The Holding Space was originally named Family Focus.
This was the brain child of Lynette who wanted a formal “brand” as she worked from home, while being a full time mom. To maintain her connection with the social service sector, she pioneered in providing family life education in the form of parenting and marital talks and workshops. Work was on-site at Family Service Centres, schools, churches and other workplaces. Eventually rental of an office space was necessitated by increasing requests for private counseling follow up.
In time, the work increased as did Lynette’s professional network. As the demand for professional development increased, specialised training became sought after for social workers. Family Focus undertook a variety of locally run training programs, as well as bringing in overseas expertise in Gestalt, Trauma, Supervision and Sandplay Therapy. A name change took place when the context of work shifted from being family focussed to clinical skills development for other social service practitioners. The counseling demands also expanded and THE HOLDING SPACE became a more appropriate name.
At the same time, the co-operative working model of sharing and providing mutual support and accountability meant that several like-minded practitioner friends came together working, informally under 1 roof. Eventually a core team emerged as professional and personal friendships deepened. Today this group calls themselves “the holding gals”.
So, let’s find out a little of each of these ladies.
Lynette Yeo Balota
“I got my first degree in Social Work (National University of Singapore) and eventually obtained a Masters in Counseling (Edith Cowan University – Australia). My primary orientation is a Psychodynamic approach. I was introduced to Expressive Therapies (Expressive Therapies Institute of Australia) after my Masters program and thereafter I undertook Play Therapy training (Play Therapy UK, PTInternational) and eventually to Sandplay (Association of Sandplay Therapy). I took a course on Clay Conversations with Lynne Souter-Anderson , a pioneer of Clay Therapy in UK.
I’m a big believer that the creative arts help bring balance to life especially the type of stressful lives we have as practitioners.
I currently run the counselling outfit and a pottery studio side by side. My vision is to work as a therapist as well as a crafter by actively engaging my left and right brain functions. I encourage my clients to likewise, take up creative hobbies and not over work the left brain.”
Leong Yiat Teng
“I hold and work with both children and adults in sandplay and expressive therapy sessions. My belief is that sandplay and expressive therapies open up different ways of understanding ourselves, our concerns and offer different journeys towards healing.
I enjoy painting as well as making clay figurines and use my creative skills in the therapeutic sessions with my clients.
I obtained my Bachelor in Social Work and Bachelor in Social Sciences (Hons) from the National University of Singapore. My Graduate Certificate in Expressive Therapies is from the Expressive Therapies Institute of Australia and my Sandplay Therapy training is with The Association for Sandplay Therapy.”
Eng Peng Peng
“I am a Medical Social Worker in paediatric health care setting working with psychosocial assessments and case management with children and parents. I began some work with children and teens and realised there has to be more than one form of expression beyond talking. I developed my skills in the expressive therapies. I was drawn to Jungian psychology through Sandplay. While undergoing my own sandplay process in training, I was amazed at how one’s emotional struggles and inner processes interacted creatively and unconsciously through the sandplay process.
I have a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Social Work (National University of Singapore)., Master of Science in Counselling (California State University, Fresno, USA), Diploma in Clinical Supervision ( Counselling and Care Centre Singapore). My training was with Mark Pearson, Australia on expressive therapies. My training in Sandplay Therapy was with trainer, Eunice Stagg, UK from the Association of Sandplay Therapy.”
“My social work career started with working with young girls under protective care of the State (B.A. Social Work & Sociology, NUS), and community psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health awareness (MSW, University of Hawaii), and then to supporting social workers in a church-funded organisation. In 2006, I felt a calling to be trained as an art therapist (Graduate Certificate in Art Therapy, Notre Dame de Namur University, California). I came home ready to go back to direct work with mainly older adult clients and also those dealing with grief and loss. This was reflective of my own life journey – entering my second half of life, caring for aging parents and aunts, and finding new ways of “being in the world”.
My interest in the realm of spirituality, self-knowing and deeper reflective work led me to continue further training in the Jungian approach of Sandplay Therapy under Eunice Stagg, now the President of the Association of Sandplay Therapy.
I have been coordinating a programme called Flourishing Fun for elderly since 2013, integrating movement, music, songs and art. I was clinical supervisor for the MA in Art Therapy students at LaSalle College of the Arts. I had been on-site supervisor and currently offer clinicial supervision to art therapists. I also encourage artists to understand their faith through art, and become more holistic in their creative journey as artists.”
“I am a carer, with my sister for our mum, aged 87. I am glad she enjoys going to a senior day care centre where she spent her time socializing, engaging her mind and body with Rummy-O, mahjong, arts and crafts and the slow exercises.
After working and volunteering in different fields, I decided to complete my undergraduate degree in counseling with Edith Cowan University, Australia, and continued with my Masters in Counseling. As I wanted to provide more help to clients beyond talk therapy, I undertook training in EMDR and inner works. To work with clients on a deeper, reflective level, I took further training in Sandplay Therapy.
I am registered spiritual director (Ignatian tradition) with the Life Direction Singapore. As such, I provide a psycho-spiritual dimension in my journey with clients, and with spiritual directees who want to deepen their faith life. I also sit on the Board of Mamre Oaks Ltd, a day activities centre for the adult persons with intellectual disabilities.
My colleagues say my creative streak is in my humour and wit. And I enjoy a good singing session when we go up to Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia.”