Family Counseling Service
From JoongAng
October 8, 2003

By JunHo Shin

An Increasing number of Koreans are visiting counseling services.

Korean Family Counseling and Research, where mental health counseling and educational seminars for Koreans in New York and New Jersey are offered, showed an increased number of counseling cases at the New York Center. The number rose from an average of 5 in May, to 9 from July to September. At the Center in New Jersey there were 19 cases, whereas the average from March to May had been 11.

Counselors connected this phenomenon to the economic downturn, resulting in psychological pressures that pushed some Koreans to mental disorder.

According to the Center, a man in his 30s from New Jersey had suffered from serious depression after losing his job, and considered getting divorced. The reason was that his wife started to get on his nerves by pointing out his financial inability, and he also had doubts about her because she went out more often. With counseling this couple realized the origin of their problem—a changed environment due to financial pressure—and started to save money, easing the situation gradually.

About 20 percent of cases are due to 9/11 related trauma. One 30-year-old woman asked for help with her child who had a nervous breakdown whenever he had white-powdered donuts, thinking of the anthrax scare right after 9/11. The parents did not take it seriously in the beginning; however, the child began to show hysterics and became violent and even threatened his mother.

HyunSuk Oh, from the New Jersey Center, pointed out that it is important to find the root of the problem in its early stage. It is easier to find an effective treatment once a spouse or parent recognizes their loved one’s problem, and turn to experts for help.

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Translated from Chinese by JooYeon Lee

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