In her home country of Malaysia, Vanessa discovered a passion for working with children with behavioural difficulties, and made it her goal to provide help to struggling families and to study further effective approaches to child psychological development.
'As a licensed counsellor and counselling supervisor in Malaysia, I was working in hospitals, government sectors and non-governmental organizations with children and families who experienced behavioural and emotional problems.'
Vanessa moved with her family to study at UC and better understand her field of interest. Her thesis will compare two known therapies that take cognitive-behaviour and relationship-based approaches to addressing behavioural difficulties in early childhood. She finds UC's support in developing new research a wonderful environment for her study.
'UC is welcoming students from a broad research area... It is a great place to meet people with different expertise, knowledge and research subjects. I love the University's interaction in terms of the supervision, student support and community, and the Health Sciences Centre is well-equipped for conducting a wide range of psychological therapies.'
Vanessa adds, 'the continuous learning and direct application of knowledge in the area of psychology, along with up-to-date research methods makes the research journey exciting. I enjoy the freedom I have to apply and discover knowledge in the process of my research.'
Doubling life as a mother and student has been a valuable source of experience and a great motivation for her studies.
'My family makes my PhD journey more meaningful, with the opportunity to establish my multi-tasking ability in playing every single character... my husband and my daughter are my important resources for all the challenges in my study and living. And living in Christchurch, with all its relaxing and exciting outdoor activities, has given us countless memorable times together.'
Vanessa recommends an active and direct approach towards developing an interest in her field of study.
'Practical and hands-on experience with children and families will be a great advantage in applying your study in a practical form for research,' she says.
After graduating, Vanessa sees a wide range of uses for her work back in Malaysia as a lecturer in counselling and psychology, and for other universities, and hopes it will provide encouragement for others to take part in her field.
'Studying toward my PhD is very significant for me as a pathway to establishing my career vision as an active researcher and a proficient academic. It equips me with a strong ability to implement rigorous research methodologies to expand our knowledge in the area of child and family psychology. Nonetheless, the effort to disseminate the training and implementation of evidence-based child and family intervention programmes in universities as well as in communities is always my inspiration.'