• Wing Sum Leung

Student thesis: Doctor of Counselling Psychology


This thesis undertakes a critical and qualitative inquiry into counselling in Hong Kong. It explores how counselling, a Western originated product, has been adopted by different Hong Kong healthcare professionals in the postcolonial era. The current study has a clear socio-political agenda to elucidate counselling meanings which are closely aligned with the wider context, which facilitates interrogation of domination which are in the form of structural or institutional power. This thesis adopts indigenous methodology as the theoretical design, which comprises of an integrative framework of the pragmatic bottom-up indigenous processing, auto-ethnography and post-colonial framework. Participants with different backgrounds have been recruited, including social work, clinical psychology, counselling, counselling psychology, teaching and chaplaincy. Nineteen semi-structured interviews were conducted. The first phase interviews indicated how fourteen participants accounted for the meanings of counselling. In the second phase, five participants discussed the current socio-political status in Hong Kong. Then, mixed methods of analytical framework were adopted, including postcolonial framework/intersectionality, Interpretative phenomenological Analysis, Discourse analysis and systemic approach. Analysis was how Hong Kong counselling is conceptualised as multi-dimensional and multi-perspective, comprising five broad fields of inter-relations, including 1) Defining the Contextualised Counselling; 2) ‘This is Hong Kong…’ (Contextualisation); 3) Practitioners’ Complex Roles; 4) Alternative Structural/Institutional Legitimation; 5) Toward the Future: Remaining Discrepant Voices. The first four fields of meanings were interpreted as forming a model reflecting how the historical legacy of institutions, led by the fundamental human nature (morality), has orchestrated cross-disciplinary oppression and segregation, indicating the significance of ‘human element’ in a structural system. The discussion shows how colonial power has set the foundations of Hong Kong counselling’s ‘absence of power’, but also how local social-political collaborations have equally contributed to the territorial interplay. Implications are outlined on how change and action can take place, to enable challenge against the status quo of segregation. Actions should also happen within the structural systems and between disciplines instead of just towards the external public. This thesis suggests that communication can act as a new form of advocacy, not to combat, but instead to constructively dissolve territorial segregation with connectivity and respect. Such claims are elaborated using a three levelled conceptual framework of critical pedagogy – personal/professional development, research areas and social applications to cultivate dialogue, connection and understanding.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTerry Hanley (Supervisor) & Erica Burman (Supervisor)


  • Hong Kong
  • institutionalism/structuralism
  • professional identity
  • post-colonialism
  • indigenous
  • counselling/psychology

Cite this