Psychotherapy, Spirituality, and Well-Being in a Transforming Urban China
This chapter examines the effort to blend modern psychotherapeutics with Buddhist and Daoist techniques in the zealous quest for happiness. The intense interest in and fervent pursuit of personal happiness in the name of science and well-being represents a new form of urban aspiration that is emerging among China's middle-class professionals in the midst of rapid and often disorienting socioeconomic transformations. This “happiness craze” (xingfu re), which often calls for professional intervention, is taking place against the backdrop of a society that is increasingly competitive and distressed as unprecedented surges in material wealth are coupled with mounting social inequality and moral crisis. This chapter considers why the search for personal happiness is quickly gaining such a salient place in contemporary Chinese urban life, especially among educated professionals. It concludes by discussing how the quest for happiness relates to the fusion techniques of self-cultivation and well-being.
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