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China on the Couch: Psychologists Struggle To Meet Demand (3)

Posted by Author on September 18, 2006

Radio Free Asia, 2006.09.14, Hong Kong- (cont’d)

Changing attitudes

“Another type is the older junior high school students and the high school students. They are mostly concerned about relationships with their peers, and by that age there are some love issues there too. And the third type are mature adults concerned about relationships in the workplace.”

Zhang, 28, is a medical doctor trained in Western medicine. He works at the Jingshi Huixin Psychological Clinic in Beijing. He told RFA that he was able to establish a rapport with the many young people who came to him as clients at the center because he was quite close in age to them.

Zhang said older people tended still to be quite suspicious of counselling, while younger people were happy to attend the clinic.

“Mostly we don’t refer to people as patients, but as guests or clients. People are worried that if they are regarded as patients, then other people will think there is something wrong with them,” he told reporter Bai Fan.

“Many people think that to undergo psychological difficulties is the same as being ill. But things are getting much better in this regard. More and more people are gaining an understanding of counselling, and are beginning to understand that this isn’t a disease. Most of our clients are able to seek help of their own accord nowadays, and that’s a big improvement. ”

In the West, a psychological counsellor must undergo many years of training. But in China there are a lot of very young people coming into the profession. (to be caont’d…)

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