TAC workshop TAC workshop


5th-6th Taiwan Mental-Spiritual Disorder Workshop


The workshop will introduce the TAC(Trinity Archetypal Counseling) thechnique to deal with several common psychiatric-mental disorders.

TAC is proved to be very efficient in treating these kinds of patients and the results have been published in Taiwan. TAC is a member of Taiwanese Society of Suicidology, and has more than 10 posters in International Association for Suicide Prevention Annual Congresses in the past years. Cases included major depressions, panic disorders, borderline personality.

Email: c3.f4@msa.hinet.net

Phone: 886-2-8661-6002

East Asian Pastoral Counseling


PhD, Theology and Personality Siroj Sorajjakool

School of Religion, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, USA

    East Asia is one of the most populated regions in the world with 1.5 billion people, approximately 133 people per square kilometer or 22% of all the people in the world. It has a history that reaches back thousand of years containing narratives of people surviving trauma after trauma drawing on available resources from rich cultural and religious heritages such as Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Ancestor Worship. While there are multiple worldviews that guide social relations, most have their roots in Chinese traditions. East Asia has also witnessed a drastic economic growth and permeating force of Western culture and ideology that changes family structure, social patterns, and the way of living. It is within this context that pastoral counseling in East Asia has to negotiate and find its place among the complexity of psychosocial, religious, philosophical, economic, and political world of East Asia.


  Prior to the People’s Revolution in China, Western psychotherapy, particularly psychoanalysis, had already entered the world of the Chinese people through the work of German psychologists. With time, through academic institutions, other therapeutic theories such as cognitive/behavioral, humanistic, and existential psychotherapies became more prominent in China. While these theories were present, the growth of counseling did not start until around 2002-2003. Like many countries in the region, China went through a major transitional period relating to economic growth, stress of unemployment, migration, etc. China realized the enormous negative impact these stressors had on their society and hence the government initiated a very basic training program in mental health with different levels of certifications. It was an attempt at mitigating mental health issues. Christians were not immune to this epidemic of social stresses especially in view of the tremendous Christian growth in the country. It was around this period as well that the church began to recognize the importance of addressing the issue of mental health among its members. Because most Christians sought professional help from Christians with clinical skill, the need for professional training in pastoral counseling became immediate. It was around this period that Professor Xuefu Wang, after graduating from Andover-Newton Theological Seminary in the field of pastoral counseling, returned to China and upon an invitation from Professor K. H. Ting, who at the time served as president ofNanjing Theological Seminary, taught pastoral care and counseling and psychology and religion. In 2002 Professor Wang initiated a psychotherapy institute called Zhi Mian Institute of Psychotherapy. This period could be named the official beginning of the profession of pastoral counseling in China. Around this same period Professor Wang became acquainted with Professor Alvin Dueck of Fuller Theological Seminary. Through numerous trips and support from Professor Dueck, many trainings sessions were conducted for the benefits of pastors, seminary professors including professors in secular universities. These visits of Professor Dueck helped to strengthen the work of Zhi Mian Institute of Psychotherapy.

   After years of working with Chinese people dealing with psychological issues, Professor Wang came to the realization that psychotherapy, for it to be effective among Chinese people, needed to be baptized into Chinese culture and as an outcome came the concept of Zhi Mian. The need is to make use of local concepts and resources while maintaining original sources such as existential psychotherapy. Zhi Mian is a dialogue between local resources such as the work of controversial contemporary Chinese philosopher Lu Xon, Chinese medicine, Chinese folk stories, and other philosophers such as Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu and at the same time the work of Frankl, May, Yalom, Tillich, Bugental, Schneider, Nietzche, Heidegger, and Kierkegaard. Zhi Mian aims at helping people findauthenticity by raising awareness of the self and learning to confront reality. It helps clients to find courage to face life as it comes and generate a sense of meaning for themselves.

    Zhi Mian Institute of Psychotherapy has offered training to thousands of Christians and non-Christians in China through a designed curriculum. The curriculum is called the Extended Counseling Program with curriculum addressing topics such as introduction to counseling, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, techniques for interviews, hotline counseling, group counseling, parenting, social adaptation, indigenous adaptation to Chinese psychological context, and counseling practicum.

     Currently there are many Christian counseling centers in China that offer good psychotherapy and provide some form of clinical training. Many of these counselors are trained overseas such as the US, Hong Kong, or Singapore.  Most seminaries offer a course in pastoral counseling while some designed a curriculum for pastoral counseling. However there has not been a formalized way to provide clinical training for students. Some pastors seek training from the government’s basic training program. There is no formalized training in pastoral counseling in China at this point although the Chinese Christian Counseling Club is working on forming a network of pastoral counselors. The Zhi Mian Institute of Psychotherapy has also initiated an Association of Chinese Pastoral Counselors as a place of conversation and dissemination of information relating to the field of pastoral counseling.


