History & Evolution of Services
In 1995, the Inter Ministry Committee on Dysfunctional, Juvenile Delinquency and Drug Abuse recommended that schools and community organisations such as Voluntary Welfare Organizations (VWOs) work together to identify problem youths and troubled families.
The late President of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Jayadevananda, had always felt the need to provide services to the children, youth and their families. He strongly believed that guidance and support provided at an early stage would greatly enhance the ability of children and youth displaying emotional, psychological or social problems, to cope and develop into well-adjusted adults of the nation.
WHEN & HOW THE CENTRE STARTED:
In July 1995, with the financial assistance from the 25th Anniversary Endowment Fund from NCSS, Ramakrishna Mission launched a Pilot Project under the name “Ramakrishna Mission Counselling Centre (RMCC)”.
The Centre started its operation with three Counsellors and one Administrative Assistant at the corner of the Mission Library, in a one room operational office in the main building. Counsellors networked selflessly in neighbourhood schools, assisting teachers in identifying students who could benefit from counselling services offered in the school setting.
In 1996, National Council of Social Service (NCSS) recognised the efforts of RMCC to meet the needs of community, and Ramakrishna Mission Counselling Centre became a fully funded agency under NCSS for School Social Work (SSW).
Between FY1995 till FY2011, the Centre provided services to 15 primary and secondary schools across Singapore under the scope of the ‘School Social Work’ (SSW) initiative. The SSW initiative ended with the introduction of Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Full-time School Counsellors (FTSC) program.
In 1997, with the influx of Centre-based clients, there was a need for a larger office space with more counselling rooms. Thus, the Centre was moved to Sarada Hall, which had three rooms, one admin office, and a conference room, for case discussions and official meetings. In June 2002, the Centre was relocated again to a brand-new multi-purpose space, which included state-of-the-art facilities such as one-way mirror counselling rooms and play/art therapy and observation rooms. These were aimed at maximising the effectiveness of therapy for both clients and counsellors.
In 2002, the Management Committee repositioned and rebranded our services to the community by changing the name from Ramakrishna Mission Counselling Centre to “WINGS Counselling Centre”, to better reflect our secular community services. Today, WINGS employs both full and part-time counsellors, all of whom are trained to handle a variety of counselling scenarios. Our counsellors adopt a holistic approach to meet the needs of our clients; their community services include conducting talks, workshops, and home visits, while their individual services include providing therapy and psychiatric services, as well as guidance to parents and teachers.
EXPANSION OF SERVICES TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY:
In April 2004, the Centre re-evaluated its services and realised the benefits of working intensively with parents and families. The School Family-life Education (SFE) programme was simultaneously launched by the Ministry of Community Youth and Sports (MCYS), now known as Ministry of Social and Family Development. As the SFE programme targeted youths and their parents, WCC grabbed the opportunity to develop skill-based parenting workshops for both children and youths, and their parents. WCC became a service provider of the SFE programme, where the organisation provided-skill based workshops in primary and secondary schools across Singapore. This workshop adopted a three-pronged approach, working collaboratively with the schools, homes and the community.
In January 2007, the Centre actively sought to support children and youths in school by taking up the then MCYS co-funded programme called Step-Up – now known as the Enhanced Step Up programme. The programme was initially designed to better support children and youth with social, emotional and absenteeism challenges within the school system. In March 2016, after the focus shifted to a narrower scope of absenteeism, WCC exited the programme.
In collaboration with NCSS, WINGS undertook yet another challenge in January 2009. The specialised pilot project called “Pre-School Support Programme (PSSP)” was the first preventive intervention programme for pre-schoolers. The programme was aimed at helping children, aged 2.5 to below 7 years, experiencing social, emotional, behavioural, developmental and academic challenges affecting learning.
The objective was to manage the transition process of pre-schoolers, from home-based informal learning to a more structured formal learning environment of the pre-school. The ultimate goal of the programme was to ensure that each child is given equal opportunity to reach his/her full potential during the pre-school phase.
INTRODUCTION OF THE FAMILY SUPPORT AND COUNSELLING PROGRAMME:
With changing trends in the social work sector, accompanied with the introduction of MOE’s School Counsellors, WINGS Counselling Centre began to position itself to become a centre-based counselling Centre. This became a reality in FY2012.
The organisation collaborated with NCSS and successfully developed an internally researched based specialised programme called ‘Family Support and Counselling Programme (FSCP)’, serving a wide group of clients aged between 7 to 65.
In FY2014-2015, WCC strategically integrated FSCP and PSSP into three key categories, to further enhance the specialised niche services and differentiate the nature and methodology of service delivery. They are:
1) 2.5 - below 7 years: Preventive Programme for Pre-schoolers.
2) 7 years – 20 years: Primary, Secondary, Junior College & Poly students.
3) 21 years – 65 years: Individuals, Adults, Couples and Families.
FSCP (in schools):
WCC services are now available across Singapore’s Primary and Secondary schools. WCC works collaboratively with school leaders and the school counsellor to provide long term therapy for children with family-related challenges. These services, which are provided in the school premise allows the parents, children and youths to consult WCC trained counsellors during the school hours and counselling for the parent’s can be arranged at a time that is convenient for parents in school without having to seek the same service at the Family Service Centres.
WINGS Counselling Centre provides counselling for clients from 2.5 – 65 years old at the Centre. Pre-schools, day-care centres and kindergarten can refer pre-schoolers to the Centre and various types of expressive therapies such as sand-tray, play therapy and symbol work is used in the therapeutic interventions.
Parents may also bring their primary and secondary school children and youth to WCC because they want to maintain confidentiality about family situations and circumstances. Separately, adults and individuals from 21 to 65 years seek counselling at WINGS Counselling Centre for personal, marital or family related challenges because they want to improve the quality of their life through professional counselling.