by Joana Costa, Intern at USJ's ICO
What do you currently do?
I am currently coordinating the Aftercare Department of
an NGO, ARTM – Association of Rehabilitation of Drug
Abusers of Macau. In this department, we work towards
the rehabilitation and social reintegration of ex-drug
users. We have several activities throughout the year,
like methadone meetings, counselling group meetings,
individual counselling, professional learning courses
and family counselling, amongst others.
What made you choose psychology?
My number one reason to choose psychology was the
fact that I have always wanted to help other people, so
psychology was always my first option for a career. But
on my first year of college, the more I got to know the
“real” psychology, the more I fell in love with it.
Throughout my working experience, I have learned that
helping others is not something you can always do, it
depends greatly on the person in need’s willingness to
get help, so this is a field where you also need to deal
with your own feelings, especially frustration, because
sometimes all your effort, which usually is huge, is not
enough. But that is also what makes it worthwhile. You
need to know that you cannot save the world – as I
imagined I would – but the fact that you can help
someone, it makes your day and that person’s day
better. I love challenges and being able to challenge
myself every day; and that is what psychology offers me,
because every day you see different people, you deal
with different issues, you turn someone’s life better and
maybe, who knows, you can help save a life!
How did you get to where you are now? Can you please
tell us more about your studies and work experience.
I went to college in Portugal, in ISPA - a well-known
Portuguese Psychology University. There I did a three-
year Bachelor’s degree in General Psychology, and then
had to study for two more years to be a Master in
Clinical Psychology. During my last year as a student, I
had a one-year internship at a Portuguese NGO, APAV –
Portuguese Association for Victim Support, and I mainly
worked with domestic violence victims. It was my first
real work experience, and I felt fascinated! My dream
was coming true.