Hong Kong

    Like many countries in the region, Hong Kong experienced rapid growth economically and this rapid change has altered traditional practices, culture, life-style, and ways of living thus increasing pressure for performance and restructuring relationship impacting mental status of the people of Hong Kong. Unlike the development of the discipline in main land China, the training in the field of pastoral counseling started much earlier Hong Kong. In the early 70s David McCormick, recognizing the growing prevalence of mental health issue in Hong Kong and the need to educate young pastors to be more informed in order to provide better care, started teaching pastoral care and counseling. In 1987 after receiving further training, he started supervision for clinical training in the hospital setting offering CPE to chaplains in training. Since then the field of pastoral counseling has expanded with many trained professionals and academia in the field both from oversea and those receiving training in local universities and seminaries. Professor Simon Shui-man Kwan who is also a member of American Association of Pastoral Counselors, has been teaching pastoral counseling and practical theology at Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong from the late 90s with areas of research on topics dealing with post-colonial theology and hope-based approach to pastoral counseling. There are many seminaries teaching undergraduate and graduate degrees in pastoral counseling such as Bethel seminary, China Graduate School, Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary, and Alliance Seminary. There are seminaries that provide both academic and clinical training while others offer academic program only. There is no accrediting body in Hong Kong in the field of pastoral counseling that articulates standard of practices and stipulates requirements and hence a variety of requirements in the practice of pastoral counseling with different level of intensity in training both academic and clinical are present. There are many counseling centers with Christian counselors practicing in these centers.


    Although the field of counseling is still in its early stage in Taiwan with not much restriction in terms of the requirements for practicing pastoral counseling, the training itself started in the 70s with a missionary by the name Dr. Ted Cole who taught a course in pastoral counseling in Tainan while he was working in that region. His objective was to offer pastoral counseling skills to pastors. After his return to the US, nothing much was happening relating to the field of pastoral counseling until Dr. Tai Chun-nan returned from the US in the 90s after receiving extensive training in the field. Dr. Tai started teaching at Tainan Theological College and Seminary and soon after initiated a master degree in pastoral counseling under the umbrella of Asia Graduate School of Theology. In 1999 he established the Methodist Graduate School of Theology and served as its chancellor. The Methodist Graduate School of Theology offers master degree as well as a ThD in pastoral counseling. Core courses consist of courses such as basic counseling skills, basic counseling psychology, family cycle, developmental psychology, family pathology, research method, psychological assessment, counseling ethics, Biblical counseling, premarital counseling, New Testament and Old Testament, juvenal counseling, spiritual formation, crisis counseling, integration between theology and psychology, psychopharmacology, grief counseling or hospice counseling. In order to gain more recognition for the field of pastoral counseling, the Graduate School sought accreditation with Asia Theological Association.  In 2004 Dr. Tai formed the Taiwan Association of Pastoral Counselors that was recognized by the Department of Internal Affairs. Hence, an accreditation with a recognized accrediting body was essential in moving the field of pastoral counseling forward.

    In 2004 Dr. Tai formed the Taiwan Association of Pastoral Counselors. The objectives of the association are to provide certification for those wishing to practice pastoral counseling and to provide training including clinical supervision. A few years later Dr. Eileen Yulin Lin, a licensed orthodontist who received a doctorate (ThD) in pastoral counseling from Methodist Graduate School of Theology, became chairperson of Taiwan Association of Pastoral Counselors.

     There are three levels of membership: associate member, member and pastoral counselor. To be a certified pastoral counselor requires a masters or a doctoral degree in pastoral counseling, passing an examination designed by the association, accumulating 150 client-hours and pass and a case presentation. The process of certification was initiated in 2009. Currently there are 200 members with approximately 20-30 pastoral counselors. Although the association is encouraging certification, not all pastoral counselors in Taiwan are certified. At current, there are approximately 100 pastoral counselors providing care on a part-time basis.

