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Lack of Need for Counseling

A male student articulated what most Chinese international students believed: they do not believe that personal problems are cause enough for concern to seek professional help. Instead, they need to take care of their own problems, and asking for help is regarded as a sign of weakness and immaturity. A computer science student stated:

We came here to pursue our degrees and realize our dreams, not to be helped. I would like to seek counseling for those career and academic problems instead of the personal concerns. Even though I felt depressed, frustrated, confused, and helpless from time to time, I never used the counseling center. I believe I should depend on myself to make things work out. Anyway, we are not children any more. So, we should not respond like a “crying baby” whenever we meet a challenge or unexpected negative encounters. Even though we are international students with little assistance in this country, we should stand up on our own feet and learn how to handle things ourselves. (Participant 15)

Though Chinese students acknowledge their psychological difficulties, they deny the need to seek formal help. Some of them deem academic and career problems more important than emotional problems. Others feel that life is always stressful and it is useless to talk about the problem with counselors. A female student held the following belief:

Life is not easy. No matter where you are, you have a stress to deal with. Going abroad offers opportunities, but like life itself, it is fraught with danger and difficulty. It is full of mourning, remorse, and depression. Since it is your own choice to venture out into a new world, you have to live with the potential trauma and crisis it brings. If you can not solve problems, dare not face challenges, or keep whining about life, you are weak and lack of self-control. Even though I feel stressed sometimes, I do not think talking to counseling professionals would work for me. I mean to talk about stress and frustration does not make it go away. If we spend time talking about hard things or whining about bad things, those bad things never change. You have to do something to make things change better. (Participant 18)

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