The Chinese government declared 2005 “The Year of Harmony.” The government is very concerned about the mental health of the Chinese people. Zhang Jianxin, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Science's Institute of Psychology in Beijing was quoted in the August 16, 2007 issue of The Economist, “…urban Chinese now face tremendous pressure to make money and, most importantly, compete with their neighbors for status. The result is a rise in disorders such as anxiety and depression.” Officials at the Chinese Psychiatrists' Association stated that China has just 17,000 certified psychiatrists and that mental illness is often diagnosed and treated by general practitioners, who too readily prescribe anti-depressant pills. At the Party Congress in 2007 funding for social work schools was increased. In 2008, the government authorized the construction of ten new Masters’ level departments of psychotherapy in the Disaster Region.
Among young mental health professionals and their teachers, interest in psychoanalysis is extraordinarily high. While they read widely about analysis, their clinical knowledge lags, limited by access to Western clinicians who speak Mandarin. Various groups of Western analysts have gone to China to offer lectures and brief supervisions. Since 1982, a group of German analysts have visited Shanghai, Beijing and other cities for five day periods each year during which they lecture and offer “self experience” sessions. What has been sorely lacking is organized intensive treatment or training. This is the gap that CAPA is attempting to fill.