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TCM x PSYCH Depression Programme

Break free from depression the natural way

Having depression is like seeing the world through dark-tinted sunglasses.  Everything seems and feels more bleak. And with the low mood, energy and motivation that depression usually comes with, it can feel like an insurmountable challenge to get up and function daily.

PULSE offers a natural, alternative approach for managing depression. We provide Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments targeted towards improving depression symptoms. In our East-meets-West program, you also have the option to combine evidence-based therapy by a clinical psychologist for a more holistic recovery.  

Benefits

TCM treatments such as acupuncture and herbal medications have been widely used in China to treat depression for centuries. Their effectiveness has also been supported by clinical research. 

Psychotherapy using approaches such as Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and Behavioural Activation is a medical ‘gold standard’ treatment for depression backed by strong research evidence of effectiveness.  

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Emotional

  • Persistent and pervasive low or depressed mood
  • Reduced or loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

Cogntive

  • Poorer concentration or judgement
  • Slowing down of mental processes
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation

Physical

  • Significant change in weight or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue or loss of energy

Behavioural

  • Restlessness or slowing down of physical movements
  • Withdrawal from activities and social interaction
  • Difficulties carrying out daily responsibilities

Like all mental health conditions, depression occurs within a spectrum from mild, moderate, to severe.

Depression from a TCM Perspective

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views depression and emotional imbalances as connected to disturbances in the Qi
Vital life force that flows through the body and can be regulated via TCM
 energy and functioning of internal organs.

Different organs are believed to be involved in regulating different emotions.

Weakened functioning of organs can impact our emotional health and potentially contribute to symptoms of depression.

Vice versa, excessive worry, stress, sadness or any excessive emotions can also harm the functioning of internal organs and cause blockages in Qi energy

The following are examples of some TCM imbalances that are commonly associated with depression.

Liver Qi Stagnation

liver graphic

Most common imbalance associated with depression

Symptoms

  • Persistent sadness
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Frustration
  • Chest tightness

Heart Deficiency

Emotional stress and fatigue disrupting the state of mind, which is housed in the heart.

Symptoms

  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Night sweats

Spleen Deficiency

spleen graphic

Triggered by excessive worry and overthinking

Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Overthinking, worry & suspicion
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor appetite
  • Insomnia

Note that this list is not exhaustive and there are other types of imbalances that can also contribute to depressive symptoms. Your physician will conduct a thorough assessment and examination to identify your own unique condition and health imbalances.

How TCM Can Help with Depression

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the most widely used alternative treatments for depression that has been proven by research to be effective in reducing depressive symptoms.

Acupuncture can help to alleviate depressive symptoms by:

Chinese Herbal Medication

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) have been prescribed for depression for centuries. It has been in shown in clinical trials to match the effectiveness of antidepressants, with much less adverse side effects.

CHM can can help with depressive symptoms by:

TCM physicians would prescribe specific herbal formulas (combination of multiple herbs) tailored to each patient’s symptoms and patterns of imbalances.

How Psychotherapy Can Help with Depression

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

The premise of CBT is that the way we think has a direct impact on how we feel and behave, and vice versa. Depression generally makes people think and react more negatively, which contributes to the depressed mood. 

CBT helps individuals to identify and change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours to more realistic, helpful ones. Changing these patterns usually leads to improved mood and coping.

Behavioural Activation

When experiencing the symptoms of depression; such as low mood, lack of energy and motivation; a natural tendency is to become less active, neglect daily responsibilities, or reduce going out or engagement in activities (e.g. exercising). 

However, such responses actually worsen depressive symptoms such as lethargy and low mood. Guilt and other consequences also tend to accumulate from missed responsibilities.

Behavioural activation is a therapeutic approach to reverse this common cycle of depression. By taking gradual steps to engage in more rewarding and meaningful activities, mood, energy levels and other symptoms of depression can begin to improve.

Meet our Psychologist

Lead Clinical Psychologist

Dr Jaswyn Chin

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical), James Cook University Singapore

Bachelors of Art in Psychology, Murdoch University Australia

Registered Psychologist with Singapore Psychological Society (SPS)

View profile

Dr. Jaswyn is a registered clinical psychologist with over 10 years of experience.  She has extensive experience providing intervention for various  a wide range of mental health issues from anxiety, depression, grief, insomnia, OCD, personality disorders, stress management to trauma. 

