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Depression and Anxiety Issues

Depression and anxiety issues commonly affect the mental health of individuals. At In Focus, we understand how debilitating these symptoms can be and we hope to help individuals experiencing these symptoms cope better and live more engaging lives.

If you are experiencing depression and/or anxiety issues, or any other issues affecting your mental and emotional well-being, you do not need to go through this alone. It is understandable that some may have reservations opening up for help, but reaching out for counselling support can be one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself.

It is our firm belief that, with a little help, you will cope even more effectively and eventually be on the path towards the life that you desire.

At In Focus, we provide a safe space for you to tell your story and seek help. Our counsellors and therapists genuinely care about your well-being, and are here to walk with you through the challenging phases of life. Contact us to find out how we can support you in this time. 

Depression

Feeling sad or down from time to time is a normal part of life. While it may be unpleasant to experience these emotions, they usually do not last long for most people. On the other hand, persistent feelings of a sense of helplessness and despair could significantly affect your day-to-day living. If not managed, such feelings and thoughts could spiral downwards, affecting one’s quality of life, work and relationships. Symptoms associated with depression vary from person to person. Some describe it as “living in a black hole” or being followed around by a “suffocating grey cloud.” Others feel lifeless, apathetic, or empty and might find it difficult to engage socially, or lose interest in their work or in activities they used to enjoy. Depressive symptoms can also include fatigue, difficulty experiencing pleasure or joy, sleeping difficulties, changes in appetite, anger or irritability, self-loathing, reckless behaviours and difficulty concentrating. However, it is possible to manage, and to even overcome, these symptoms.

If the above describes what you may be experiencing, you do not have to go through it alone. Speaking with a counsellor or a therapist at In Focus can help you discover additional resources and skills to cope more effectively and to live the life that you want. Contact us to find out how we can support you in this time.

Anxiety Issues

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress or a threat of danger. It is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what is to come. It is common to feel anxious from time to time, especially in a fast-paced society like Singapore. There are also some situations which are new and challenging where it is normal to feel anxious or nervous, like a job interview, the first day at school or at a new work place, taking a test, or making an important presentation. Feeling anxious can be uncomfortable, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. In some situations, it can help us stay focused and can motivate us to work towards our goals. Feelings of anxiety normally come and go and do not interfere much with our everyday life.

Feelings of anxiety can manifest as feelings of dread and apprehension, being on constant alert for danger, anticipating the worst, difficulties concentrating, feeling tense and irritable, and blanking out in the mind. Anxiety can also manifest as physical sensations such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headaches and dizziness, stomach upsets, frequent urination / diarrhea, muscle tension / twitching, shaking, sweating, difficulties sleeping.

If these symptoms become regular or overwhelming, or if one experiences abrupt surges of intense fear without any specific triggers and debilitates and immobilises within minutes (commonly known as “panic attacks”), one’s daily life and functioning would be affected.  

In a medical approach, psychiatrists may diagnose a person with “anxiety disorder” if a person experiences intense and prolonged anxiety that affects one’s daily living and leads to unexplained physical symptoms and an avoidance of places or situations that give rise to the anxiety. Under the medical model, there are different types of “anxiety disorders”, such as “panic disorder”, “social anxiety disorder”, and “generalised anxiety disorder”:

  • “Panic disorder” – When unexpected, recurring panic attacks arise and they are not situation specific
  • “Social anxiety disorder” – When the panic attacks are related to being in public or social settings
  • “Generalised anxiety disorder” – When there are recurrent anxious thoughts and excessive worries lasting for a prolonged period

If the above describes what you may be experiencing, please know that you do not have to go through it alone. A diagnosis, if any, provides one with information of one’s struggles but it is not the determinant of one’s future. At In Focus, our counsellors are able to work with you to make sense of what you are experiencing and help you discover resources and skills to manage the anxiety symptoms more effectively, and grow towards living the life that you want. Contact us to find out how we can support you in this time.

While anxiety issues and depression can occur separately, some people struggle with both. Lifestyle changes, such as changes to diet and sleeping habits, and incorporating meaningful activities to stay active and to recharge can bring about improvements. In addition, reaching out for counselling support is an extremely helpful step to take.

At In Focus, we respect that everyone’s situation is unique. Our counsellors and therapists believe in customizing our work to suit our clients and the issues before us while drawing on professional counselling and therapy approaches and our experiences in the field. Contact us to find out how we can support you in this time.

Call Us at

+65 8725 9303

Whether you are youth, working adults or corporations, we welcome your enquiries to find out how we can help you realize your dreams.

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Katina Halkas

Master of Guidance and Counselling (MGC)


Counselor


Katina holds a Masters degree in Guidance and Counselling from James Cook University (Singapore), and is a Provisional Clinical Member of the Singapore Association for Counsellors.  Katina has experience working with couples and individuals in both local and expatriate communities in Singapore and is also a volunteer counsellor at a women’s care centre.  She has worked with both men and woman dealing with a variety of emotional concerns including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, anger issues, self-harm, grief, as well as relationship/family issues and work-related stress.


Katina aims to create a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment for clients to explore any issues or concerns they are facing and uses a collaborative approach in helping clients identify goals and changes they want to make in their lives; and to reach a greater sense of self-awareness and wellbeing.


