Empathy, Ethics, and Expertise: The Three E’s in Therapy

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In conversation with Tanjina Ashraf Khan Mou.

The global conversation around mental health has been gaining momentum, reflecting a growing recognition of its importance. However, there is still a long way to go in breaking down the stigma and ensuring that mental health is looked at with the same seriousness as physical health. Furthermore, just as there is rigorous screening for medical professionals, a thorough process for hiring qualified and empathic mental health professionals is crucial so that along with conversations, clients’ faith can also increase.

Support for mental health must extend beyond clinical tools and impersonal advice, particularly within the context of Asian cultures that deeply value empathy and respectful connection. In these cultures, mental health support thrives on relationships built on trust, confidentiality, understanding, and genuine concern. Empathy forms the backbone of effective mental health care. It’s not enough to provide observations on paper; the approach must be holistic, embracing the individual’s emotional and cultural context.

In Asian cultures, where community and familial bonds are strong, an empathetic approach resonates more deeply. It acknowledges the person’s feelings, respects their experiences, and integrates culturally relevant practices. Support grounded in empathy fosters a safe environment where individuals feel heard and valued. This approach reduces the stigma associated with mental health sessions, encouraging more people to seek help. Empathy-driven support also facilitates better communication in most therapeutic sessions, allowing for more personalized and effective care plans.

Ultimately, support full of empathy, ethics, and expertise transform the therapeutic relationship, creating a healing space where individuals can open up and engage more fully in their mental health journey. It is this compassionate approach that bridges the gap between clinical interventions and the emotional needs of those seeking help.

As an expat living in Malaysia for the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of guiding over 3,800 clients on their well-being journey in this land. This experience has solidified my belief in the importance of mental health and the power of compassionate support. Recognizing the rich cultural tapestry of Malaysia, I have made it a positive goal to employ local talents in my center as much as possible. This decision stems from a desire to give back to the community that has welcomed me and to empower and nurture young professionals to carry forward this conversation about empathy-driven sessions.

Also, by hiring local talents all these years, I have learned to better ensure that the services we provide are culturally sensitive and relevant. Additionally, it is a way to nurture homegrown expertise. I believe in contributing positively to my host country where I work, and to help elevate the conversation about mental health within Malaysia and beyond. By taking these dialogues beyond borders, we can share the unique perspectives and solutions developed here in Asia, fostering a global conversation that benefits everyone.

At MentCouch Psychology Centre, we take pride in offering comprehensive psychology and wellbeing services in Kuala Lumpur and online counselling services worldwide. My personal commitment as a leader is to provide accessible, compassionate, and professional support to both clients and team members, ensuring their mental health and wellbeing are prioritized. As one of the few centres in Kuala Lumpur to pioneer the “mental health leave” system, I recognize the importance of rest and recovery for my team and employees. This unique initiative allows the MentCouch team to take leave specifically for mental health, reflecting our dedication to creating a supportive, compassionate, and healthy work environment.

Explore our services and learn more about our approach to mental wellbeing by visiting and Our services are not only meant for people with concerns, it is for everyone! We are here to support you on your journey to better mental health, whether in person or online, wherever you are.

MentCouch Psychology Centre Suite 1-02, 1st Floor, Menara Atlan 161B, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Call us: 603.2712 9372, 6011.5552 9372 (WhatsApp). or reach out to us via email at [email protected].

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