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Inside the mind

Updated: 2021-12-08 08:29 ( China Daily )
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Yang Zi portrays psychologist, He Dun, in a TV series that zooms in on people's mental well-being.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A new TV series, based on a book, highlights professional psychological counseling, Yang Yang and Xu Lin report.

A new TV show Nyu Xinlishi (The Psychologist) touches upon psychological counseling, as people are paying increasing attention to mental health during the rapid social transformation.

The show features a 30-year-old female psychologist He Dun, who aspires to help more people to solve their psychological problems. As she helps more people, she gets to understand better her own psychological problems.

In total, the TV series presents 10 counseling cases that represent the problems people often face. These include school-bullying, divorced parents who don't tell their children in high school about the divorce worrying it will impact their performance at the college entrance examination, a weakness for always trying to please others and postpartum depression.

This is arguably the first TV drama in China that focuses on the topic of psychological counseling, claims Guo Feng, the show's producer.

"There are other TV plays that include this topic but very few focus on it specifically. The topic is very attractive to me also because psychological counseling is an emerging treatment in China," he says.

In October 2016, the government launched the Outline of Healthy China 2030 Plan, in which mental health was included for the first time as one of the healthy standards, he says.

The 40-episode TV drama, starring actress Yang Zi and actor Jing Boran, is adapted from Chinese writer Bi Shumin's novel of the same title that was first published in 2007.

Bi, 69, had been a doctor for 20 years before studying psychology in 1998. After studying in Beijing Normal University for three years, she started receiving visitors. Based on her professional knowledge and practice, she created a situation where a poor, smart young woman from the countryside named He Dun became a psychologist and helped not only her visitors but also herself.

"Although she had gone through a lot when growing up, the tough heroine believed in the bright side of humanity and tried to help others bravely and kind-heartedly," Bi says.

"I wanted people to know through reading this novel that a lot of behavioral problems are caused by psychological factors, and there exists mentality besides the body," she says.

Fourteen years have passed since the novel was published, however, the major categories of psychological problems, such as self-abasement, incapability to deal with intimate or workplace relationships, family-of-origin issues and so on, have not changed much, Bi says.

"But the good thing is that now more people pay attention to their mental health," she says.

However, it is not easy to adapt the original fiction into a TV drama that will have to cater to the taste of current audiences, not to mention the difficulties in balancing the professional standard of psychological counseling and the dramatic plotting.

"Compared with 10 years ago, psychological counseling has been highly standardized in China, so we need to update the professional practice in the story.

"Besides, what we feel anxious and painful about today is different from what people cared about back then. Despite the common places, there are a lot of differences when it comes to details. So we changed the story the most in these two aspects," says Zhu Li, scriptwriter of the TV series.

What Zhu kept completely is Bi's narrative style.

"It's a style that the life of the psychologist He Dun and her visitors' weaved with each other, because it usually takes three to five weeks or a longer time for a visitor to complete a psychological counseling process," Zhu says.

Yang Zi, who plays He Dun, says the stories are interlocked, and mysteries set up in the first few episodes will be cleared as the plot moves forward.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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