All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.
Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
Taiwan has a long history of counselling. Counselling in Taiwan began in the middle of the 20th century as a response to the needs for support of Taiwanese or Chinese students who were living abroad to pursue their education (Chang, 2006; Chen, 1999). In the 1950s, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education began implementing guidance practices in their public school systems as a result of Western influences. Back then, school guidance programs were still considered as part of the disciplinary program until The Ministry of Education began implementing a new policy that kept school guidance as an independent and functional entity (Chang, 2006; Chen, 1999). Many changes happened in the 1970s, where the establishment of guidance centers in colleges began in 1972 and further extended their service to high school in 1974 (Chen, 1999). In 1979, The Citizen’s Education Law was implemented where school guidance became mandatory in elementary schools. In the 1980s, the guidance centers began to open in public universities, and high schools began to employ guidance teachers solely to provide guidance services for their students (Chen, 1999).
Mental health counselling in Taiwan began to receive more recognition when a new revision of Psychiatric Law was being implemented (Department of Health, 2007). In this new revision, professional counselling was then recognized as a treatment option for mental disorders. The counselling profession also began to grow rapidly after the completion of a licensure legislation known as the Psychologist Law in 2001 (Laws and Regulations Database of the Republic of China, 2001). This law affected professional counselling both in the mental health and school field. Professional counsellors are now licensed under the title of counselling psychologist with a master’s degree in counselling, a 1-year postgraduate internship, and a passing score on the National Counselling Psychologist Exam (Laws and Regulations Database of the Republic of China, 2001). Through this law, licensed mental health counsellors are now being recognized as a distinct profession in Taiwan.
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
As mentioned previously, professional counselling is now being recognized as a distinct profession in the psychology field. The Psychologists’ Act, which was established in 2001, exists as a law that regulates the counselling licensure and certification, as well as the counselling practices in Taiwan. Currently, there’s no insurance company that appears to cover counselling session fees. The National Health Insurance (NHI) system covers the majority of costs incurred while seeking psychiatric assistance including doctor’s visits and medications. However, in order to get a cost reimbursement from any counselling session from a psychologist, a person must first visit the psychiatrist first.
Counselling psychologists play a more visible role in Taiwan’s larger health care system. The 2012 revision of the Medical Institution Establishment Standards, for example, requires that at least one clinical or counselling psychologist be employed in every general hospital that has 30 or more beds for acute psychiatric patients, while at least one is required for every hospital that has 300 or more beds for patients suffering from other acute illnesses. Hospitals that have 1,000 or more beds for patients with acute illnesses are required to employ a second counselling psychologist.
As mentioned above, counselling practices in Taiwan have been regulated by laws and standards that require certain educational and health care institutions to provide counsellors or counselling services. Counselling services in Taiwan have also been indicated in the following settings:
- Schools & Universities
- General Hospitals
- Non-profit Organizations
- Private Practices
Challenges & Trends
In the beginning, counsellors in Taiwan were mainly associated with guidance counselling, in which their practice was limited to school settings. Now, as the counselling profession has gained more recognition, counsellors are beginning to work in community-related mental health service settings. An extensive study by Guo and colleagues (2015) found that a more recent trend in mental health counselling in Taiwan includes placing counselling professionals (e.g., counsellors, psychologists, and social workers) on campuses to not only give guidance or career advice, but also to treat students’ behavioral problems.
Additional Information & References
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal & website articles:
- Chang, L.-F. (2006). [The development of middle and elementary school guidance in Taiwan]. 15, 17–35.
- Chen, P.-W. (1999). – [Towards professionalism: The development of counselling in Taiwan]. Asian Journal of Counselling, 6(2), 21–46
- Mojahedi, D. (n.d.). Finding help: Mental healthcare in Taipei. Discover Taipei. http://www-ws.gov.taipei/001/Upload/public/MMO/ENGTPEDOIT/117515011239610.pdf
- Laws & Regulation Database of the Republic of China. (2018, December 26). Psychologists’ Act. https://law.moj.gov.tw/ENG/LawClass/LawAll.aspx?pcode=L0020098
- Guo, Y.-J., Wang, S.-C., Combs, D. C., Lin, Y.-C., & Johnson, V. (2013). Professional counseling in Taiwan: Past to future. Journal of Counseling & Development, 91(3), 331–335. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6676.2013.00101.x
- Tien, H.-L. S., & Wang, Y.-C. (2016). Career counselling research and practice in Taiwan.
- The Career Development Quarterly, 64(3), 231–243. https://doi.org/10.1002/cdq.12057
- Wang, L.-F., Kwan, K.-L. K., & Huang, S.-F. (2010). Counselling psychology licensure in Taiwan: Development, challenges, and opportunities. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 33(1), 37–50. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-010-9111-3