Body-language and nonverbal communication

More relevant factors of psychotherapy in China

More relevant factors of psychotherapy in China

Family (fealty) and the one-child policy: Family has always been strong in China and from an early age, family loyalty is seen as crucial to survival in the future, as one generation relies on the next for support in old age or infirmity. The one-child policy has dramatically affected the Chinese people’s experience and the lives of families. Under the one-child policy there comes an increased insecurity amongst the elderly and the young alike. Parents put enormous pressure on this one child from an early age to conform to educational expectations, moral responsibility, and the work ethic. In the past, maybe five or six children would have shared the burden, but today that is no longer true; single children feel the increasing need to make a success of life in order to care for their parents later. Cousins become brothers and sisters, which is an adaptive social support, but they cannot share the parental burden as each has their own.

The one-child rule is not rigid: one can have more than one child, but the state only recognises the first child as the recipient of state benefits and schooling freedom. Additional children become a financial burden to the parents. Girls are not appreciated in the family in the same way ………………boys are. Although both genders tend to be over-indulged and spoiled in youth, the boys are definitely given more leeway and mothers’ dotage. In the past, boys were favoured over girls, and if a baby girl was suspected in the first pregnancy, it was often aborted or self-aborted under pressure by the family.

There are many issues that lead to the one-child policy that may seem quite unfamiliar to the Western point of view: over-population, not enough food, overcrowding in the city and lack of services in rural areas, shrinking agriculture and streamlining of production—all leading to massive unemployment and in some cases starvation and poverty. While the West may talk of the legitimate role and value of human rights—the right to choose to give birth or not—practical survival overrides this consideration in the minds of most Chinese people.

The impact of the one-child policy is yet to be known in terms of the psychology of these children, as well as the impact on society and families as a whole

The impact of the one-child policy is yet to be known in terms of the psychology of these children, as well as the impact on society and families as a whole, but it is something that is on the minds of psychologists, the people and the policy decisions of government leaders.

Clash of cultures: In modern Chinese cities it seems as if there is a KFC, McDonalds, or another mass-market fast food outlet on every city block. These fast food restaurants take away the traditional diet of high vegetable and low meat consumption. In return, the young are now enticed to a high-fat, high-sugar, and unhealthy but trendy diet of rubbish food. You can already see the problems of anorexia and obesity in children. The increase in cars and traffic in China is explosive and driving at high speeds is common with resultant high accident rates. The intensity and rate of change is so fast with the growth of the economy, population movement from the rural areas to cities, changes in family size and value systems, making it all quite stressful to keep up with and adjust to the changes.

Education: The educational system in China is very different from that in the West. It is based on memory learning and a strict examination system with little room for failure. Chinese schools manufacture the right qualities for the work place in conformity and strict adherence to authority figures. The system does not teach critical thinking, so wealthy Chinese often groom their one child to go to an overseas University to obtain a broader education, if they can afford it. The benefits of the Chinese educational system, including discipline and basic skills, are evident, but the pressures also impact the emotional well-being of the people.

Suicide: There are 25 suicides per every 100,000 people in China each year, compared with 15 per 100,000 globally. According to the Chinese Ministry of Health the leading cause of death amongst people ages 15 to 34 is suicide, which costs the country at least $3.5 billion a year and is second only to the US. A recent report by the Ministry on the nation’s biggest killers listed suicide just after road mishaps.

Language issues: One Chinese woman inquired with me about how I could understand the Chinese psyche when I had no knowledge of the subtlety and non-verbal behaviour that accompanies the Chinese language and peculiarities of expression. I had to agree that this limits my understanding in some respects, which I attempt to fill in by asking more questions of the locals. Yet, as an outsider, I can report my experiences and observations, while people inside the culture give theirs; each view has its own intrinsic and unique value.

I speak about 200 common Mandarin words and can get by in most everyday situations, like in cafes asking for the check. Most of my clients are educated Chinese women and can speak good English. They start learning English from about age 12 and they think it is very important to their careers to speak it well. Occasionally, my Chinese assistants, some who are psych graduates, may sit in and translate, but this is quite rare. I have also found that being culturally aware and non-judgemental is more important than worrying about missing something. After all, it is for the client, not the therapist, to come to an understanding of self in order to cope with life’s problems.

(coming from the same source as yesterday)

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