned!
So you’ve worked hard to get the results you’ve needed to get into that psychology course you’ve always wanted to enter, but...
For most university students, it is very easy to get caught up in the seemingly never-ending array of tasks required by the course. This leads to a cycle that doesn’t end until you’ve finally graduated, but then you suddenly realize that your psychology degree does not allow you to do what you’ve always dreamed of doing, such as a clinical psychologist or educational psychologist or counsellor? This can be a harsh reality check for many undergraduates who have been so focused on their academic pursuit during their undergraduate years that they’ve forgotten to plan for their future careers. Not fully convinced? Here are a few reasons why it’s useful to start planning your career as a psychology undergraduate:
1. Many specialist psychology fields require a postgraduate degree
To be recognized a practicing psychologist within most fields (the exception being perhaps organizational psychology, although in most cases you still need a postgraduate degree, but this differs from company to company), you need at least a master’s degree or in some cases (e.g., lecturing at the university level) a doctoral degree. This means a minimum of 2 to 3 years of waiting and studying before you are able to start practicing in those respective fields. Given that most fresh university graduates have little to no practical experience in these fields, it would be even more challenging for one to be able to find a job, even if it was an entry level position, to do a job related to the field they wish to pursue (e.g., research assistant or associate psychologist).
2. Tougher Competition
Increasingly, the amount of people with the basic qualifications and who possess the same knowledge as you is constantly getting larger, but the amount of available positions in postgraduate courses and psychology related jobs remains the same. This leads to a situation where if everyone knows the same things and has the same amount of experience; how are potential schools/employers going to assess the best candidate or candidates for the limited positions available? The answer may seem obvious, but as harsh and unfair as it may be, sometimes it boils down to the people you know.
Often people assume that knowing people helps you to win a position because of that person’s influence within the field you are preparing to enter, and this may be the case sometimes, but in general, having someone in the field vouch for you shows the effort you’ve made above and beyond just ensuring you attain the minimum requirements for entry into it. It shows potential schools/employers that this is an individual who has long known what they’ve wanted to do and is someone who has taken the required actions to increase their chances at doing so.
3. Networks Do Not Form Overnight
Lastly, and perhaps mostly importantly, networks do not form as quickly and easily as most people think they do. A professional network is very similar to a social one, it requires effort and commitment to growing it. This can be especially tedious for undergraduates who may already be struggling to balance their academic and social commitments. But just like any other network, people will not remember or consider you a part of their network if you do not make the effort to be part of it. At this point, some of you may be thinking: "So what if I don’t have an active professional network during my undergraduate years?" The answer is pretty straightforward and is directly related to the second point. Having a professional network allows you to meet and learn from people who are already in the field you wish to join. This allows you to get a behind-the-scenes look at the field and to know how best to increase your chances of becoming part of it.
Stay tuned to the next segment:
3 Ways of Carving Your Psychology Career during University!
In the last two years when I had a short career switch stint, I asked myself:
"What do I want to improve now?"
I knew my answers instantly, and it was to improve my counselling skills. Hence I went on a search to better understand the respective frameworks being taught in Singapore.
This website explains it quite well with the therapies being categorised into:
cognitive and behavioural therapies,
psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, and
What I wanted to learn more of was humanistic therapies (and this had been always been the same throughout my own psychological journey).
I had a criteria when researching and selecting for these certification courses:
The course has to allow me to be certified and recognised as a practitioner of that counselling framework.
Reason: There are actually many training courses out there that gives out certifications at the end of the course. However, the worth and value of these certificates are almost close to nothing, if I am not able to use them in my career or work. (This is regarding the same question when students ask me if certain degrees are 'recognised'. My answer is that the industry / employers must "recognise" them in order for the certificates to have value to you.)
I managed to find two institutions that provide such certificates that met my criteria. Even better, they are quite widely acceptable by the counselling and social work circles, even within the education system and other public services. They are respectively:
I really considered it quite intensely with the below factors:
1) Price - cost of training can be an issue, considering that I have bills to pay
2) Duration - How fast I can finish the program, with full-time work
3) Alignment to my own framework - this is the most important factor for me.
