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My name is Carmen Ip, your counselling psychologist from St. John’s Counselling Services. I grew up in Canada and have been moving a lot since I was a kid, from Indonesia, Thailand, UK and the US. Similar to many of you, it was difficult moving all the time. Once I made a few friends, it was time to leave and start anew again. The pressure and the frustration were hard to describe to others. Many believed it was a privilege to have the chance to have lived in so many parts of the world. What they did not see was it can get lonely at times.
An interesting fact is I graduated from South Island School. Although it is not the same school, we both had similar environments and systems. Hence, I can understand certain problems and hardships many of you may be facing currently. It may be related to examinations, stress, relationships, bullying, choosing a path to pursue, etc. After graduating from SIS, I began my undergraduate studies in the UK. I believe many of you would be pursuing a similar path. For the first time since Yr 7, I was away from close friends and I felt both anxious and excited at the same time. I was accepted into the University of Durham. Yet, the initial year was tough. Unlike the local students, I had to get used to a totally different environment once again and build new friendships. The main difference was this time I was alone and my parents were not with me. It wasn’t until the second year that I finally felt I had made a group of friends that I could confide with. Somehow I persevered and made it through. For my postgraduate studies, I moved nearer to London and eventually to Chicago in the US. Both countries had a completely different learning style and it also took some time getting used to. Looking back, there were numerous struggles and I believe some of you may also have similar concerns.
After graduation, I have worked mainly with children with Autism at a private clinic in Hong Kong. I have also worked with numerous children and teens at an elementary school in Chicago. Some clients came to me due to anxiety and misbehaving in the classroom. Some came to me due to the inability to cope with school work. These are just a few of the many struggles children and teens have. Thus, through my personal experience, I hope to understand your perspective and provide you the opportunity to openly discuss your own struggles so that we can work together to relieve them.
All in all, I believe I understand how each and every one of you are unique and have your own unique worries and problems. It is often difficult to discuss intimate matters to friends and family. It may include the fear of being judged or be given no help on how you may handle these situations to make yourself feel better. This is where I hope to step in, to provide you with guidance and a non-judgmental environment for you to discuss anything that matters to you. I can understand English and Cantonese. Everything you discuss within the session will be kept confidential unless you give me the permission to share. I hope to provide a positive experience and be able to help you in the best way possible.
I look forward to meeting you!