     It is not uncommon to find pastoral counselors using theories such as psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focus brief therapy, gestalt therapy, and existential therapy. There are pastoral counselors who formulate their theories in order to speak more meaningfully to the local context. One such approach is Archetypal Trinity formulated by Dr. Lin to address the feeling of shame often experience by clients. The theory and practice of this approached is published in the book “Finding True Self in the Bible: Understanding Archetypal Pastoral Guidance: Realizing God’s Unique Blueprint.” Archetypal Trinity affirms clients where they are and helps them see value in themselves even in the midst of mental illness itself. This theory promotes the belief that who they are is a gift from God even if they may be in anxiety or depression. Good and evil are often constructed by the society and it is not how God sees his people. God values them where they are and the way forward is to recognize and learn to regulate issues they are facing instead of pathologizing them. This is a radical approach within the context of Confucian value system.

    In Taiwan, due to the small Christian population, pastoral counselors provide treatment for clients from every religious backgrounds. Pastoral counselors also get referrals from other counseling centers and medical professionals. While there are limited personnel resources because it is a new field, there is a great potential for growth for pastoral counseling in Taiwan.


     The history of pastoral counseling in Korea can be divided into three periods: the Era of Birth: Introduction and Translation Period (1950-1975), Era of Growth: Specialization Period (1980-1999), and the Era of Identity: Competition and Autonomy Period (2000-present).

      The Era of Birth. The discipline of pastoral counseling in Korea was initiated during the Korean War. The need for soul care due to deep wounds caused by the war was a fertile soil for the seed of pastoral counseling. It was around this period that Rev. Hwan Shin Lee, who just returned from graduate study in the United States, taught the first pastoral counseling course at Yonsei University. The concept of pastoral counseling was also introduced through translations of some major works in the field into Korean language such as Carroll Wise’s Pastoral Counseling: It’s Theory and Practice; Paul Johnson’sPsychology of Pastoral Care, Seward Hiltner’s Preface to Pastoral Theology and Carl Roger’s Counseling and Psychotherapy. These books played a formative role in introducing the field of pastoral counseling to the church and the society. In the late 70s Clinebell’sBasic Types of Pastoral Counseling helped to raised interest for the field of pastoral counseling in Korea. Two books on pastoral counseling within Korean context were published: Principles of Pastoral Counseling by Euyong Hwang (1970) and Introduction to Pastoral Counseling by Peter Van Lierop (1978) who was serving as professor of Yonsei University. Professor Lierop also initiated a counseling center at Yonsei University and offered the first Clinical Pastoral Education program at Severance Hospital of Yonsei University. However even with translations of major work in pastoral counseling, the field itself did not flourish during this period because the church was more focused on church growth then care of soul and there was a lack of individuals professionally trained in the field during this period.

     The Era of Growth. In 1982, The Korean Association of Pastoral Counselors (KAPC) was organized with the primary role of dealing with what it means to be professional pastoral counselors and the development of areas of specialization. To deal with these two issues the association issues and maintains licenses for practitioners. Obtaining licenses in pastoral/Christian counseling participants need to pass an exam, a graduate degree in pastoral counseling or related area and clinical training. The association also hosts monthly clinical seminar and annual academic conference. In 1997, The Korean Society for Pastoral Care and Counseling was formed and along with the formation of the society comes bi-annual academic journal, Ministry and Counseling. There are other organizations as well that seek to promote Christian counseling such as Korean Association of Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy(1999), Korean Evangelical Counseling Society (2000) and The Korean Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (2001).

    The Era of Identity. This is the era of rapid growth and changes with many Korean scholars returning from the United States with doctorate in the field of pastoral counseling. Many seminaries and religious departments started hiring full-time professors in pastoral counseling and producing many graduates with professional training in the discipline. Many counseling centers were founded and numerous seminaries created their own counseling centers. The rapid growth in the field happened to coincide with changes in Korean society as well. Korean society was experiencing changes as a result of development. Economic changes affect society structure and cultural values where competition has become a new norm and this norm de-stabilized traditional family. In relation to economic change, the concept of “self” in Korean society has been altered by industrialization as well. Industrialization has replaced the communal self with individual/autonomous self thus creates further alienation within the community. It is within this context that the care for soul took on a significant role within Korean society.

    Many Korean scholars recognized the need to rediscover their Korean roots and certain Korean concepts were explored in relation to the field of pastoral counseling such as the concept of han as a more relevant concept for pastoral counseling instead of sin while others looked at the concept of jeong or shame. During this period pastoral counseling became the most competitive academic major entering graduate schools in Korea.

      While the practice of pastoral counseling in Korea started in the 70s, the proliferation of counseling centers takes place in the late 90s and onward. The first Christian counseling center to be established in Korea was Growth Counseling Center established in the 80s by Dr. Jong Hun Lee. There are approximately 50 counseling centers approved by the Korean Association of Pastoral Counselors. However there are more counseling centers in operation that have not received approval by the Association. There are three basic types of counseling centers: academic based centers, independent centers and church-related centers. Most centers focus their effort on education and training.


