Malaysia: We Are Family (Happy Merdeka Day!)

DigiMerdeka
Source: YouTube Digi Communications

When I returned to Malaysia after my Ph.D., people looked at me funnily and asked why I didn’t remain overseas. My answer to them was simple: my family is here.

For our 57th Hari Merdeka, Maxis and Digi have come up with ads that promote Malaysia as a family. When I watched them, one made me laugh out loud and the other moved me to tears. [Watch the ads at the end of this blogpost.]

The past few years have been very challenging for us here in Malaysia. I have tried to remain positive and hopeful despite the political battle cries, the droughts and haze that seemed not to have a solution, and most recently, planes that go missing or are bombed out of the sky. It hasn’t been easy to remain positive.

Continue reading “Malaysia: We Are Family (Happy Merdeka Day!)”

What do you do on a holiday? I re-create!

CommonFactors
What I am reading on my break!

Some people chide me for being a workaholic. One of Rekindle’s clinical interns said to me yesterday that he could not fathom how I manage to do all that I do. I replied that during my Ph.D. studies, I was three times as busy as I am now. He didn’t seem very encouraged.

I admit that I am busy and sometimes physically tired from all the work, but I don’t feel tired in my soul. I love what I do. For instance, while I was sitting on the plane alone traveling to my holiday destination, I found myself thinking about what could be done to train up good marriage and family therapists in Malaysia. Instead of watching an inflight movie, I opened my new book, Common Factors in Couple and Family Therapy (authored by one of my mentors, Doug Sprenkle) and devoured it for ideas on training therapists. Continue reading “What do you do on a holiday? I re-create!”

Troubled? Try Journaling

Source: Google images.
Source: Google images.

There is nothing so precious to me as a retreat to a remote location on my own for a time of quiet reflection. With my journal in hand and nature all around me, I enter into my soul, look for my core self, and as if meeting an old friend, we get comfortable, sit down, and have long, deep conversations. Work stresses and family difficulties melt into the background.

I have been journaling since I was eleven. For years, I thought everyone journaled. So it still surprises me every now and then when I ask clients to spend some time journaling, and they look back strangely at me.

“Journaling? What do you mean?” some would ask.

Journaling is one of the best self-care activities you can do for yourself. When you are troubled and have no one to talk to, your journal can become your best friend and personal therapist. In this post, I would like to teach you a simple and effective way to engage in expressive journaling. The exercise itself will only take 10 minutes. Continue reading “Troubled? Try Journaling”

An Apple A Day: Therapy and Change [with Podcast]

Source: Google images.

When clients come to see me for the first time, I explain to them what therapy is all about. I say something like this:

As I see it, therapy is about change. People come in to see me because they want to move from their current circumstance to a preferred situation. It could be a lack of life-clarity, or an inability to stop an addictive behaviour, or difficulties communicating well with a partner. They want to get better, but somehow find themselves stuck again and again.

Click icon to listen to podcast.
Click icon to listen to podcast.

I go on to explain how a professional can help them and emphasise that, for change to happen in a sustainable way, clients themselves have to be the ones to enact that change. I will give them an illustration. Something like this: Continue reading “An Apple A Day: Therapy and Change [with Podcast]”

Asperger Syndrome & Marriage – Support in Kuala Lumpur

Source: Click on image.

Update (21/5/2014): Listen to my radio show on the topic at BFM 89.9 with Dr. Alvin Ng and Sudha Kudva here – link.

Asperger syndrome (AS) is “one of a distinct group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior” (1). It is one of several autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and considered to the mildest form, sometimes also referred to as high-functioning autism (HFA).

In January 2014, I started a new support group with my colleague Sudha Kudva for wives whose husbands struggle with AS or HFA. This may well be the first AS/HFA marriage support group in Malaysia.

Here is how it began. Continue reading “Asperger Syndrome & Marriage – Support in Kuala Lumpur”

Johnben Loy is back online! Really!

back-to-blogging
Source: Google Images

I admit it. I have neglected my online presence for far too long. My last post was more than 3 months ago, and I had promised myself to make at least one post a month after I launched Rekindle Community.

Worse, I had even promised Meera that I would blog about our topics before we went on air so that we can delve more deeply into them when we go on air. Both January and February exposed me as a promise-reneger. Continue reading “Johnben Loy is back online! Really!”

Sex Addiction Support in Malaysia (for men)

Source: Google images

When I first started practicing as a therapist in Kuala Lumpur, I bemoaned the lack of community support available for my clients. Practicing in the U.S., it was easy to get additional resources for clients and help them reach their therapy goals more quickly and effectively.

One of my areas of speciality is to help men with sexual compulsivity, also known as sexual addiction or hypersexual disorder (click here to listen to my talk on BFM about it in 2011). Helping a client work through addictive behavior requires not only personal (and relationship) therapy, but also peer group support. I looked around for a men’s support group but there was none available.

I am glad to announce that after three years of practice in Malaysia, I am starting to see more recovery groups forming. Recently, one of my former clients who had struggled with sexual compulsivity contacted me and told me that a 12-step support group has started, here in Kuala Lumpur, and that he was a part of it. I was very excited and offered to learn more about the group. They were open to meet up with me, and so we did. Continue reading “Sex Addiction Support in Malaysia (for men)”

Good Followership: The Founding of Rekindle Community

Teamwork
Source: Google images.

What is leadership? Is it to start something completely new? Spearhead something that no one has done and doing it in a completely new way? Is it “to boldly go where no man has gone before?”

In 2010, I facilitated two plenary sessions at a family business conference where founders and successors shared their experiences across two generations of leadership [link]. First, the founders spoke, then the successors responded. Leader, then follower. Pretty straight forward, right? Not quite.

At the dinner, a successor to one of the founders said privately to me, “I am not sure that it would be accurate to say that my father is the founder of our business. You can say that I am the founder of this business because I took it over from him and grew it to the successful enterprise it is today. Or in another way, you could say that my grandfather was the founder as there were many tangible and intangible assets that my father received from him. Then, you also have to think about my great-grandfather’s influence on my grandfather. So, who exactly is the founder?” Continue reading “Good Followership: The Founding of Rekindle Community”