Name: Clare Pun
Title: Manager, Pregnant Girls Services
Years Working at Mother’s Choice: 6
(1) Why did you first decide to go into counselling?
I pursued my Bachelor Degree in Psychology because of my innate curiosity about people living with mental health challenges, and I hoped to gain insight into these complex issues that most people avoid or stigmatize. While working in a mental health rehabilitation agency, I spent almost a third of my time working with people recovering from mental health challenges. My encounter with these people completely transformed my understanding of psychology, as opposed to what I had studied in university. I had not previously learned about the complex interplay between mental health and the dynamics of human interaction. To my surprise, the difficult emotions they experienced were all attached with significant others in their lives. This motivated me to specialize in “relational healing”.
(2) Why did you decide to work for Mother’s Choice?
After gaining my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, I was promoted to being a counsellor with a focus on mental health. Through this position, I was able to support the agency in advocating for family-based mental health care. I provided individual and group counselling to children and adolescents whose parents were living with mental health issues. Through this work, I witnessed the long lasting, transformational impact on children and adolescents brought about by family intervention.
The decision to work for Mother’s Choice was because I wanted to leave my comfort zone –“settling down for a longer time without challenges and stimulation makes me stop learning and aiming for more.” I came across the job posting of counsellor provided by Pregnant Girls Services, and I felt like I wanted to challenge myself by working with youth who faced teenage pregnancy – I truly believed I could do something for their families.
(3) What are the things I love best about working at Mother’s Choice?
Purpose – I constantly hear stories about the human impact Mother’s Choice makes. Our organization is making a difference for good in people’s lives, including our clients, employees, and volunteers. I’m impressed by how the work connects with those values that the organization is trying to enact and stand for. I find meaning in my work because I see a clear connection between what I value and what I spend time doing.
People – I have always been surrounded by many committed and dedicated colleagues in MC. I became acquainted with team members who have devoted much passion for the betterment of society, without self-gain or greedy motives behind their actions. Learning from those we work with is one of the great benefits of the workplace at Mother’s Choice. I learn from what they teach me. Sometimes I can absorb knowledge by working closely with someone. I learn so much from my colleagues – wisdom, goodwill, and obtaining insights that I can put to use within our professional lives and beyond.
Clients – I find it a privilege to work with pregnant youth. Working with them is like simultaneously dealing with two lives – the life of the youth and her child, which enables me to form deep connections on many levels. Firstly, it helps me connect with my own self. It takes me on a path of self-discovery to figure out what my values are and who I am as a person. Secondly, working with pregnant youth deeply connects me with others by listening to them empathetically. And thirdly, it connects me with the larger issues of society. I go from looking at things in a black and white manner to understanding the complexity and nuances of social issues.