The Heart & Soul of Faith Foo

”The Heart & Soul of Faith Foo”. my recent collaboration with HealthToday Malaysia, Jane-Feb 2023 Edition.

Faith Foo is a familiar name to regular readers of HealthToday, as she has contributed a good number of articles on matters of the heart and life.

We have received much positive feedback on these articles. They are easy to relate to, and the pearls of wisdom found within them resonate with many readers.

Several readers asked us: “Who is Faith Foo?”

Well, we can direct you to her website, but we’re curious about the answer ourselves! Hence, we recently managed to get Faith to talk to us about her journey as both a counselor and author, and how she combines her two callings to find purpose and fulfillment in her life.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is the story of Faith Foo.


In the past few years, Malaysians became very familiar with the concept of lockdown. An unfortunate byproduct of this was that more people found themselves in need of mental health services, especially counselling.

Faith Foo found herself busier than ever.

Our world has changed since the day we hear the word ‘COVID19’. Together we all experienced socially distancing. Some feel lonely, some feel trapped, and our lives become much tougher than it has already been. COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide.

With all the lockdown it wasn’t a way of living which we all have experienced before. We are stuck in the same environment, same house, same room, same table, same chair for months. Carrying daily routine of office work, house work etc.

What we experienced was hard. Being distance from friends, colleagues, family members and also deprivation from travelling being in our favourite café and restaurants and also the luxury to travel.

Today, I believe many of you agree with me that we are all very deeply stressed up. Months of prolonged uncertainty, death, grief, revolution, dislocation, job loss, homeschooling, and loneliness would have been enough to make everyone stressed out and more are needing mental health services.

A Counselor with Many Facets

There are many different nuances and types when it comes to counselling, and Faith Foo Siew Yuen is familiar with quite a few of them.

A qualified, licensed, and registered counselor of [9 years] of experience, Faith has since specialized in working with those experiencing depression, anxiety, relationship issues, divorce, infidelity, stress, traumas, PTSD, anger issues, grief and loss, and more; to help them manage and overcome their issues.

To further assist her clients, she trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), an empirically supported psychological treatment meant for adult acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

She is also trained in provide emotionally focused couples therapy for clients that are experience marital and other relationship issues.

Reflecting on her training and certifications, Faith muses: “[Continuous life-long learning not just helped me improve my skills, update my knowledge. It also gives me some sort of assurance and validation, that I am doing the right thing in sessions.

Signing up for training courses and watching how the master work. It gives me the affirmation that I am doing the right things in sessions.

Continuous learning does act as a check point for my work as a therapist.

“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.” – Doris Lessing.

To be a effective therapist one must able to reflect, self aware, and do our own work. So we can understand ourselves better. Examples: what will trigger us, it is counter transferring that happening in sessions, etc.

Carl Jung once wrote, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ]”

Burned Out, but Rise Again

Faith found her calling as a counselor as she put her life back together after a struggle with work burnout and depression.

“Years ago, I was suffering from work burnout and depression,” she shares. “That lead me to see a counselor.”

It was a rough start, as the first two counselors that she hired were not fully trained. Her sessions with them led to her actually feeling worse about her life!

Third time is the charm, they say, and this proved true for Faith when the third counselor she went to was not just fully trained; the counselor helped her find a road for her to take her life’s journey to a better destination.

The experience was an eye-opener, and Faith—inspired by the counselor—experienced an epiphany: she wants to help others from similar situations as her own. Just as her counselor helped her find a way out of the dark into new beginnings and new opportunities, she wants to help others do the same.

“Since then, I started to learn about psychology, about human psyche,” Faith says. Her exploration into these areas only further strengthened her interest in counseling.

Faith has been a counselor for many years now, and a proud milestone of her career was ABRI Integrated Mental Health, a mental health service provider nestled in a cozy corner of Phileo Damansara.

Formed by a like-minded and passionate group of mental health clinicians, the centre offers an array of services ranging from counseling to assessments.

Faith, as one of the directors of the centre, is often busy with both helping her clients and looking into the administrative side of keeping the centre up and running in good shape.

In 2022, she embarked on another new milestone: she launched her own coaching business. For now, she would take on new clients that were referred to her by people that she trusted.

“I am very excited about this new business venture,” she says, as this is an opportunity for her to help leaders and entrepreneurs that are experiencing various challenging states of transition in their businesses and their lives.

It’s quite amazing, therefore, that she also finds time to write!


