If you’re looking to tackle life’s toughest obstacles with fresh perspective, help is out there with our guide to counselling in Singapore including therapists, marriage counsellors, psychologists and family resources
We know Singapore can be both an exciting and lonely place to live, especially considering our high-pressure society and a large expat population living far away from the familiar comforts of home — it can all add up to a multitude of emotions! Maybe you are looking for marriage or relationship counselling, a therapist to help with self-esteem or self-worth, counselling if you suspect postpartum depression, family counselling if your kids or teens are having difficulties, or maybe a recommended psychologist. This roundup is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it’ll be a good start as you decide on a therapist who best fits you and your situation should you decide that’s the path you want to take.
Background on terms and titles: “Counselling” vs. “Therapy” and What’s the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
“Counselling” and “therapy” are often used interchangeably, however counselling focuses on helping specific issues happening to you in the present with a focus on problem solving, and is usually more short-term than therapy. Psychotherapy is more long-term and in-depth, focusing on a broader range of issues including looking into your past experiences and childhood to understand your current behavior and issues.
Psychotherapist is an umbrella term for any professional trained to treat people for their mental health, and can encompass psychiatrists, counselling and clinical psychologists.
Psychiatrists have a medical degree and specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness. Unlike most psychotherapists, they can also prescribe medication.
Psychologists have a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. in psychology and as well as talk therapy, they perform psychological testing and are qualified to do counselling and psychotherapy for mental disorders. A counselling psychologist will tend to work with clients with emotional and social issues, whereas a clinical psychologist will normally work with people suffering from more complex mental health conditions, such as personality disorders and major depressive disorders. For more on the distinction, Alliance Counselling have a good breakdown.
Counselling Centres in Singapore
Led by Clinical Psychologist, researcher and trainer, Adriana Giotta, Elephant Therapy & Training is the very first psychotherapy practice in Singapore focused on empowering the community directly through client consultations and indirectly through up-skilling Asia’s community of clinicians via a pioneering training and supervision centre.
This leading private practice, with a pool of highly qualified therapists, provides an array of treatments such as individual psychotherapy for adults, couples, families and children, group therapy, organisational consultancy, life, wellness, executive and peak-performance coaching, to help people impacted by a wide variety of issues, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, parenting dilemmas, challenging life transitions and difficulties at work. Hardship rates for those with financial constraints and complimentary “chemistry” consultations are also available.
Body with Soul provides a holistic approach of wellness including counselling and medical and nutritional support, such as for hormonal imbalance and nutritional deficiencies. During a counselling session with clinical psychologist, Shrimathi Swaminathan, women will receive psychotherapy support for conditions such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and issues relating to relationship, parenting, relocation and adjustment. Shri uses a scientific, integrated model based on neuroscience and tailored to client needs, drawing on the strengths of different approaches such as cognitive-behaviour therapy, attachment theory and positive psychology.
Alliance Counselling is a team of multilingual counsellors and psychologists that provides empathetic professional support and guidance to men, women, couples, children, teenagers and families. Alliance also offers educational institutions partnering, clinical supervision, corporate workshops and psychological assessments. The team’s philosophy is to work in harmony with their clients from the expatriate and local communities to provide them with the highest level of confidential care and support. Their goal is to assign the right therapist for each client so they feel comfortable and able to pause in a peaceful and safe environment.
Based in Singapore since 2009, the team at Alliance Counselling are trusted professional therapists who take a genuine interest in their clients’ concerns. They provide their clients with the tools and skills to cope with life’s challenges in each stage of their life. Alliance Counselling has supported clients from more than 60 different cultures and speak English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Almagaia Counselling is dedicated to meeting the needs of the expatriate and local communities in Singapore. Their qualified and experienced psychotherapists provide the highest standards of professional care in English, French, German and Hindi. Individual therapy, couple counselling, life and career coaching is all available from the practice nestled in the heart of leafy Dempsey.
