By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus-KIU through the Department of Applied Psychology is privileged to have hosted the first Uganda Counseling Association Symposium which took place in the Iddi Basajjabalaba Memorial Library on Friday 28th April 28, 2023.
The symposium ran under the theme; Innovate, Explore, Network, Discover, and the main topic was, Repositioning as a counseling and psychology student.
The Symposium attracted a number of high-profile keynote speakers among whom was Prof.Mouhammad Mpezamihigo, the KIU Vice chancellor who also doubled as the guest of honour.
In his submission, Prof. Mouhammad Mpezamihiga applauded Dr. Faith Nakalema and the Department of Applied Psychology for organizing this event and also requested students to prioritize their needs.
He also raised the point of having so many unprofessional psychologists all over social media and requested for their regulation.
“Please avoid shortcuts in life, even those who take shortcuts must come back to the main road.” He cautioned students.
Ambrose Kibuuka a career expert, coach, author and a KIU board member argued students to make connections from the associations, Churches, Mosques, and other places they go to because life is about who knows you and who you know, he added that’s it’s the social capital we have.
“Make these connections intentionally for those who are still in school, but even for all of us it's not too late,” Kibuuk said.
He also shared the four forms of capital which are: Intellectual, Spiritual, Social, Time, Financial, and Physical Capital.
Dr.Hilda Bahati Sabiti who was tasked to speak on personal branding, marketing, and start-up business for a psychology major urged young professionals and students to find their strength before passion if they want to grow into respectable brands and personalities.
‘’So many people are building brands in wrong careers, wrong passions, wrong talents, a brand can change, you can change to what suits you, find what you can better. What you are passionate about is a foundation for your brand,’’ she said.
You have to think about yourself, choose yourself, take care of yourself in order to nurture anyone else in your life, you cannot give what you do not have,’’ she advised.
She also advised social workers and upcoming counselors to invest in understanding their clients before thinking of ways to help them out.
The other speaker that graced the symposium was NTV Journalist Andrew Kyamagero who is also a mental health expert and a life coach under his own foundation, Omuntu Wawansi Foundation. He advised students and lecturers who want to engage in counseling activities like mental health awareness advocates to equip themselves with adequate knowledge.
‘’The worst case scenario is to be a mental health advocate and treat someone more informed than you. Whatever you do in mental health and elsewhere, you need to be equipped,’’ he said.
‘’The universe will always give you information as and when you are for it, take time seriously, protect and utilize your space,’’ he added.
UCA President Ms Elizabeth Okello says that the 1st UCA Students Symposium 2023 aimed at not leaving out students who could not attend the national conferences and this will not stop at KIU but rather become an annual event.
“My message to students of Counselling and Psychology is, you are not in that space where you are by mistake, you are there because of a purpose, find it and make use of every opportunity to be able to grow yourself within the profession. The more passionate you are the more opportunities you will be able to get.” Ms. Elizabeth says.
Dr. Faith Nakalema the Head of Department, Applied Psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kampala International University appreciated KIU Management for accepting to host the 1st UCA Students Symposium 2023 and appreciated everyone who attended the event.