With my psychological training mostly focused on CBT and my preference for Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) and Person-centred Therapy, it is important that I am able to integrate this new training and framework into my existing ones. Hence I did my further research on these frameworks and asked both of the institutions many questions before I finally made my decision after a few months.
My choice? Currently, I am doing my CTRT Stage 4: Advanced Practicum, working my way to the final Stage 5: CT/ RT Certification, where I will receive the designation of Choice Theory/ Reality Therapy Certified (CTRTC). Fingers crossed!
From 1999, National Institutes of Health (NIH) created the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) with the mission of investigating the efficiency of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and how they can better improve health (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/04/ce-corner.aspx). Since then, many studies have shown the effectiveness of the CAM modalities on various ailments and disorders.
Complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) is being used in practice more often now. These two words are often used together; however, they are significantly different from each other. A complementary therapy is a form of therapy used alongside the conventional medical treatment to cope better with illness. On the other hand, an alternative therapy is generally used instead of conventional medical treatment. We will discuss a few CAM modalities below.
Meditation Meditation is commonly and widely used. It is a process by which people learn to focus their attention as a way of gaining greater insight into themselves and their surroundings. Research has showed that the meditation program is associated with significant reductions in blood pressure (Rainforth, Schneider, Nidich, Gaylord-King, Salerno, & Anderson, 2007). In another study by Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt and Walach (2007), they suggested that mindfulness meditation may help individuals with either clinical (i.e. cancer, heart disease, depression) or non-clinical issues to cope with stress level.
Aromatherapy Aromatherapy is a natural way of healing a person’s mind, body and soul using the fragrance or smell during the therapy session. It is believed that using different scents (extracted from plants) and oils are beneficial for different therapeutic purposes, such as reducing pain, anxiety and agitation (Ali, Al-Wabel, Shams, Ahamad, Khan, & Anwar, 2015). In the study by Domingos and Braga (2015), aromatherapy is found to show the effectiveness in relieving anxiety by decreasing the heart and respiratory rates in patients diagnosed with personality disorders during psychiatric hospitalization. Chang and Shen (2011) have also found that with the use of Bergamot during the aromatherapy, individuals with moderate and high degrees of anxiety and stress level showed significant improvement in reducing blood pressure and heart rate, hence striking a balance in their autonomic nervous activity. However, it is also important to note that personal preference on the scents could also lead to different results.
Yoga Yoga is a physical practice that unites the body, mind and spirit (Hagen & Nayar, 2014). During the yoga process, individuals will have slow and rhythmic breathing, which can release prolactin and the hormone oxytocin, lead to a sense of calmness (Toerner, Toschi, Nava, Clapp, & Neumann, 2002). Besides, yoga can also improve children’s sense of self-awareness, self-confidence and concentration skills (Thiyagarajan Subramanian, Trakroo, Bobby, & Das, 2015). National Health Interview Survey (2007) showed that yoga was the most favoured CAM practices among children with behavioural, emotional or mental health problems.
Religion and Spirituality Religion and spirituality are two separate entities. Religion is institutionized spirituality, hence, there are various religions involves spirituality which are different sets of beliefs, traditions and doctrines (Verghese, 2008). Brody (2003) found that parents are more likely to have harmonious marital relationships and better parenting skills when they are more involved in church activities. This leads to the improvement in children’s competence, self-regulation, psychosocial adjustment and school performance. Tonigan’s (2003) study also demonstrated that spirituality promotes alcohol abstinence by increasing the likelihood of being honesty and responsible. Religion and spirituality have been integrated into practices among psychologists and psychotherapists (D’Souza, 2004; Verghese, 2008). Certification is not required to integrate religion and spirituality into practices. However, professionals should not go beyond their clinical roles and take on the role of clergy. Education and training should be considered to obtain in order to ensure their clinical competence (Barnett & Shale, 2012).
