I gained greater passion to increase my knowledge and depth in furthering my clinical and counselling skills to better support my work with people in these communities
— Madhavi Manickvasagam, Counselling Psychologist

Working with adults has its pros and cons, but it never derailed her from acheiving her dreams

Vested with many dreams, and aspirations, but a woman’s passion, ended her up in taking the road far less travelled.  

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. 

As a child, she had numerous aspirations about what she wanted to be when she grew up, from being a police officer to becoming a writer.  

Eventually, her aspirations didn’t really work out, but instead, Ms. Madhavi Manickavasagam, followed her passion, and off the beaten path, to join one of the most seemingly daunting sectors in Singapore, the Social Service Sector. 

Today, she is currently working as a Counselling Psychologist at the Community Psychology Hub (CPH). CPH deploys its psychologists to various Social Service Organisations to provide a range of psychological services, including assessments and behavioural support for their clients.  

“I joined CPH after completing my masters because of my values aligning with CPH’s. I wanted an opportunity to grow and get developed, so I thought CPH will be a good ground along with quality supervision provided by the team leaders. I also wanted the opportunity to work alongside the community because it is my passion, and CPH provides that ground for me, hence that is why I joined CPH.” 

She is currently deployed to SUN-DAC where she provides behavioural support clients with intellectual disabilities (ID) and also to work with the Training Officers to provide intervention for clients. 

“I come in to provide behavioural support for clients who are ‘acting out’ in the classroom, such as throwing tantrums or self-dangerous behaviour, and also to assess their behaviours, to also provide support to the Training Officers on how to intervene should anything happen.” 

SUN-DAC was set up in 1990 to provide care for clients with pan-disabilities in a Day Activity Centre setting. Madhavi shares that prior to her deployment to SUN-DAC, she discussed the interest of her deployment with her supervisors. 

“I enjoy working with adults, I’m comfortable working with them actually, because before joining CPH and deployed to SUN-DAC, I was working in the sector, more specifically, the Social Service Office in the community, hence that is one of the reasons I came in (into CPH). So I also thought, yeah (sic), SUN-DAC might be a good place for me to work at based on my past experience.” 

However, not everything is smooth sailing for Madhavi though, sharing on some of the challenges that she faced on the job. 

“The communication barriers were quite challenging to overcome; and sometimes, I cannot directly ask the client what’s wrong, and that can be very frustrating to work with as well, so it is a steep learning curve for me.” 

Faced with some of these challenges, Madhavi never regretted joining the profession.  

“When I first took up Psychology in University, I had thoughts of becoming a researcher. As I learn more about people and grew interested in working with the underserved or less privileged, I gained greater passion to increase my knowledge and depth in furthering my clinical and counselling skills to better support my work with people in these communities”. 

With the growing population of clients with ID, Madhavi feels that these areas are often underserved as many potential social service professionals often have the fear and stigma of working these patients, and not many people would like to work with adults with ID.  However, she feels that in working with clients with ID, CPH has provided an opportunity for her to help her clients, through providing psychological services and engaging them with meaningful activities. 

"CPH has given me the opportunity to work on the ground, in the community, and doing so, it is my passion. It has also provided me with the chance to work in a place where I can help clients feel accepted and belong." 

Written By Ryan Lim D.X
Accurate as at 4th Jun 2019