Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Professional Counseling in Taiwan: Past to Future

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Professional Counseling in Taiwan: Past to Future

Article excerpt

Taiwan is a tropical island country in Southeast Asia. The territory of Taiwan includes the main island, Taiwan, and other small islands (e.g., the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands). Its geographical location places Taiwan within the circle of Japan, North and South Korea, China, and the Philippines. Historically, Taiwan has been governed by Spain, the Netherlands, China, and Japan. Current residents of Taiwan consist of Taiwanese, Chinese descendants, and aboriginals. Taiwan is ranked 139th in territory size, 50th in population size, and 19th in gross domestic product (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). It is a modernized industrial country with a relatively small land size and limited resources to support a large population and fast-paced economy.

Counseling services in Taiwan have experienced rapid growth in recent years. After decades of slow development in community settings and school systems, mental health counseling and school counseling are entering a new era in Taiwan since the passage of the Psychologist Law (Laws and Regulations Database of the Republic of China, 2001). This legislation established licensure systems for both psychologists and counselors. This law also affects the traditional functions of school counseling in educational systems. School counselors and licensed mental health counselors are collaborating to face challenging mental health issues in Taiwanese society (J. C. H. Lin & Hung, 2002). A newly overhauled Psychiatric Law (Department of Health, 2007) mandates that both central and local governments install and manage the community mental health and school counseling services for the public. Although counseling has become a recognized venue for mental health treatment, Taiwan has a long way to go to change the negative stigma that continues to affect mental illness (Song, Chang, Shih, Lin, & Yang, 2005).

* Professional Counseling in Taiwan--The Past

Guidance and counseling were introduced in Taiwan from the United States in the mid-20th century (Wu, 1993). They were originally designed as a guidance project to serve foreign students (Chang, 2006; Chen, 1999). Taiwan's Ministry of Education decided to implement guidance practices into the public school systems in the 1950s (Chen, 1999) and at that time sent teachers to study school guidance and counseling programs in the United States. With its original roots in school systems, guidance had been viewed as interchangeable with school counseling and even mental health counseling.

Taiwan's mandatory public education was extended from 6 to 9 years in 1968. At that time, the Ministry of Education introduced guidance and career information into the curricula in middle schools (Chen, 1999). Many normal universities and teachers colleges quickly responded to the initiative to add school counseling in the public schools by establishing guidance programs to train certifiable undergraduate "teacher-counsellors" (Wu, 1993, p. 2). The Ministry of Education continued to implement experimental projects and policy changes in school counseling (Chang, 2006) but failed to turn school counseling into an independent and functional entity within the school systems. Instead, school counseling, in its infancy, was considered a part of the disciplinary program (Chen, 1999). The full potential of school counseling had not been utilized because of its subordinate status to a disciplinary-focused system.

In the 1970s, school counseling was rejuvenated by new educational legislation and policies. College guidance centers and later guidance offices for high schools were approved by the Ministry of Education in 1972 and 1974 (Chen, 1999). Public universities began to establish guidance centers, and high schools employed guidance teachers solely to provide guidance services in the 1980s (Chen, 1999). Furthermore, the Citizen's Education Law of 1979 mandated school counseling for elementary schools (Chang, 2006). …

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