Interview with Geraldine Tan – Founder of The Therapy Room Singapore

Geraldine holds a Masters in Applied Psychology and is a Doctorate Candidate of Clinical Psychology. She has almost 2 decades of experience working with individuals with a multitude of psychological problems. Geraldine is trained in a number of techniques including, Choice and Reality Therapy (CTRT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). Her desire to help has her fill her toolbox with exciting therapeutic methods like, Hypnotherapy, Play, Clay, Sand and Colour Therapy. She is also an ACTA accredited Trainer. She uses these techniques to help clients with clinical disorders and behavioural issues. Her clients span from the young ones with learning disabilities like dyslexia to autism and adults with depression, anxiety, personality disorders to marital issues.

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1) Share with us the school activities you took part in while studying Psychology and Sociology at NUS?

There were so many!!

I was in Catholics Students Society, The Ridge as one of the journalists, NUS Student Union as the head for a term and as I stayed in Raffles Hall, I had Dance as one of the activities!

Those were really the days!!

2) What is your greatest takeaway from NUS?

Have fun while you learn!

3) What motivated you to pursue a Master in Applied Psychology and Psychology at NTU? Why the passion and interest in Psychology?

The passion started in secondary school when I could not make sense of many behaviors that people manifested. I was also going through the adolescent phase and that was rather rocky.

And the more I learnt about psychology, the more it intrigued me. And I knew I had to continue to learn about it and share it with as many that want to know about it.

4) How was your time at The Professional School of Psychology? What did you choose to specialise in eventually?

In fact, I’m in my last lap of my doctorate. Group psychotherapy is another addition to my toolbox rather than a specialisation. I do better with diversity. It fits my personality much better.

5) How was it like working as a counsellor at the Singapore Childrens Society?

That was tough to say the least. I was not social work trained and at that time, counsellors were not really respected and that was my first job out of school. It was different from my first job as a behavioural therapist that I did when I was in university.

The learning curve was extremely steep. And with the learnings, I knew I wanted to continue in this. There were so many people that needed access to services and were not able to get it. We were dealing with children that had behavioural issues in both court cases and police cases. The gap of what the actual cause was missing. Which was why I decided to further my studies.

6) What did you do at Parkway Group Healthcare as a registered psychologist?

I was parked in a psychiatric ward. That was an awesome experience to see all sorts of clinical issues and to be able to work with a team! I had in-patient and out-patient cases. I was counselling, doing groupwork, doing therapy, organ transplant counselling.

Later in a private clinic, I had the opportunity to do all that and more of crisis work, workshops, talks!

And all through my career, I would supervise the younger psychologists.

7) What was your motivation behind The Therapy Room?

I had always dreamt of having my own centre, one that the brand is able to help with sincerity and respect. Nowadays, I say that I have a vision of a Singaporean Brand of Psychologists and that we can place Singapore on the map in this field. To be a brand that others can look up to and emulate.

8) Share with us your best and worst moments in your career. 

Worst: Clients committing suicide. Best: Seeing the clients succeed in stepping out from their disorder and their bright faces!

9) What is one quote you live by?

There are many quotes. But a word that I live by is “REVERENCE”. Respect to all mankind.

10) Growing up, did you have a role model you looked up to?

There is no one person. But if I had to choose, I would choose my parents. They encompassed what I wanted to do or be, not wanted to do or be. And there was nothing wrong with that, it was all a learning journey for all of us.

11) What is one thing you would tell your future self and past self?

Future Self: Let things flow, go with the adventures. Enjoy the ride.

Past Self: Thank you for failing and getting up. The roads were never easy but you made it through. Thank you!

12) What advice do you have for young undergraduates who are still looking for their meaning, purpose, calling in life?

Be brave. Sometimes we paralyze ourselves with our fears. It could be the fear of disappointing others, society or perceptions. Be brave to try, to fall and to experience. It helps to clear the doubts in your head.

“Geraldine is a registered psychologist with the Singapore Register of Psychologists (SRP) and she is a member of Crisis Response Network (CRN), working with local and expatriates in times of crisis, conducting Critical Incident Stress Management. She is an active member in other professional bodies, including the William Glasser Institute and EMDR Singapore and is a full member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA).

She is also dedicated in grooming the younger psychologists and is a registered supervisor with the Singapore Register of Psychologists (SRP) and supervises the students in the Masters programme in the local universities, as well as working with local and overseas undergraduates.”

To connect with Geraldine and find out more about her, visit:

https://www.thetherapyroom.com.sg/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/geraldine-tan-1b60022/.

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