Alumni Spotlight - Sam Kuna

Sam Kuna graduated from MBBS and returned to Singapore in 1996. Since that time, he has established himself as a family therapist and addictions counselor and is currently the dean of the School of Counseling at TCA College in Singapore (tca.edu.sg). He has had an increasing desire to move into training and equipping since 2005, but did not expect to be involved with a post-graduate program in a Bible college. He leads the faculty with joy, as they are making a ground-breaking impact on the practice of counseling within the professional as well as the Christian community.

In addition to his role as dean, Sam serves as part of the Executive Committee of the Singapore Association for Counseling, which establishes training and practice benchmarks for international universities offering post-graduate training in counseling in Singapore as well as maintaining a registry of counseling practitioners in Singapore (sac-counsel.org.sg). He also sits on the board of the Asia Pacific Certification Board, which conducts training and certification examinations for substance and gambling addiction.

Sam recently completed a certificate in expressive therapy, specializing in sandplay therapy. He is finding great joy in working with young clients again. The current areas of his training specializations are core clinical skills, clinical supervision, counseling children, professional ethics and appraisal and assessments. His most recent workshop presentation was “Enhancing Outcomes of Psychotherapy in Multicultural Singapore,” which included a review of two research papers on psychotherapists and counselors in Singapore. He is excited about the development and progress of the counseling practice in Singapore and looks forward to greater competency and professionalism among all practitioners in the near future.

Outside of work, Sam enjoys spending time with his lovely wife of 33 years, Cheng, and their adult daughter, Christal Joy, who is a drum educator. “She is an amazing artist!” he states. “It is such a joy to watch my wife and I go through the developmental transitions of mid-life and now enjoy the ‘fruits of our labour’ in the many changed lives that we have had the privilege of knowing and touching.” The Kuna’s impact on lives comes largely through the work of Teen Challenge, which Sam headed for 21 years, and since 2009 through TCA College. They especially enjoy seeing the young people who have grown up and started families of their own, and the students who are beginning to excel in their practice as counselors, some who have taken on private practice.

Sam’s current hobby is distance running, which he does about three times weekly and he is thankful for the privilege of completing a marathon in 2009. He doesn’t cover that distance anymore but averages about 10-15 km each week. He still enjoys playing the piano at home and singing the “good ole’ church hymns and choruses!” He also finds time to volunteer as a prison counselor with Teen Challenge and serve as a trainer for marriage preparation in his home church twice a year. Each training course is over six weekends with about 35-40 couples. These couples who get married annually in his church keep their pastors busy all year round.

Sam would like to hear from his friends. Contact Valerie Elwell, MFT program assistant, for his email and telephone number.