Key Note Speeches at the 19th World Congress on Psychotherapy
Date: 4 September 2006
Opening Speech by Dato’ Dr. Sharifah Hapsah Shahabudin
CEO/Chairman Lembaga Akreditasi Negara
President of the National Council of Women’s Organisations of Malaysia
Saudara/Saudari Pengerusi majlis yang dimuliakan,
Prof. T. Maniam,
Chairman of the Organising Committee & president of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association.
Prof. Ulrich Schnyder,
Co Chairman & President of the International Federation of Psychotherapy
Dr. Abdul Kadir, Vice President, Malaysian Psychiatric Association
All past presidents of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association
Tan Sri, Dato’ and Datin, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
Assalamualaikum and a very good morning.
Firstly I would like to thank Prof Maniam for persuading me to accept the invitation to address you. I simply could not refuse a colleague who has always been an important friend in helping me with my work when I was in the medical faculty at UKM and who will continue to be an important ally in my new job there when I report for duty next Monday. I see many familiar faces here in the audience and I look forward to working with all of you again.
Psychiatry has always fascinated me. As a young medical student I appreciated the opportunity it afforded for patients to be seen holistically. I learn to recognise that their fears, apprehension, embarrassment and a host of other feelings matter as much as the presenting symptoms and signs of the physical illness. It taught me to understand that a patient’s reaction or manifest behaviour may underline a deeper psychological process which need to be identified and dealt with.
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Message from the Chair of the Organizing Committee - Professor T. Maniam
A warm selamat datang (welcome) to the 19th World Congress of Psychotherapy and 12th Malaysian Conference on Psychological Medicine. Our goal has been to provide a high quality scientific program. As you will see it is indeed an impressive program. At the same time we would like to give the opportunity to our foreign guests to get a taste of Malaysian culture. We also believe this will be a great opportunity to make new friends and strengthen old friendships.
The challenges that face the mental health field in general and psychotherapy in particular are legion. Some of these are old challenges: stigma, lack of human and material resources, and the lack of awareness of the seriousness of untreated or under-treated emotional disorders. It must be noted that this lack of awareness is not only on the part of the public but also on the part of decision makers and fund holders, and the politicians. In many developing countries national priorities often lie elsewhere. Control of communicable diseases and maternal and child health are, understandably, priority areas. As someone said, “In a developing country everything is a priority!” In the ensuing keen competition for limited resources, psychotherapy and even newer medications sound like luxuries. However it is necessary to remember, at the risk of sounding clichéd, that there can be no health without mental health; it is obvious that without mental wellness physical health cannot be enjoyed. It would be remiss on my part if I fail to mention that another impediment to the development of psychiatry and psychotherapy is the absence of insurance coverage.
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Final welcome message by Prof. Ulrich Schnyder
Co-chairman 19th World Congress of Psychotherapy
Dear colleagues and friends from Malaysia, Asia, and from all over the world!
In my capacity as president of the International Federation for Psychotherapy IFP, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you to. When holding the program of the 19th World Congress of Psychotherapy in your hands, and browsing through its scientific content, you will certainly realize that it was worth while from a scientific viewpoint to have made the trip to Kuala Lumpur.
While the conference theme, „Well-being across cultures: psychotherapy in a biological era“, is being used to highlight certain issues we intend to focus on, we don’t want to be exclusive. Our general aim will be to better understand what our patients are struggling with, and how to treat them. Given that in most mental disorders, effect sizes for psychotherapy are larger than for drug treatments, we are well justified to put great emphasis on psychotherapeutic approaches. Furthermore, apart from looking into psychopathology and mental disorders, the conference will also address issues such as resilience, post-traumatic growth, and salutogenesis.