Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s (HKSYU) first doctor, Dr. CHEUNG Yim, received her doctoral degree of Doctor of Psychology in Counselling Psychology on 30 November 2020 in the 45th and 46th Graduation Ceremony. She is now a lecturer of the Department of Counselling Psychology of the University and a counselling psychologist of the HKSYU Counselling and Research Centre. She describes teaching and practicing at the same time as her career dream come true.

In an interview with Shue Yan Newsletter, Dr. CHEUNG said she completed her study in May 2019 and longed to attend the graduation ceremony scheduled in the end of November that year. But the ceremony was postponed because of the social events occurred last year, and she was disappointed at that time. This year, under the shadow of the new wave of outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduation ceremony she looked forward to for more than a year could be held, and she was really very happy about that.

“My graduation ceremony was in the afternoon session of 30 November. In that session, we have graduates of the Master of Counselling Psychology, Master of Psychology and Bachelor of Psychology programmes. That afternoon, I stepped onto the stage twice and became the focus of all graduates. It is because I was the first one to receive the degree in that session, and was invited to rehearse for the conferment procedures. The second time, I stepped on the stage to actually receive the degree from the presiding officer. I was very excited at that moment,” she said.

Being a graduate and a teacher at the same time

After the ceremony, Dr. CHEUNG, as a graduate, invited her teachers to take photos with her, and was also invited to take photos with her students, as a teacher. In her doctoral study, she was appointed as a part-time lecturer of the department.

“The feeling of graduating at the same year with your students is really amazing and special. Thanks for their presence to see how I grew up as a teacher from a student,” she said.

Dr. CHEUNG (back row fourth left) takes photo with her teachers.
Dr. CHEUNG takes photo with her student.

Dr. CHEUNG graduated from Hong Kong Open University’s Bachelor of Psychology programme and worked for a few years before enrolling in the Master of Counselling Psychology programme offered by HKSYU in 2011. After graduation, she entered the working world again. In 2015, she learnt that Shue Yan will offer Asian’s first taught Doctoral programme in Counselling Psychology, and she made up her mind to enroll in the programme.

Teaching as well as practicing

“Last year after I completed my study, I was still undecided about my career in academia or as a counselling psychologist. One day, the head of the department and my thesis supervisor, Dr. Alex Li, told me that the department has an academic vacancy, and suggested me to apply if I am interested. I submitted my application, passing all testing and checking, and became a lecturer of the department in September 2019. Meanwhile, the department allows me to continue to practice at the Counselling and Research Centre. I can say that this is what I have longed for: doing teaching and practicing at the same time,” Dr. CHEUNG said.

Besides providing psychological counselling and assessment services, Dr. CHEUNG is also participating in a project jointly run by the Centre and the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government. Under the project, the counselling psychologists of the Centre will provide professional advice and support to 25 primary schools and the parents to raise the learning motivation of the students. She is responsible to assist two schools.

According to the Department of Counselling and Psychology, the Doctor of Counselling and Psychology programme enrolled one student in the 2016/2017 academic year. Since the progress of data collection has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the student had applied to postpone the submission of the thesis and will graduate in next year.

Source: December 2020 Issue