Universiti Malaya – Wales

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Empowering Mental Health: Philiya's Journey of Impact and Growth

BSc (Hons) in Psychology

Master of Clinical Psychology, UCSI

Introducing Philiya Mary Thomas, a dedicated alumna of IUMW who’s turning her passion for psychology into a meaningful career path. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Philiya chose to continue her studies and is now pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Psychology.

During her time at IUMW, Philiya experienced a pivotal moment that shaped her trajectory. She had the opportunity to publish and present a paper titled “Posttraumatic Growth in the Refugees: Life Experiences and Challenges during the Covid-19 Pandemic.” This experience not only expanded her knowledge but also deepened her understanding of the struggles faced by refugees. Philiya recalls, “This project not only marked a significant achievement but also reinforced my dedication to making a positive impact through my research. It cemented my commitment to continuous learning, personal growth, and the pursuit of excellence. My supervisor, Dr Mimi Fitriana, was an incredible support and guide throughout my journey”.

After graduating, Philiya embarked on a journey to contribute her knowledge to society, undertaking internships that exposed her to diverse challenges. From observing counselling sessions to working with refugees through Health Equity Initiatives, Philiya’s experiences broadened her perspective and fueled her desire to support marginalised communities. Her involvement with a clothing brand, HAVAN, aimed at promoting emotional intelligence education for institutionalised children, further underscored her commitment.

In her pursuit of a Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Philiya acknowledges the foundational skills and support she gained at IUMW. “The programme’s emphasis on communication skills proved invaluable, enabling me to connect empathetically with others. I also had the opportunity to organise and volunteer in many events and activities, including assisting Orang Asli children and being part of the IUMW Peer Helpers programme, which helped develop my adaptability in a constantly evolving field”.

Philiya’s inspiration lies in the potential to impact lives positively, motivated by the opportunity to help individuals overcome challenges and lead fulfilling lives. “Witnessing personal growth and transformation is incredibly inspiring, and being part of that process is both a privilege and driving force in my career”.

Reflecting on her journey, Philiya proudly shares her accomplishment of presenting a paper at the Malaysia Sustainable Development Goals Conference 2022. Her paper, “Coverage and Reception of Healthcare Services for Refugees in Klang Valley, Malaysia – A Qualitative Study,” demonstrated her progress since her time at IUMW.

Philiya’s advice to current IUMW students aspiring for a similar path is to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. “When the going gets tough, don’t stop because of it. Just keep moving forward because we definitely need the storm to be able to grow,” she advises. With determination and the support of a strong educational foundation, Philiya exemplifies the impact that one individual can have on the lives of many.