Dr Jaswyn adopts a person-centred approach to therapy where she believes in working collaboratively with individuals through the process of recovery. She is also trained in multiple therapeutic modalities including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and eye movement desensitisation reprocessing therapy (EMDR).

During her free time, Jaswyn enjoys music and plays the piano. She is also a keen learner of new languages and loves to travel.

Price

TCM Services​

To engage our TCM services only, please refer to our Charges page.  As a general guide, a typical TCM session would include a consultation + a choice of one treatment (patients can choose more than one treatment in some cases). 

TCM x PSYCH Trial Bundle

  • Prices are exclusive of GST.
  • Only applicable for first-timers to the programme.
  • To enjoy this trial price, please notify our clinic that you are coming for a trial session upon registration. Otherwise regular pricing will apply.   
  • If acupuncture treatment is chosen as part of the package, additional charges would apply to herbal medication prescription or other additional treatments.
  • Note that more than one TCM/Psychologist session is usually needed to adequately resolve the presenting issue (see FAQ). A-la carte pricing for TCM & Psychologist would apply for subsequent sessions. 
  • Discounted credit packages are available in-clinic. Consult with your physician to find one that suits your needs.

For questions about the programme, please contact psychologist@pulsegroup.health or 9831 9912 (Whatsapp)

Embark on a path of physical and mental well-being.

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    Psychology services are only available at PULSE @ Camden Medical.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Yes, you can choose to consult just a TCM physician or our Psychologist. On the appointment booking form, simply follow the booking process for either clinician rather than selecting the option for both.  

    However, please be aware that we would still highly recommend combining both clinicians for faster symptom relief and the most effective overall results. 

    More complex insomnia that involve psychological and behavioural components (e.g. sleep anxiety, poor sleep habits) may not be fully resolved from TCM treatments alone and can especially benefit from psychotherapy to help make the necessary changes.

    Because our psychologist and TCM physicians are based at separate clinics, this may not be possible. We can try to arrange the sessions on the same day but they will be at different locations.

    To book an appointment, complete the Appointment booking form at the end of this page. Our team will get in touch with you to schedule your appointment with our psychologist and/or a TCM physician at your preferred clinic location.

    As our psychologist and TCM physicians are based in different clinics, your psychotherapy and TCM sessions will be conducted in separate visits. 

    TCM Sessions

    Each standard session consists of a consultation with our TCM physician and an acupuncture treatment (can be substituted with Chinese Herbal Medicine prescription) . Additional treatments or herbal prescriptions may be recommended. (Duration: 45 – 60 mins).

    TCM sessions can be conducted at PULSE TCM clinics islandwide.

    Psychotherapy Sessions

    The psychotherapy sessions (Duration: 60 mins) are conducted at PULSE Allied Health clinic at Camden Medical Centre (by Orchard Blvd MRT), where our psychologist is based. 

    The number of sessions needed would vary person-to-person as it depends on many factors;  from the severity of the presenting condition to external factors that can also affect the condition (e.g. lifestyle, stress level, etc). 

    Below is a general guide. Note that some people may need less or more.

    TCM

    • 5-10 sessions
    • Once weekly (twice for serious conditions)

    Psychologist

    • 4-8 sessions
    • Once weekly, fornightly at later stages

    In general, patients with simple, mild conditions would require less frequent and fewer sessions. Those with more complex conditions with additional contributing factors (e.g. a highly stressful job or lifestyle, psychological factors) will require more frequent visits and a longer duration of treatment.

    TCM physicians and psychologists commonly see patients with comorbid conditions. They would be able to tailor the treatment accordingly. Our psychologist can also additionally help non-mental health issues such as relationship and self-esteem issues.

    Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, and most patients do not find acupuncture to be painful. Many actually find the process calming or it is common to fall asleep during treatment.

    However, if you still do not wish to undergo acupuncture simply inform your physician. He or she will use other TCM treatments instead such as Chinese Herbal Medication; which is just as effective; or cupping therapy and moxibustion

    Acupuncture and CHM have often been used in conjunction with prescription sleeping pills and psychiatric medications (antidepressants, anxiolytics). For CHM, it is recommended to be taken two hours apart from other medications. However, do also check first with your prescribing physician on this. 

    Please note that our programme is more suitable for mild to moderate levels of depression, and may not be suitable for such crisis situations.  Where more urgent intervention is needed, please call the Institute Mental Health Helpline at 6389 2222 to get more information. 

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