The team has wide experience working with men and women from a very broad range of cultural, social and spiritual backgrounds. Areas of specialism include anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem, grief, relationship difficulties, addictions, trauma and anger. The team also has expertise in supporting parents with parenting challenges, women’s personal development, and stress-related health conditions. Counsellors are available for talks, workshops and consultancy. Almagaia is open from 8am to 8pm and offers sessions face to face and by video call.
“When you seek counselling at Fernhill we try to match you with the best possible therapist for you and for your problems. We are an empathetic, mature group of therapists who have all, at some time, been a trailing spouse, living and adapting to family life in foreign cultures. We offer many different therapy styles, but we treat each person as an individual with unique problems, challenges and needs. – Jill Bromley, Director of Fernhill
International Counselling & Psychology Centre’s (ICPC) professional team brings over 40 years’ collective experience providing supportive mental health services in an international environment, both to the expatriate and local community and within the region. ICPC’s team understands, as professional therapists and from their personal experience of working and living internationally, the various challenges faced. ICPC counsellors and psychologists work with children, adolescents, couples and families to address a variety of mental health issues that may interfere with satisfying interpersonal relationships. Their team offers services to meet the various needs of the community — whether in the home, school or work environment. Life, growth and relationships can be stressful, and maintaining one’s wellbeing can mean preventing more significant concerns in the future.
Issues that ICPC address include Depression, Anxiety, Pre-Marital Preparation, Infidelity, Eating Disorders, Crisis/Trauma, Bereavement, Phobias,Pain-Management, Weight Management, Family, Violence, Expat Living, Third Culture Kids, Third Culture Families, Cross-Cultural Relationships, Grief/Loss, Menopause,Stress, Sexual Dysfunction, Relationship Issues, Anger Management Issues,Addictions, Parent-Child Relationships, Adjustment, Transition Issues, Life Stage Transitions Adulthood & Aging and Self-Harm.
International Counselling & Psychology Centre, 360 Orchard Road, #06-08 International Building
Singapore 238869, Tel:(+65): 67346463, www.intlcounselling.com
Tammy Fontana is a US-trained mental health therapist specialising in relationships ranging from pre-marriage, to marriage, parenting, sex and divorce. With her clinical training in attachment and trauma, she helps the underlying issues that affect individuals and their relationships and offers an online portal for 24×7 support.
All in the Family Counselling, 11 Collyer Quay, 17th Floor, The Arcade, Raffles Place MRT, Singapore 049317, Tel: (+65) 9030 7239, [email protected], Skype ID: tammy_fontana, www.allinthefamilycounselling.com
Incontact is made up of a team of experienced clinically registered counsellors accredited by the Singapore Counselling Association, who offer confidential counselling and training services, specialising in professional counselling and psychotherapy. Incontact adopts an integrative and holistic approach incorporating Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, EMDR, Hypnotherapy, and Transactional Analysis, among others.
The Center for Psychology provides a culturally and gender-sensitive approach to counselling across a diverse range of women’s issues. They value the importance of respect and therapeutic support for clients to help them make needed changes at their own pace.
TCP is a team of international psychologists, therapists, and life coaches specialising in issues affecting women in all life stages, including stress and anger management, anxiety, depression, infertility, pregnancy, postpartum depression, adoption, relationship conflicts, weight management, self-esteem, trauma, grief and more. They take an integrated approach with their counselling, drawing from established therapeutic approaches, including acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), family system therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The Counsellors: Expat Psychological Services work to provide non-judgemental, empathic, and discrete, professional support, whatever your situation is.
Promises Healthcare was founded in 2011 by Dr Munidasa Winslow who is renowned internationally as an expert in the addictions field. There are now over 25 psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists at Promises offering counselling for addiction and mental health treatment and recovery. Winifred Ling is a couples therapist and relationship coach who comes particularly highly recommended for marriage counselling.
