It was a regular evening, I was jogging in a park. This was some time between 2011 and 2012. I was praying and seeking direction for the next chapter of my life.
The word SPACE popped into my mind.
I was exhilarated! I didn’t really know what it meant then. I knew I needed space in my life, to do something different than what I was doing before… I just didn’t know what I should be doing then.
I created a blog called “Space Out”. But soon after, I forgot about it, as I got busier with different work engagements between KL and Seremban.
The word SPACE didn’t show up again until 2015. Again I was seeking direction in my life. More challenges were surfacing from the workplace that I was in at the time, making it more uncomfortable for me to see my clients there. I realized then that it was probably time for me to go and set up my own place. Between January to July 2015, there was nothing – no suitable place, no suitable offer. At the peak of my frustration (and desperation), a named popped into my mind – Dr. Pang! She was a former colleague in the hospital where I worked before, and we had only met or spoke no more than twice in my memory! I had some questions about a hospital as my potential new workplace, and thought maybe she could give me some advice.
When I introduced myself on the phone, Dr. Pang’s first response to me was “Oh, I was looking for you!”. That’s when she told me about a newly renovated space that she has and she’s looking for a tenant. It’s strategically located, and Dr. Pang even graciously offered me her staff for administrative assistance. I went to see the place and it was almost perfect. All these happened in August 2015.
By September, we signed the tenancy agreement, and I registered the business on September 11, 2015. Growing Space was officially born! I invited two people to joined me in this new venture –May Liu and Alicia Ng. They have been my closest comrade since the beginning until now – something that I’m forever grateful for. Together we furnished the place in October, and in November, we saw our first clients! And by end of November, we had our first thanksgiving celebration for the launching of Growing Space – the first comprehensive psychological services in Seremban!
Why the name Growing Space?
The word SPACE was very significant to me, because of my experience in 2011/2012. The next question is, what kind of SPACE do I want to create?
I had less than 2 weeks to make a decision. The word GROWING was among the last that came to me. But as soon as it came, it just “clicked” inside my mind. It fits exactly how I envision this space would be and my philosophy about psychotherapy and life in general.
I couldn’t find the exact words for its Chinese name. In the end, I chose 心苑; 心represents heart or psychology, and 苑means royal garden. Together, 心苑portrays a visual image of how we can tend to our hearts like a royal garden – a growing space with love and dignity.
In August 2018, we expanded our services to Klang valley with the setting up of Growing Space KL in Bukit Jalil. The key person who has made this dream possible is Alicia Ng, who believes in the work of Growing Space and bravely takes up the responsibility of Managing Partner.
Serendipitously, it was just about a year ago before that, Alicia and I were discussing the frustrations that she encountered when renting external places for her assessment work in KL. We dreamed of having our own work space in Klang valley, where we can enjoy more freedom to express our creativity!
I spent the next few months exploring different office spaces, but nothing seems to fit or work out. I began to think that maybe the dream wasn’t meant to happen. And then in July 2018, I stumbled upon an ad about Bukit Jalil Signature Office. I went to visit, and loved it! By impromptu, I decided to call Alicia to check out the place with me a second time, on the same day! Once we both committed to it, things started moving very fast. We signed the tenancy agreement in August and registered the business on August 8, 2018!
Alicia’s dad, Albert Ng, was God-sent to help us with the renovation work, which converted a bare space into the beautiful place that we have now, all within 4 weeks and a very limited budget! We started receiving our first clients in mid-September 2018 and celebrated the launching of Growing Space KL in October.
Today as we celebrate our 5th year for Growing Space Seremban and 2nd year for Growing Space KL, my heart is so grateful especially towards the people who have been part of the journey of Growing Space – staff members who gave their time and care to develop this young organization, our families and friends who have backed us up with their prayers, gifts and guidance, fellow colleagues and partners in the field who referred clients to us, and last but not least, supervisees, interns and clients who chose Growing Space as part of their own journey for growth.
“Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Ephesians 3: 20 (TLB)
Article by Dr. Ng Wai Sheng
Image: Waiting area at Growing Space Psychology Center