Counsellor Intake Resources
This page is for students of College of Allied Educators (CAE) who we partner with to refer you clients for practicum. Please go through CAE if you wish to intern with us - we will not be able to take on individual requests.
First of, thanks for volunteering your time for the welfare of Singaporeans in need of support.
We thoroughly appreciate you being onboard, whether you are completing your practicum or if you are already practicing as a trained counsellor.
Below you will find the steps prior to intake as well as guidelines for practice.
Just a quick one about us.
We started IASH.SG in September 2021 as a way to make mental health support more Accessible and Approachable. Statistics show that 1 in 2 Singaporeans aged 18 to 35 who are struggling with mental health don't reach out for help.
Some reasons for this include:
Previous experiences with counsellors who are judgmental or don't seem to understand.
Fear of seeking of help at public institutions because of the stigma.
Not knowing that their issues is something they can seek help for, e.g. breakups.
This led us to create the Hear Bud service, where Singaporeans 18+ can speak to a trained volunteer peer supporter. Our main focus is on the idea of common vulnerability, with our volunteers openly sharing about their own struggles on a profile, which resonates with people and encourages them to reach out :)
This service has been proving successful in breaking down the initial barriers of seeking help, where we started to find that people who have spoken to hear buds became more open to the idea of counselling and therapy.
And that's why you're here as a counsellor now. So thank you!! So read on below on the steps to join us as an intern counsellor :)
*Btw, if you're curious the difference between Hear Buds and Counselling, click this link.
2. Join our Referral Group
Once you've completed the above, let us know and we will add you into our whatsapp referral group.
Currently we have two site placement supervisors to pass on the referrals to this group:
3. Taking your First Referral
Essentially, you'll be running your own "private practice" with referrals coming through our platform www.iash.sg.
Referral description (anonymised) will be shared in a WhatsApp group and on a First Come First Serve basis.
If you'd like to claim it, we will share the personal details with you privately.
Do choose your preferred mode of getting in contact with the client (email / phone).
As counselling is done online, do have a digital informed consent ready too (example below - create your own please). We also include an indemnity clause in our informed consent if you choose to include too.
You can view more of the workflows below:
4. Follow-up sessions
After accepting a referral, we leave it in your trusty hands to arrange follow-up sessions with the client directly. Below are some basic guidelines on how to do so.
Can check with client at end of intake session on the expected frequency (weekly, monthly etc).
If client wishes to set a time at that point in time, then do so :)
Otherwise, ask client to inform you directly when they want a follow-up session.
5. Notes on Practicum Log
If you are a practicum student, then you must be eager to get your 70 hours of practice done :)
There are actually two recommended ways of record-keeping and getting sign-off for your hours through our referrals:
You can send the client your practicum sheet to sign off directly. This is the simplest and most hassle-free way.
You can also get our site placement supervisors to sign off on your practice sheet. Yet note that this requires proof of number of sessions / hours. A simple method is to BCC firstname.lastname@example.org in your communications with the client.
6. Practice Ethically!
At this stage you have a pretty good understanding of ethical codes of practice. Some things worth repeating:
Know the limits of confidentiality - harm to self, others, crime, law.
Don't abandon a client - if you have difficult with a case, let our placement supervisors know and they can refer.
Crisis Management: do check in early with your clinical supervisor on their preferred mitigation / crisis procedures should you find yourself with a client at risk.
If ever in doubt, do feel free to bring up client concerns in the group, or to your own clinical supervisors, or to the placement supervisors privately if you wish.
We also have a Resident Counselling Consultant - Varian from The Relational - who can take queries or discuss challenging scenarios.
7. Our Partner: Mindside.sg
Also, just sharing a useful resource from our partners.
Mindside.sg is a non-profit funded by Ministry of Health Transformation (MOHT). They are also affiliated with North East Medical Group.
If you have a client who requires medications, diagnosis or referral letters, they can assist.
Subsidised in-person counselling (1st session free, follow-up $25 - 50)
Subsidised psychiatric medication with GP clinics from North East Medical Group (NEMG)
Links to Changi General Hospital Psychiatric Department
If you'd like to explore these options for your client, do let our Site Placement Supervisors know.
8. Reporting to Us
Appreciate counsellor to assist with performance metrics. We will kindly gather from the counsellor on the following:
1) At the start of each case, when the intake-session was planned or if no response from client. We will send a PayNow link to the client prior to the 1st session.
2) At the end of your practicum:
Total no. of sessions/hours per client
Date of termination/referral
What's the difference: Hear Buds vs Free Counselling
Here's the gist below:
Not all our Hear Buds are counsellors, we train non-counselling volunteers in Active Listening skills and Person Centered Therapy, plus some Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Since they are not counselling trained, we try to teach them approaches that are non-directive, so they can avoid advice-giving, especially if the advice is not from an evidence-backed approach.
Yet, counsellors can still opt to be Hear Buds if you wish to help out. The idea is that you already know that building rapport and listening is fundamental, before becoming more directive when the time is right and the caller is willing.
Hear Bud calls can be Video, Voice or Text, all through zoom. So you can only clock in the hours that are video-based.
We also have an admin team to facilitate all conversations between you and the hear bud caller. This is to respect their privacy and boundaries, as well as those of our volunteers.
Lastly, informed consent is collected at point of booking, which covers 3 points:
Speaking to a Hear Bud is not a replacement for counselling
The caller is not-suicidal and does not intend to harm themselves or others
They are over the age of 18
If you'd still like to learn more about being a Hear Bud, check the link below:
Fyi you can skip the hear bud training :)