The Localization of Psychotherapeutic Treatment Knowledge in Post-Disaster West China


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants




After the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, psychiatrists discovered that methods of treating psychological trauma offered to them by western colleagues were inadequate for treating Chinese patients, and have pushed for the Bentuhua or “localization” of psychotherapy in China. Through ethnography, I will investigate how the practice of localization of treatment functions as a creative extension of previous conceptual frameworks in psychotherapy to fit new circumstances. This research engages the question of how psychiatric knowledge must change when it is used in a Chinese context. I further hope to contribute insight into the role that the localization of psychotherapy plays in the larger historical (post-colonial and post-socialist) context of adapting western healing practices.