Why did you choose to intern at The Red Pencil Singapore?
During my study, I was open to exploring different sub-fields of psychology. It was then I chanced upon art therapy as an alternative non-verbal therapeutic intervention. Through a little more research, I found The Red Pencil Singapore which utilizes the benefits of art therapy to aid the underprivileged and vulnerable. As I was interested in both art and psychology, the marriage of both appealed to me and piqued my interest in the field, thus I applied for the internship to gain a first-hand experience, and hopefully along the way, contributed back tot the community.
What were your main responsibilities as a programmes intern?
During my internship stint, we were in the process of moving into our current office, thus I aided the team in the setting up of the new office and the community area. This included logistics and setting up the office with furniture and everything else to ensure the smooth operations of our programmes team, and to provide a calming and safe environment for our clients and beneficiaries. However, I was mainly involved in liaising with partner organizations and report writing during my internship.
What have you discovered about yourself after working at The Red Pencil?
At the end of my internship, the realization of my passion in helping others even so slightly, allowed me to further develop myself as a person, but also pushed me to acquire the necessary knowledge and soft skills to be able to contribute to the community.
What was the most memorable project you have worked on during your internship?
I aided in the preparation and launch of The Red Pencil’s inaugural Rebound Art Therapy Project Exhibitions, which is open for public viewing and online in our premises, where I liaised with partner organizations with the collection of artworks from our service users, preparation of the exhibition artworks, and inviting partner organizations and guests for the exhibition.
How were you able to apply the knowledge you learned in school to your work at The Red Pencil?
I undertook counselling modules in my course which allowed me to be open to different perspectives and equipped me with the fundamentals and the right attitude when interacting with service users. Possessing soft skills such as patience and having an unconditional positive regard towards people from all walks of life proved to be key in facilitating the therapeutic sessions from start to end.
What is one thing you have learned from the art therapists you have worked with?
The resident art therapist at The Red Pencil Singapore, Yoko, has taught me a lot. She aided me along my internship by sharing with me various tips with regards to the industry and answering my inquisitive mind about the work she does. However, the most important advice she gave me was the importance of conviction when working in the social service sector. Despite the work being emotionally draining and hard, if it is what I am passionate about, It would not just be another job, but a career to be proud of and a meaningful one as well. Her advice gave me much insight and made me reflect on myself for my future and I am grateful for that.
If you could identify one skill needed to be successful as a programmes intern, what is it?
What message do you wish to convey to others about The Red Pencil?
The Red Pencil provides a niche but vital service to people, especially in cases where verbal communication is deemed ineffective, and without a doubt have a place in the allied health industry. Despite the various struggles of the blooming industry such as the lack of official recognition, much research is being conducted to push for a change in the legislation and legitimization of art therapy as a whole. The benefits of art therapy are no less than conventional psychodynamic therapies, and the work in which our art therapists do is one that is not only therapeutic and professional, but also life changing. So, I do hope that more people would be aware and accepting of our services and cause.
How important is the work of The Red Pencil in today's context?
In the current age where more and more stressors are appearing in every single aspect in life, and one might not be able to verbalize them, The Red Pencil’s service provides a reflective and non-verbalized mode of expression in a therapeutic setting, which would undoubtedly fulfil the gaps in the current social service sector.
“The Red Pencil’s service provides a reflective and non-verbalized mode of expression in a therapeutic setting, which would undoubtedly fulfil the gaps in the current social service sector."