Ying Ying Lee Intern Counseling Psychologist
Everyone faces an assortment of challenges in life such as interpersonal relationships, work or academic stress, anxiety, financial issues, and more. However, as a foreigner living abroad in Taiwan, being far away from home comes with its own set of difficulties. Other than dealing with universal challenges that are commonly experienced by everyone, foreigners in addition have to overcome language barriers, culture shock, and homesickness just to name a few. Adjusting to the new environment, new culture, and building new relationships can be lonely and difficult, but you don't have to do all these alone.
Whether you are looking for support or a safe space to talk about your feelings, Taiwan offers English counseling services that allow you to explore your thoughts and emotions with a trained professional who is willing to listen and tackle these issues together with you.
To better understand the counseling structure that is offered in Taiwan, here we are going to introduce three main settings where you can seek counseling assistance: schools, hospitals, and counseling centers. The pros and cons of each will be discussed further below in this article.
Schools: Student Counseling Center Schools offer counseling services for free, all you have to do is login to your school's student counseling center website to book an appointment. However, this option is only available if you're a student or a faculty/staff member. Despite services being free, there are some drawbacks. First, student counseling centers offer a limited number of sessions ranging from 3-6 sessions per semester. If you would like to book more than 3-6 sessions, you will need to send a request and get your counselor’s approval. Second, most schools do not give you the opportunity to choose your counselor, so your assigned counselor might not always be compatible with you, and it can be quite a hassle before you find the right fit. Lastly, there’s usually a long waitlist of students waiting for the school’s counseling services, thus it can take some time waiting for your turn. In short, schools’ counseling centers are a great choice if you’re a student and are on a budget, but it might not be ideal if you’re looking for a long term plan or in an immediate need of assistance.
Hospitals In most medical facilities in Taiwan, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are more common than counseling psychologists. Here, we will talk about the differences between a psychiatrist and a psychologist as well as the different fields of psychology- clinical and counseling. Psychiatrists are licensed doctors who focus more on the biological components of mental health issues and tend to work with prescribing medications rather than participating in talk therapy. Psychologists on the other hand do not have the qualifications to prescribe medications, despite this they do possess some knowledge about psychiatric medications. Furthermore, the distinction between a clinical and counseling psychologist in a hospital setting is that the former focuses on performing clinical assessments (interviews and psychological tests) while the latter concentrates on providing talk therapy. Though hospital visits are covered by the national health insurance (NHI), due to the enormous amount of cases, psychiatrists are not given much time to interact with their patients. Therefore, each visit may last as short as 5 minutes to no more than 30 minutes depending on your doctor. However if you prefer being in talk therapy, you may need your psychiatrist’s referral in order to see a psychologist at the hospital.
Private Counseling Centers In spite of the drawbacks mentioned above, this does not mean that counseling services are nowhere to be found in Taiwan. There are a lot of counseling centers that provide English services here in Taipei, one of which is Seeing Counseling Center. If you do not live in Taipei, Seeing Counseling Center also offers online individual or group counseling services that allow you to connect with our therapists from the comfort of your home. Moreover, at Seeing, we emphasize the importance of individuality and unique strengths of each individual. We understand the importance of being heard and understood and simply having someone who gets you. Thus, we have a team of therapists who are experienced in working with internationals living in Taiwan. Seeing’s therapists are well equipped to work with various topics including emotional issues, relationship issues, grief and loss, stress management, and much more. You can browse through our therapists’ website to choose a therapist who is right for you. For more information, please visit our website: https://www.seeingcounseling.com/english
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