Why Does a Writer Write?

To ask why a writer puts down their words on paper (both literal and metaphorical) is akin to asking how a human being knows when to keep breathing.

It’s instinct. A writer crystallizes their thoughts into words to express themselves. It’s the same for Faith.

“I write for myself first and foremost,” Faith says. “I began writing to journal down my thoughts, how I feel, how I experience a situation. and my inner dialogues with myself.”

She shares that her first printed book The 3 S’elves is actually an adaptation of her own journal entries from 2006.

“I was going through a confusing and challenging time of transition during that year,” Faith recalls. “In order to try and make sense of what was going on in my life, I wrote in my journal all the inner dialogues I had with myself—the advice, the arguments, the counter-arguments—and what I wrote eventually manifested into the personalities of Old Self, Mid Self, and New Self, the characters of that book. That’s how this book came about!”

Explaining Life through Parables

Faith loves to express the many ups and downs of life through parables.

“I love to journal in the form of parable, to make myself understand my own inner struggles and other life experiences,” she muses.

She also applies this approach when it comes to helping others in need of direction and advice.

The 3 S’elves was born from Faith’s intention to help her clients understand the concept of change and self. “The book was written in a way that the reader can easily understand and relate to. Instead of getting all theoretical, I prefer to tell a story, because people can relate to them better,” she elaborates.

WHO ARE THE 3 S’ELVES IN FAITH’S BOOK? Mid S’elf tries to be someone that she is not. She suppresses her true self and ends up feeling upset and lonely. As a child, Old S’Elf was moulded by her parents and society to fit in. Eventually, she develops beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that keep her acting in the ways she was taught to, but not in the ways that make her appreciate her authentic self. New S’Elf dares to stay true to what she believes in and is brave enough to express her genuine feelings and opinions.

Faith’s second book I Love You, I Hate You. What’s wrong with us? is more practical and theory based.

“I wrote it for my couple clients,” she explains. “It’s a very short book for them to read, learn and practice some of the advice given in the book.”

Inspirations and Aspirations

Writing can be a solitary endeavour, but it is not without its share of inspirations. Faith is inspired to write by other authors.

“Oh yes, author like Anne Lamott!” Faith says with a chuckle. “I loved how she write, her honesty when it comes to her thoughts, and her inner world. When I first read her book, Traveling Mercies, I said I want to write like her.”

The 3 S’elves is partly inspired by Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece. Faith shares that the book really inspired her to write picture story book that can be so simple and yet so very deep. “A simple book that raises a number of questions about happiness, independence, and the value of the journey over the destination.”

Her recent favourite author is James R Doty. Faith can’t speak highly enough of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart.

“How he used the story of magic shop experience and relate to such difficult topic of neuroscience. I was truly inspired how he can put memoir, science, inspiration, and practical instruction all in a single book,” she gushes. “This is really something I inspire to do if I want to write another book!”

What can we expect to see from Faith Foo, author, in the coming future?

With a laugh, she says, “A more relatable, down to earth person as I age. Becoming more and more simple, relatable, down to earth, so that people can read my words and and say ‘Yes, this is how I feel!’ and ‘Yes, I can apply this!’”

As a counselor, Faith can only reach out to so many people. Hence, she hopes that, with her books and short stories, she can reach out to even more people—to inspire them to change, grow, or do whatever else that is necessary to live out their best lives and achieve their dreams.

To the future me,

 (80’s or 90’s), I am so proud of you and the person you become. You are an inspiration to many. You have made a lot of lasting good memories. You kept growing and become better person each day. So happy, another dream of you came through that you sold your art painting as a painter. Even as this age!

I know you still have much to learn, and I hope each new adventure along this journey of life reminds you of how important it is to honor your faith, always try your hardest, and do the right thing even when no one else is watching. You have an endless capacity for wisdom and compassion. Trust your gut because it had never led you astray.

To my dear readers, because of you cheering me all this times. I was able to continue to challenge myself to aspire and inspire.   

To all my clients, the way you are today is just one stage of your journey. It is not how you will always be. You are not how you will appear. Tomorrow you will be someone different from today. Your future you await you. Cheering you to run towards him/her and embrace him/her.

In addition to providing professional counselling, Faith Foo is also an author of motivational books for both adults and children. She weaves her advice through relatable anecdotes, parallels to real life, and metaphors as well as allegories both amusing and poignant. Scan the QR code or visit www.faithfoocounseling. com to find out more.