Katina has a strong commitment towards her ongoing professional development, attending regular supervision and taking part in training and workshops several times a year to broaden her knowledge and skills in counselling.


Katina has trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Therapy (Level 1 & 2), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Career Development and Transition Coaching.  She is currently working towards her certification in Reality Therapy/Choice Theory.


Katina is originally from South Africa and is also a Greek-Cypriot national.  She worked in executive recruitment (headhunting) while living in South Africa and later moved to the US for a number of years before relocating to Singapore.  She has lived here for over 13 years with her husband and has two teenage boys.

Chan Pei Lin

Master of Guidance and Counselling (MGC)

Counsellor Masters in Guidance and Counselling (MGC), James Cook University Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), University of Buffalo New York State

I have always had a keen interest in working with children and youth. I find it fulfilling and meaningful to be working, supporting and guiding them, and I now have more than eight years of experience in this area. After graduating from the University of Buffalo, New York State with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, I started working with children and youth with Special Needs in early intervention. From my interactions with my clients over these years, I have come to see that being able to provide the emotional support that they and their families need is very important.

Being diagnosed with dyslexia and tactile defensives (Sensory Integrative Disorder), I remember the unconditional and judgement-free support I received from families and friends that got me through the various challenges. Therefore, I aim to offer the same unconditional support and judgement-free interaction to all my clients. Through my personal experience, I understand how crucial it is for individuals to develop a strong emotional foundation and a support network, especially those in similar circumstance. Therefore, I strongly believe in journeying and supporting individuals through stressful times, and in working with their loved ones through the strengthening of the bonds within the family unit.

I am trained in the major counselling and therapeutic approaches and also in Choice Theory Reality Therapy and Behavioural Therapy. My work is informed by Person Centred Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Beyond children and youth, I have counselled clients in other settings and age groups including young adults and families. I am particularly interested in supporting people in building resilience and skills to cope with stress, anxiety adjustments and overall socio-emotional needs. Given my own personal and work experience, I firmly believe that everyone deserves a chance in a fulfilling life. To better support my clients, I am currently pursuing my certification for Choice Theory and Reality Therapy after obtaining my Masters in Guidance and Counselling at James Cook University.

Evelyn Rochelle Koh

Principal Counsellor, Counselling Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor

Master of Social Science (Counselling), CTRTC, EFT, EFCT
Clinical Supervisor & Instructor (Senior Faculty of William Glasser International & William Glasser Institute, Singapore)

Certified Human Behaviour Analyst (DISC)
Certified PREPARE-ENRICH

I developed a passion in counselling when I started out as a school volunteer counsellor working with youth. I saw the transformative power of the counselling relationship on the youths in school and even later in life beyond school. This was a life changing experience for me and I was spurred to setup my own private counselling and psychotherapy practice in 2004. That was a time when there were few counselling and consultation services in Singapore. Since then, I have been working with youths, couples, parents, working adults on their emotional issues and mental health and well-being through counselling and psychotherapy for close to 20 years.

Beyond helping my clients within the counselling room, I believe in tapping on the multiplier effect to bring healing and strength to individuals, and relationships between couples and within families. I thus expanded my work and I now devote a large portion of my time towards raising the skills and competencies of the helping profession through lecturing, training and consultancy services.

My area of passion and specialisation is Choice Theory, Reality Therapy, Lead Management (CTRTLM) because it is highly empowering. I thus find great joy in training counsellors, therapist, social workers, coaches, leaders and managers in this area.  I am also trained in Emotion Focused Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy and Gottman Couples Therapy and my work is also informed by therapeutic models such as Positive Psychology, Humanistic Therapy, Experiential Therapy and Systemic Family Therapy.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with organisations across different sectors, ranging from Youth Centers, Family Service Centers and Specialist Centers to the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Ministry of Education (MOE). The latter two involved projects where I was able to share my passion for helping youth in Singapore. With the HPB, I helped develop the Peer Support Program for youth and conducted training for youth leaders from tertiary institutions and for those involved in the online peer support network “Youthpals”. With the MOE, I conducted cluster training for school counsellors and teachers on counselling and therapy skills to better help our students.

It is also my firm conviction that all situations of loss and pain can be opportunities for deep healing, growth and connection. I have thus been committed to providing regular training on the topic of “Grief and Loss” to social service practitioners through the Social Service Institute (SSI).

Curriculum Vitae

  • Registered Singapore Counselor with Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC)
  • Registered Clinical Supervisor with Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC)
  • Registered Social Service Practitioner with Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW)
  • Professional member of the American Counselling Association (ACA)
  • Senior Faculty member as Approved Instructor and Supervisor of William Glasser International and William Glasser Institute, Singapore. At William Glasser Institute, Singapore, Evelyn is serving in the Executive Committee to advocate Dr. William Glasser’s teaching in Choice Theory Psychology, Reality Therapy and Lead Management.
  • External Lecturer/ Clinical Supervisor, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Clinical Supervisor, James Cook University Singapore, Monash University
  • Associate Adult Educator, Social Service Institute
  • Trained in Gottman Couples Therapy, The Gottman Institute
  • Trained in Emotion-Focused Therapy, York University, EFT Clinic
  • Trained in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Canada