In this spotlight profile, we are speaking to Dr. Ida Ng, licensed psychologist based in Hong Kong and trained in United States of America and who received further accreditation in London and Australia. Dr. Ng has a successful clinical practice in Hong Kong and specializes in providing clients with holistic treatment focusing on mind-body-spirit and thereby mixing clinical psychological therapy along with mindfulness and spirituality for whole-self healing. The aim of Dr. Ng’s practice is to reduce psychological distress and anxiety while at the same time enhancing an individual’s quality of life.
Dr. Ng, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and training and how it has evolved into your current practice today?
I have had different experiences throughout my career in the psychology field and have trained in various countries. I received my psychology degree from Ohio University in the United States of America and have received certifications from various professional bodies recognized in the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom. My interest is now in China and the well-established systems there.
Your practice focuses on holistic healing thus bringing together psychological therapy together with mindfulness and spirituality. Can you explain this further and how this type of therapy can bring about healing of the whole self?
In my first 5 years of practice, most of the focus of my practice was on the problem and corresponding treatment. This type of treatment helps clients understand cognitive behavior and treatment for that behavior which results in learned behavior. Changing behavior however, only results in robot-like learned patterns because you practice the learned behavior and it thereafter becomes habit. However, what’s missing in this is what’s from the heart. Learned behavior is not what naturally flows from the heart where emotions reside and by not addressing the emotions, the issues are not able to resolve.
With that information on hand, I have focused my therapy on heart healing by allowing clients to look at things from a different perspective. Accompanying therapy, I also include meditation, spirituality, modality and reiki. By understanding these different modalities, I am able to attempt to understand my clients and where they are coming from. For example, when I spent my time training in the United Kingdom, I spent approximately 5 to 7 years focusing on chakra healing so now when I meet with clients, I speak to them about their chakras and activation of the chakras to assist in the healing process.
By looking at a client’s aura and chakra, I can see if there is anything blocking their healing and whether they are aligned or not. By doing this, we can see where the problems arise from. I notice this so I can help the client with their problems and identify the root issue. Most of the time, clients are willing to talk about the problem when they are in realization of what that is. This process focuses on helping individuals connect inside and that in itself takes time and patience.
In your practice, divorce and family issues can be at the forefront of psychological distress and anxiety. Tell us more about the issues you are seeing with those individuals going through relationship issues and/or divorce.
The issue that I see in many relationships is that there is a lot of expectation, not only from within but from society. The problem with expectations is that it shadows how an individual may feel about themselves. But the problem here is that it clouds a person’s ability to understand what they truly want in life and with each other in the relationship.
In my therapy sessions, I always like to clarify with individuals what they truly desire. I try to help them understand what they want and their purpose and I ask if they can learn something from this relationship. I like to get to the core of what an individual wants from the relationship, whether the focus is truly on what they want from their partner or if they only want a picture-perfect version of their relationship that is acceptable to those looking from the outside.
It’s important to focus on the root of the issue because curiosity is important in order to understand how to heal. This requires work in communication not only with yourself but with one another as well.
Has the recent Covid-19 pandemic played a part in the psychological distress you are seeing in clients and if so what kind of issues are consistently coming up?
I think even without this Covid-19 pandemic people lives are busy and they don’t want to deal with problems. When they have free time, individuals prefer to travel and go on holidays rather than talk about their problems.
When the Covid-19 pandemic happened, people were forced to work from home and time kind of stopped. A lot of business trips were cancelled and many people could not attend to their overseas lovers and maintain those relationships. We can see during this Covid-19 pandemic that people have had to really sit down and face problem and this requires facing your partner every morning and night and it’s not something you can hide from.
Can you give us an example of the type of healing work you would recommend to those individuals going through an exceptionally difficult divorce and are dealing with the vast array of emotions that may come up in a divorce such as relief, anger, grief and even loneliness?
In my practice, I work with couples through couples therapy workbooks that helps couples revisit the relationship. It’s not about remembering the first date, but talking about spending time to ask questions and show empathy and demonstrating to each other that you want to communicate with one another.
In relationships, there’s a lot of anger, assumption, fear and frustration. This places a large barrier in the relationship. My job is to help couples understand that their relationship can and will change over the years and how each person views the world may be different. Now with the passage of time, it’s okay to revisit the change in each individual and help couples communicate the changes they are seeing and how they can heal the pain of the past. It can even come down to a simple question of: do you still like your partner?
Have you worked with children who are going through a particularly difficult time when it comes to divorce? What kind of healing work would you recommend for children who are going through the breakup of their parents and the family?
There was a case where I worked with a couple who were struggling on deciding whether to stay in Hong Kong or move back to the United Kingdom. The couple struggled with infidelity and they had children to attend to as well. Both parents struggled as they wanted to keep the family together for the sake of the children. Children are like glue in a family. It’s important to remember that even if parents don’t share too much about their problems with the children, children are very smart and they can sense/feel that something is not right. Parents on the other hand always assume children are just too young to understand, but this is not the case.
Children are very intuitive so when I work with them, I try to help them understand their energy and the energy flow within the family. When speaking with parents dealing with struggling children, I always also try and remind them that it is not a child’s job to glue the family together and the focus should be more on helping the children learn about their emotions in dealing with these struggles rather than carrying the burden of keeping the family together.
There seems to be a real push on focusing on mental health and working towards inner healing. Why do you think it’s especially important for individuals to focus on mental health?
When an individuals’ mental health is not strong, they are easily shifted by circumstances. If you understand what you want and are well connected to your feelings, you are better positioned to both your heart’s desires and rationality to make better decisions in life during times of adversity.
That is why I always ask my clients: what is your mind thinking and what is your heart telling you? This then helps individuals to know how to connect the two so that it results in better decisions. You are essentially sewing together rationality with the soul.
What do you think business/companies can do to support their employees in this push for mental health awareness and healing?
From my perspective, more companies are starting to focus on awareness of mental health in the workplace. I have consulted with many companies on what procedures and exercises can be in place to help employees during tough times. Companies should be focusing a lot of energy on bringing together colleagues so they can be a support system to each other and during Covid-19 times, that may include online gatherings to de-stress and enjoy each other’s company and to keep each other accountable.
It’s important for employers to understand that individuals struggling with mental health issues can be easily overwhelmed by stress and it’s difficult for them to function under stress. When stress is too much, it no longer motivates an individual and they cannot be a participating member when they are de-motivated. And it is this sadness that affects the whole team and company. That is why it’s important for colleagues to support one another.
About Dr. Ida Ng, Licensed Psychologist:
Ida is based in Hong Kong and has over 20 years of clinical experiences in psychological and life enhancement cases and has worked with clients come from all over the world. Ida has practiced in the USA, UK, Singapore, Japan, Macao and Hong Kong. The scopes of services covered by her range from psychological assessment, therapeutic treatment and mindfulness and into life purpose understanding, connection to higher self and spirituality counselling.
Ida has well integrated science and art into her works, teaching and clinical practice.
Ida obtained her psychology degree from Ohio University in the USA and has received further accreditation in psychological counselling from professional bodies in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Ida’s psychology practice is located in Central and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.