    In 1952 Carl Roger did a lecture tour of Japan and out of this visit came increasing interest in school and guidance counseling. W. P. Browning initiated pastoral counseling in Japan, an American missionary in 1953 with courses being taught at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary. The field expanded in the 50s and the 60s with Japanese pastors who received training in pastoral counseling returning to Japan. However, the term pastoral counseling only became more widely used after a visit by Paul E. Johnson who gave instruction to 60 pastors at Kyoto Baptist Hospital in 1964. In 1963 the Japan Institute of Pastoral Counseling was organized and began publishing translations of books by Wayne Oates, Seward Halter, and Howard Clinebell. During this period humanistic psychology and client-centered approaches were popularized. This individualistic focus could perhaps be the result of post-war’s struggle to find personal identity. Existentialism and the writings of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre were a part of the quest for personal meaning in life. The other reason for the popularization of individualistic approach was the teaching of Zen Buddhism whereby the quest is that moment of enlightenment that transcends space-time history.

     In the 1980s, Kwansai Pastoral Counseling Center in Kobe, Growth Counseling Center in Tokyo, and Christian Counseling Center were in operation. In 1984 the Second Asian Conference on Pastoral Care and Counseling was held in Tokyo with Clinebell in attendance. Out of this conference the Pastoral Care and Counseling Association of Japan was organized with the aim of greater inclusiveness. There are seminaries offering graduate degrees in pastoral counseling. While the Christian population in Japan remains small (less than 1%), there are many Japanese Christians who practice counseling and who bring their spiritual knowledge into their interaction with clients without mentioning faith in their conversations.

    This expansion of counseling practices is connected to the mental health status of Japanese within this industrialized society. According to a study in 2008 by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor, 24% of Japanese people suffer some form of mental health issue. The report further states that one in five adult Japanese contemplates suicide while the actual suicide rate is 51 per 100,000 which is twice as high as the US rate. While the government recognizes the seriousness of this issue, the accessibility is still limited. Most Japanese still visit hospitals when experiencing emotional distress for diagnosis and medication. This situation in Japanese society reflects the growing need among Christian and pastoral counselors to address this increasing needs in ways that is adaptive to Japanese cultural and religious context.

See also: Archetype, Biblical psychotherapy, Buddhism, Confucianism, Guan Yin, I Ching,Migration and religion, Om, Shinto, Zen


Clinebell, H. (1984). Basic types of pastoral counseling: Resources for the ministry of healing and growth. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Hiltner, S. (1958). Preface to pastoral theology: The ministry and theory of shepherding. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Hwang, E. (1970). Preface to pastoral counseling. Seoul, South Korea: Saengmyungmalsum.

Johnson, P. (1953). Psychology of pastoral care. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Nakamura, A. K. (2001). Towards a new paradigm of pastoral theology in the social context of Japan (Master's thesis, Durham University). Retrieved fromhttp://etheses.dur.ac.uk/3857/

Nishigaki, T. (2005). East Asian pastoral care movement. In R. J. Hunter (Ed.), Dictionary of pastoral care and counseling. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

 Priestley, I. (2009, March 23). New documentary explores taboo subject of mental illness in Japan. Arts & Culture. Retrieved fromhttp://www.japantoday.com/category/arts-culture/view/new-documentary-explores-taboo-subject-of-mental-illness-in-japan

 Roger, C. (1942). Counseling and psychotherapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

 Soh, W. S. (2011, October 21-22). A history and tasks of pastoral care and counseling in Korea. Keynote Lecture at the 40th Annual Conference of Korea Association of Christian Studies.

Van Lierop, P. (1978). Introduction to pastoral counseling. Seoul, South Korea: Deahan Kidokseohoe.

Wise, C. (1951). Pastoral counseling: It’s theory and practice. New York: Harper.

You, Y. G. (2011). History and future of Korean pastoral counseling. Sacred Spaces: The e-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counseling, 3. Retrieved from http://www.aapc.org/media/76028/youyounggweonfinal.pdf


Chang, J. C. (2012, August). Taipei, Taiwan.

Chung, P. C. (2012). 

Dueck, A. (2012, May). Pasadena, CA.

Lin, E. Y. (2012, August). Taipei, Taiwan.

Lo, V. W. (2012, August). Hong Kong, China.

McCormick, D. (2012, June). 

Takahashi, M. H. (2012, August). [email].Wang, X. (2012, July). Nanjing, China.