Dance Therapy Dance therapy is a psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of individuals (American Dane Therapy Association, 2012). It is believed that by focusing on the body, one should be able to affect his or her mind and therefore relieve a variety of symptoms by enjoying the pleasure of creating rhythmic motions with the body (Barnstaple, 2016). Studies have also showed that dance therapy can help with symptoms associated with dementia (Verghese et al., 2013), depression (Koch, Morlinghaus & Fuchs, 2007) and a variety of physical disabilities, as well as to promote overall well-being (Burgess, Grogan & Burwitz, 2006). Debates are still on-going with regards to the effectiveness of dance therapy. For instance, Meekum, Karkou & Nelson (2015) have found no significant impact of dance therapy on individuals with depression. On the other hand, Harris (2007) revealed a reduction in anxiety, depression, intrusive recollection, elevated arousal and aggression symptoms among a group of former boy combatants.
Music Therapy Music therapy uses music to promote healing and enhance quality of life. It provides distraction from anxiety, pain and depression (Mettner, 2005; Petteron, 2001) by directing the listener to soothing and comforting music (Lane, 2005). Music therapy has been widely used as a complementary therapy along with other cancer treatments to help patients cope mentally and physically with their diagnosis. Studies have showed the significant improvements in cancer patients’ state of well-being such as decreased level of cortisol, increased level of relaxation and more positive emotions (Burns, Harbuz, Hucklebridge & Bunt, 2001; Hirsch & Meckes, 2000).
Art therapy Creating art is found to be helpful in the healing process as individuals can slowly walk through their painful or traumatic experiences hidden in their subconscious mind by creating a painting or drawing (Eaton, Doherty & Widrick, 2007; St. Thomas & Johnson, 2002). Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of art therapy in various health issues such as asthma, depression, cancer (Beebe, Gelfance & Bender, 2010; Thyme, Sundin, Stahlberg, Lindstrom, Eklof & Wiberg, 2007; Svensk, Oster, Thyme, Magnusson, Sjodin, Eisemann, Astrom & Lindh, 2009). Results showed that art therapy can reduce anxiety, improve quality of life and self-concept, reduce depressive and stress-related symptoms and increase in coping resources with regards to the health issues.
Limitations on CAM
Research on the effectiveness and underlying mechanisms of the many CAM modalities has greatly increased in recent years. However, psychologists should be aware of the potential limitations associated with some of this research such as the recruitment sample, ways of grouping the participants and sample size. In fact, many CAM studies have samples that are smaller than 10 subjects (Kunstler, Greenblat, & Moreno, 2004). These limitations, thus, lead to the generalizability issues. Although many findings have provided helpful information for understanding the efficacy of various CAM modalities, lack of longitudinal studies remain (Tonigan, 2003). Despite the limitations mentioned, it does not mean that CAM modalities are not useful.
Psychologists should comply the ethics principles when practising the CAM modalities. For instance, psychologists should possess the needed knowledge and skills to be able to practice effectively and to not practice outside areas of demonstrated competence (Barnett & Shale, 2012). Further, psychologists are required to maintain their competence through ongoing professional development activities that include keeping informed about recent developments in the field. Another point to consider is that several CAM modalities are appropriate for psychologists to integrate into treatment with their clients when appropriately trained and credentialed to do so. Yet administering process may constitute an inappropriate multiple relationship and a boundary violation. Psychologists should be especially sensitive to boundary issues when a CAM modality is implemented through physical contact, such as with massage therapy, chiropractic and Reiki.
In summary, psychologists need to recognize when it is appropriate to integrate a specific modality into a client's psychological treatment as opposed to making a referral to a CAM practitioner, and knowing how to do this effectively are essential components of each psychologist's competence. Psychologists must also be aware of when clients should or should not continue with a CAM modality that has been previously implemented. Hence, remain educated and up-to-date on the field of CAM well as the various modalities and their diverse uses are crucial.
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