Alumni Profiles - Gus Tan
Ph.D. Program, 2010 Alumnus
Clinician in Singapore
Nonsuicidal self-injury in an adolescent population in Singapore
Gus Tan’s home is the beautiful island country of Singapore. There, amid a diverse multi-racial, multi-cultural population, the 47-year-old father of three is conducting a thriving counseling practice and teaching. “I’m a one-man show,” laughs Tan who graduated from the Counselor Education & Supervision program in 2010.
Tan didn’t start out to be a counselor — he actually began his career in law. But eventually, the young lawyer realized that it wasn’t the legal part of the legal relief work he was doing that engaged him. It was the relief side. After considering further study in theology, Tan decided that his true calling was counseling. It wasn’t the easiest choice.
In Singapore, says Tan, there’s a stigma attached to counseling. “Here, social workers do counseling if counseling is done at all.” That may be changing. Since 1997, off-shore counseling programs have been making their way to Singapore and, in the process, are helping train a new generation of professionals. As a teacher in one of the programs since the late ’90s, Tan loved his role as an educator but knew after just a few years that he needed to go deeper. That’s when he found Regent. “I first read about Regent online,” he says. “I began to look into Regent’s Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision, and everything I saw impressed me more and more.” Tan says the program’s stringent requirements and national accreditation — it’s the only CACREP-accredited online doctoral program in the United States — clinched it for him. “It was very apparent — this was a solid program.”
Tan’s experience as a Regent student only confirmed that early impression. In 2008, Tan accompanied several of his professors to an international conference in Hawaii where he spoke to the professional gathering about the role of international counseling. “What an experience!” remarks Tan. “Regent has exposed me to so much. I’ve had so many opportunities to learn and grow as both an advanced clinician and as an educator.” Tan believes the caliber of the Regent faculty has a great deal to do with it. “The professors are excellent,” he says. “They are published authors, speakers and well-known professionals, but they’re not up there in an ivory tower. Their commitment to our professional and personal development is very real.”