Family therapy in the forbidden city: A review of Chinese journals from 1978 to 2006

Boon Wee Timothy Sim, Chiyi Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides a glimpse into the development of family therapy in China, by reviewing family therapy articles written in Chinese and published in journals in China that are not, therefore, readily accessible to the international community. A content analysis of journals published between 1978 and 2006 revealed 199 family therapy articles in 109 Chinese journals. Most of the studies were conducted by psychiatry or medical professionals, and were based on general systems theory or a systemic family therapy model. The articles focused on the promotion of family therapy theories and interventions in China, but did not specify the application of theory to specific clientele or symptoms. After the year 2000, a threefold increase in the number of family therapy publications was noted. These papers included the introduction of additional theories, but did not include critical assessment of the applicability of Western family therapy models to Chinese families. The researchers noted an absence of articles that identified Chinese approaches to family therapy, and a paucity of papers on gender, professional reflection, and the therapy process. The article concludes that there is room for improvement in the quality of family therapy publications in China, and that gains may be made by interdisciplinary collaboration among academics and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-583
Number of pages25
JournalFamily Process
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • China
  • Chinese
  • Family therapy
  • Practice
  • Research
  • Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Family therapy in the forbidden city: A review of Chinese journals from 1978 to 2006'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this