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Our Mission

The Institute for the Advancement of Counseling Excellence (iACE) seeks to foster the development of high quality, effective, professional counseling services to serve the mental health needs of Chinese people in China and other parts of Asia. Our mission is to provide resources that counselors can use to improve the quality of their services for Chinese clients. In all the resources iACE provides, the emphasis will be on meeting the highest possible international standards of professional excellence while serving with genuine, empathic care, thus promoting “love with knowledge and insight” (Phil 1:9-11).

The Need

  • Mental disorders are increasingly recognized as major contributors to the loss of health worldwide. Over a decade has passed since the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that depression would become “a leading cause of disability worldwide” and “a major contributor to the global burden of disease.” (WHO Depression Fact sheet, October 2012)
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030,  “Between 76% to 85% of people with severe mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder in low-income and middle-income countries; the corresponding range for high-income countries is also high: between 35% to 50%.”

    The problem lies in the scarcity of well-trained mental health professionals. The WHO reported “Almost half the world’s population lives in countries where, on the average, there is one psychiatrist to serve 200,000 or more people; other mental health care providers who are trained in the use of psychosocial interventions are even scarcer.” It also noted another important aspect of the “treatment gap,” namely insufficient use of “evidence-based practice,” with a need for “mental health strategies and interventions for treatment, prevention, and promotion … based on scientific evidence and/or best practice, taking cultural considerations into account.”

    Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2021. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. (p. 3, 5)

Our Response

We at iACE are dedicated to finding solutions to the scarcity of well-trained counselors to meet unmet mental health needs of Chinese people in Asia.

  • We are building on many years of experience providing clinical services and training counselors on the ground in China. From 2007 to 2015 one of our founders (Dr. Martha Chiu), drawing on her own clinical experience in providing mental health services to Chinese patients, personally taught and provided clinical supervision for many counselors in a variety of settings in China, including a local Chinese university M.A. degree program, a university student counseling center, community-wide workshops, and a hybrid M.A. degree program from a U.S. university that combined online courses with on-the-ground clinical training.
  • More recently, since 2015 iACE has specialized in providing online bilingual (Chinese-English) counselor education to Chinese-speaking counselors in Asia.