Psycho-boom: the rise of psychotherapy in contemporary urban China

Huang, Hsuan-Ying (2013), Psycho-boom: the rise of psychotherapy in contemporary urban China, Harvard university.

Based on twenty months of fieldwork in Beijing and Shanghai, my dissertation intends to examine the psycho-boom, or the distinct cultural and social formation that the rise of Western psychotherapy has taken in the new hosting environment of urban China. I argue that the psycho-boom, while involving a new psychological modality or a new mental health profession, should not be narrowly conceived of as such. Instead, it is more akin to a popular movement that blends the elements of professional training, popular healing, consumer fad, and entrepreneurial pursuit. The networks and activities associated with psychotherapy training have constituted a massive social world in which various interests and aspirations can be pursued and realized. I further argue that experiences, either individual or interpersonal, have been a critical element of being in this social world. Many people learn to appreciate the psychological dimensions of experience through participating in it, turning one’s involvement with psychotherapy a therapeutic journey in its broadest sense. ; Anthropology

Read the thesis on DASH:


Read also the book review  Mette Halskov Hansen (2013). Review of ‘Chinese Modernity and the Individual Psyche’ The China Quarterly, 216, p 1075-1076. DOI:

Cite this blog post
Jacqueline Nivard (2014, January 22). Psycho-boom: the rise of psychotherapy in contemporary urban China. URBACHINA. Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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