Promises Healthcare #09-22/23, Novena Medical Center,10 Sinaran Drive, Singapore 307506.Tel : (+65)
6397 7309, www.promises.com.sg
Therapists in Singapore
Singapore’s Comprehensive Mental Health Practice since 1973, SACAC Counselling provides counselling in Singapore to children, adolescents, individuals, couples and families. They also offer a wide range of psychometric and personality assessments for both children and adults. Their team consists of highly qualified and experienced professionals with varied expertise, including clinical psychologists, educational psychologists and counsellors. They are multi-cultural and speak English, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Arabic, Bahasa, Hindi, and Mandarin. SACAC Counselling also works very closely with the wider community, including many international schools. They are an active provider of EAP services to a number of corporates including multinationals and local companies. They also run the Singapore International Schools Counselling Network (SISCN) a forum for counsellors of all international schools operating in Singapore. Centrally located, their office is within walking distance from Orchard MRT, The American Club, and The Tanglin Club. Sessions are conducted from 8am till 9pm from Mondays through Saturdays, and from 9am to 5pm on Sundays.
More Mindful provides specialized counselling in Singapore to address the psychological and emotional needs of women, both during pregnancy and postpartum. The Clinical Director, Silvia Wetherell, holds a Certification in Perinatal Mental Health by Postpartum Support International and is the Co-founder of the support group Mindful Mums. More Mindful prides themselves in having a small team of specialized counsellors who are very passionate about supporting women in a caring and compassionate manner, to help mothers best navigate this challenging life transition. Issues addressed in counselling include prenatal and postpartum anxiety/depression, fertility struggles, pregnancy loss and birth trauma. Sessions are available at the Raffles Place clinic, Mother & Child clinic, and hospital and house calls can also be arranged if you prefer. Counsellors speak English, Portuguese, Dutch and Hindi.
Read more: Postpartum Depression Resources in Singapore
Anita Barot, of Lotus Psychotherapy, who is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist from California, shared that “Therapy is something you and I create together which involves trust, skill, and hard work. Based on your history, we will work together on what you want to accomplish and through the interventions I use, you will be able to make choices to experience more happiness and fulfillment. I am caring and honest in my approach and allow you to explore your feelings so that you can let go of past wounds and find productive ways to deal with difficult situations.”
My expertise includes couples/family counselling, depression/anxiety management, women issues (separation/divorce, self-esteem, body image, career, being assertive about your needs), and working with third culture kids/expat wives (multiple moves, exploring grief, and finding meaning/connection to new country). My background (born in the US and moved abroad to Asia for the last 10+ years) has enabled me to work well with local and international clients, as I understand the challenges that they face and can support them in being able to find the right answers for themselves.
Dr Oberdan Marianetti has a keen interest in helping everyone reconnect to what he calls their Essence. Here is what he had to say when asked about his work: “I do what I do because I believe everyone has the potential and the right to be themselves, rediscover their inner power, and share their beauty with the world. I grew up being asked to conform to scripts that were not mine. I always felt there was something tight about the spaces I occupied, but I could never identify why. With experience and training I got to recognise that longing as a deep desire to just be me. Over the years as a practising psychologist, both in corporate as well as clinical practice, I have recognised in others the same pattern, over and over and over. Beautiful people with the power to be absolutely awesome, trapped in suits they did not choose to wear. Reconnecting to oneself is a tough journey, but one that when trodden with care, love and respect can bring balance to ourselves and genuine value to those we serve.”
Today, as a qualified psychologist and clinical sexologist, with experiences spanning from military leadership, to corporate, clinical and business practices, Dr Oberdan works with individuals, couples, business owners and leaders to live a more purposeful life and enhance their sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. Of particular interest to Dr Oberdan is the subject of human sexuality and the role it plays in people’s lives. Dr Oberdan believes everyone has the right to a healthy and fulfilling expression of their sexuality and works with individuals and couples on matters ranging from sexual identity and orientation, to sexual function and education. At the core of all his work is the belief that we are at our best when connected to and aligned with the ever-flowing inner core of our being, our Essence.
