The Mind Faculty
Introducing Sue Piti
by The Mind Faculty
Hey Sue, we’re excited to have you on board! You have a broad and in-depth range experience with counselling. What inspired you to practice counselling?
I’ve known since I was in high school that I wanted to be a therapist. I found human behaviour, and our different customs and cultures fascinating. I am constantly amazed at how we make certain life choices and I wanted to study how all these factors worked together so counselling was a natural progression.
After graduating with my Masters in Counselling Psychology, I’ve worked with children, couples, families and individuals in various therapeutic settings from schools to my own private practice in the US.
As an expatriate, you have first hand experience assimilating in a new culture. Given that this is the focus of one of your therapies, what do you think are the key issues that arise when moving into a new culture?
The key issues that arise as an expatriate are varied: from dealing with cultural shock to navigating life changes. This can include communication issues that may arise with your partner as your life changes and the new ways to support each other your new roles – for example, if one spouse has moved to support the other spouse. There are also issues helping your children assimilate into their new schools, and making new friends.
I’ve found that many of the issues are centred around loneliness and depression. Consequently, I’ve developed a unique system that helps my clients to build and grow a life overseas that is grounded in different areas.
From my experience, I would say that the biggest takeaway is not trying to recreate the life you had back home. You have to accept that your life will be different overseas: new experiences threaded with your current skills as well as the adjustments you’ve made when moving.
Overall, it’s important to remember that moving overseas is an adventure that few get to experience. It is a both a privilege and a sacrifice. Perspective and reframing are essential!
Following up on that, do you have advice for expats who have having difficulty integrating into Malaysia?
It’s important to maintain a self-care routine. I find exercise and meditation can help to relieve anxiety. And of course, speaking to a counsellor who can teach you coping strategies on how to integrate with a new culture as well as managing the life changes.
You have a holistic approach to mental health. Would you be able to expand a little more on what this means?
My holistic approach is eclectic: I use a lot of cognitive behavioural therapy techniques with wellness principles. I employ exercise, yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, nutrition counselling and other forms of self-care.
Next year, you’ll be receiving your yoga teaching certificate at the end of the year. Congratulations! Have you found that an active lifestyle influences your mental health?
I am a certified personal trainer, and have experience teaching Spin, HIIT, Sculpt and Senior Fitness classes as well.
I’ve taken care to maintain my exercise routine into my daily life. Exercise helps to raise serotonin and dopamine, both which have an impact on your mood; the routine also helps me to reduce anxiety and feel confident.
What are your favourite ways to stay active?
I stay active by walking, running/biking, taking fitness classes. We love to travel and try to get out and experience as much as we can in KL and around the SE Asia region! We like to experience new activities.
Sue Piti is an international counsellor with over 20 years of experience. She specialises in couples counselling; women’s issues; expatriate-specific issues; and treating PTSD, anxiety, and mood disorders such as depression and bipolar. She also has extensive experience in helping clients develop their communication and parenting skills as well as resolve gender identity issues. Her holistic approach combines cognitive behavioural therapy with mindfulness techniques and wellness principles to enhance the quality of life for her clients. To complement her practice, Sue will complete her Yoga teaching certification at the end of this year.