President's Welcome Note
Dr. Joel Low
In many ways, 2023 will be a memorable one for me. The year marks a dozen years since I’ve had the privilege to practice as a clinical psychologist, fulfilling a childhood dream that I’ve had since I was 14.
And now, I find myself entrusted with the role as President of our society, a role that has been graced by many of the stalwarts of our profession over the years. Individuals whom I have, and still look up to as mentors and teachers. In their role, they have led the members of our society to fantastic heights, representing, advocating and championing our fledgling profession. Dr Lynne Yong, my immediate predecessor, was one such individual who had the unenviable task of guiding us through the strangest two years modern day humanity has had to deal with, the Covid-19 and the lockdowns. And guide us she did, as we did not only survive, but we also thrived and ushered in an exciting new stage of development as a profession. To her, our heartiest of thanks, and I endeavour to try and match the high standards that she’s set.
Since its inception, the MSCP has been guided by the twin goals of registration and regulation. These goals were vital to safeguard the profession as a whole, ensuring that only properly trained individuals could cater to the needs of the community, and ensuring that we do so to the very highest ethical standards. In recent years, MSCP memberships have become synonymous with the highest quality of practice, a badge from where employers are able to identify clinicians who have met the minimum standards of practice here in Malaysia.
As the saying goes, the one constant in life is change, and as a profession, we’re at the very cusp of significant change happening. After a decade of advocacy, clinical psychology as a profession has found its home with the Allied Health Professionals Act, and with it, comes the registration and regulation that we have always wanted, this time with the full backing and support of the law. With this in place, our profession, at least from a legal standing, as well as the community at large will be in good hands. Clinical psychology will now become a protected, privileged title, where only qualified and deserving individuals will be able to serve as such, and with it, the hopes that the needs of the community will be looked after.
Whilst welcomed, it does leave our society at a crossroads. With the AHP Act coming into force, the need for the MSCP to act as a registry for clinical psychologists comes to an end. And with all ends, comes with it the opportunity for change and growth. We’ve reached an amazing milestone, and now we have the exciting opportunity now to plot brand new directions for our society.
So, what next?
Perhaps our future lies in training and development, where we help to nurture clinicians of tomorrow who can contribute meaningfully to the community. Having the pool of expertise that we can call upon, this would be an intuitive step, leveraging on those amongst us rightfully described as leaders, mentors, and titans of our industry. The better equipped we are, the better prepared we’ll be to support our community in the years to come. We have taken the first steps to this, with the launch of a supervision series held monthly, where seniors of the field take turns providing feedback on cases, something which we hope will help young clinicians find their footing in the field.
Or maybe it’s in advocacy and education where we can find our new place. Psychology and mental health have come a long way since the MSCP was first formed, but in many ways, the lingering misinformation and stigma about it still persists. The more we know, the better we’ll be able to understand ourselves, and what it is that we’ll need help with, and with this aspect of education and advocacy for greater awareness, MSCP can, and should have a leading role.
And perhaps in building our fledgling community is where our next great adventure lies. The number of clinicians had grown remarkably in the past decade or so, aided by the addition of new programs being offered. Given the small numbers we’ve had before, many of us have had to make do with independent silos. But as our numbers grow, the opportunity is ripe for us to build a community of clinicians. We look to do so from the ground up, connecting with universities that provide training programs and their students, and offering them what resources we’re able to, to aid their development of future clinicians.
The years ahead will be one of change, and I certainly hope that we as a society will be able navigate it well. On behalf of the committee, we look forward to being of service to our fellow clinicians, and to our community at large.