The Mindful Pathway clinic provides the latest interventions in mind-body health, using biofeedback and neurofeedback to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, ADHD, insomnia and general life stress. Biofeedback and neurofeedback are well researched techniques that provide measurable results. These robust and safe interventions can improve mood, performance and wellbeing through regular training sessions. Using the latest technology, Mindful Pathway therapists can monitor and help you learn how to change your body’s habitual response to stress. They look at your naturally occurring physical processes, such as brain waves, and help the brain learn a healthier pattern of activity – a very direct way to leverage neuroplasticity. All therapists are mental health professionals with different areas of specialization including addiction, depression, anxiety and perinatal mental health. The clinic integrates specific relaxation techniques designed to promote wellbeing such as autogenic training, mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation.
Ms. Irena Constantin is an Occupational & Educational Psychologist who completed her M. Phil (Lic. Phil) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and has specialized in Applied Psychology. Ms. Constantin has had extensive experience in dealing with learning and socio-emotional difficulties experienced by teenagers and young adults in school and work settings and offers regular family therapy, support group/parenting meetings for younger parents with small children and parents with teens. Ms. Constantin provides her counselling in Singapore in English, German, as well as Greek.
Psychologist Anoushka Beh has been a great resource to mamas in her Sassy Mama columns. Anoushka provides clients with a space to reflect and reconnect with their authentic self. Her main areas of focus include anxiety, grief and loss, couples counselling and self-empowerment.
Art psychotherapist, author and doctoral researcher. Dr Huma Durrani provides art psychotherapy to children with developmental and behavioural problems, psychological and emotional issues relating to autism and learning difficulties.
Coloured Canvas, Art Psychotherapy for Children & Adolescents, 383 Bukit Timah Road, Alocassia Apartments,01-06, Singapore 259727, (Located next to Stevens MRT), Tel: (+65) 9769 4990, [email protected] www.colouredcanvas.net
Glenn Graves’ name comes up a lot when you ask for a recommended psychologist in Singapore — particularly for men. Dr. Graves holds a PhD in Psychology and provides counselling on a variety of issues, including post traumatic stress disorder, anger management, anxiety, stress, alcohol abuse, marital conflicts and divorce, sex addiction, sexual abuse, adolescents and grief.
Counselling Perspective, 9 Raffles Place, Tower 1, 58th Floor, Singapore, 048619, Call/Whatsapp: (+65) 9636 8060, www.counselingperspective.com/glenn-graves
Leonardo Talpo specialises in marriage relationship counselling, helping clients regain control of their lives and re-educating them about marriage itself.
Psychotherapist Rebecca Wright draws widespread praise for being such a caring therapist and counsellor. Rebecca has been practicing as a psychotherapist & counsellor for over 14 years, in Singapore, the UAE and the UK.
Rebecca Wright, Scott Psychological Centre, International Building #10-10, 360 Orchard Road, Singapore 238869, Tel: (+65) 92720548, www.catalystcounselling.com.sg
Psychology Experts is a private clinical psychology service in Singapore providing counselling to children, teenagers, adults, couples and families under the supervision of Clinical Psychologist Dr. Elefant-Yanni, who has 15 years of clinical practice and has developed an approach around wellbeing, avoiding labeling and medicalization.
Other Counselling & Helpful Resources
AWARE is Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group, providing counselling services as well as advocacy and training. Anyone can call AWARE’s helpline at 1-800-777-5555 (open Monday to Friday from 10am – 6pm) for emotional support and direction to AWARE’s counselling services and further resources.
Family Service Centres (FSCs) are a key community-based support centre for individuals and families in need. FSCs are staffed with social workers and other professionals to provide a helping hand. Anyone, regardless of age, race, language or religion, can benefit from FSC services. There are currently 43 FSC’s in Singapore; read more about them here.
“Postpartum mood disorders are serious, but common and treatable, illnesses. Yet, all too often, it is shame that prevents new parents from seeking help.” Special mention goes to Sassy Mama Pooja Makhijani for putting together a comprehensive article for mamas struggling with postpartum depression, including research, resources and support groups.
This is an online support group for single parents, with a Facebook page serving as a community forum for awareness and fundraising – check it out here.
Help is always out there, mama, you just have to ask (and we know that can be the hard part!).