It was my first time sharing about existential therapy to a large audience in Singapore at the National Counselling & Psychotherapy Conference 2023.
I have shared my study on [authenticity and silence in the Asian society] multiple times before—in groups, one-on-one sessions, virtually, and in writing—but never in such a large setting, addressing an audience of over 300 people.
Truth be told, in the days leading up to the conference as I prepared for my talk, I was consumed by anxiety and self-doubt.
– What are my audience expecting to hear?
– Can I do justice to the research in the way I deliver the findings?
– Will the audience understand and resonate?
– How will they react?
And then it was over. In fact, I had a great time! The audience loved it. I received much feedback and many questions. I am pleased to see people becoming curious about existential therapy. Goal—checked!
Looking back at myself and how I navigated anxiety leading up to conference, I am reminded of a book by Psychotherapist Kirk Schneider: Life Enhancing Anxiety: Key to a Sane World.
What I experienced was none other than “life-enhancing anxiety”.
The kind that helps us “live on the edge of wonder and discovery”, as opposed to the type [life-denying anxiety] that is “linked to destructiveness and emotional impoverishment”.
This is my takeaway from my anxious experience—that anxiety can be life-enhancing, and it is a part of being human. I am grateful I did not try to avoid or work to get rid of my anxiety. But instead embrace it and use it to connect with my audience.
Hi, I'm Mag: a UKCP-accredited counselling psychologist and founder of Singapore’s first ever existential practice. My care philosophy is not to diagnose, label, or categorise but rather to work with the individual in front of me in the here and now.
My clinical credentials certainly play a significant role in defining my professional identity. But to foster a deeper connection and authenticity, I invite you to discover my other “Selves”, the various facets of who I am.