From Psychotherapy to Psycho-Boom: A Historical Overview of Psychotherapy in China

Hsuan-Ying Huang

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This article provides a historical overview of the development of Western psychotherapy in China based on existing scholarship and my own ethnography. I describe a meandering trajectory embedded in the shifting political, social, and economic circumstances: the tentative beginning in the Republican period, the transmutation and destruction in the Maoist period, the relatively slow recovery and progress in the earlier reform period, and the eruption of the psycho-boom in the new millennium. Emphasis is placed on the reform period that began in the late 1970s, but by incorporating the previous periods I intend to show that the long-term process is highly relevant to the current psycho-boom. I further reveal that the development of psychotherapy in China has involved a dual process both the building of this new profession and the infiltration of related ideas into the broader society and that this duality is particularly evident in the recent psycho-boom. Finally, I discuss the implications of the new Mental Health Law and the preliminary signs that psychotherapy as a profession is taking root in urban China.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPsychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in China
    Editors David E Scharff
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherKarnac Books Ltd
    ISBN (Print)9781782203759
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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