Chang Weining

Visiting Psychologist, Institute of Mental Health

Weining C. Chang was born in Nanjing, China, and educated in Taiwan and the United States, with a law degree (LLB, National Taiwan University) and MA and PhD in Psychology (the University of Houston, USA). Her interest in culture and human behavior has taken her for post-doctoral research in Harvard University, the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor and more recently, Stanford University. She was the founding head of Psychology Division (2004-2009) and Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies (2005-2007) of School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University. Professor Chang has been Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, University of Western Australia, Perth and University of Roehampton, London. As Principal Consultant to the Research Division of Singapore Prison Services and Health Promotion Board, Professor Chang has led the Youth at Risk Project and Mental Well-being Indicators Project using multi-stage and multi-method approaches with population representative samples. From 2008, she has been working in post-disaster mental health development in China, where she applies research findings from cultural psychology to mental health services in earthquake devastated communities. Professor Chang is currently attached to the Institute of Mental Health, where she conducts research in trauma and psychological wellbeing.

A woman wears a face mask as she burns incense and prays at the Wong Tai Sin Temple to mark the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Hong Kong on 24 January 2020. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Chinese spirituality [Part two]: The sacred is in the mundane

Spirituality helps individuals cope with severe trauma and aids their growth and psychological well-being in the aftermath of a crisis. Such ballast is something humanity badly needs in the face of a pandemic. Dr Chang Weining, visiting psychologist of the Institute of Mental Health, ponders China’s search for spirituality in times of distress. In part two of her article, she toggles between past and present as she takes a look at how the Chinese quest for solace has evolved.
Seeking spirituality is a universal human need. In this photo taken on 25 January 2020, people wearing face masks visit Wong Tai Sin temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Hong Kong, as a preventative measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Dale De La Rey/AFP)

Chinese spirituality [Part one]: Reawakening of the heart after trauma

Spirituality helps individuals cope with severe trauma and aids their growth and psychological well-being in the aftermath of a crisis. Such ballast is something humanity badly needs in the face of a pandemic. Dr Chang Weining, visiting psychologist of the Institute of Mental Health, ponders China’s search for spirituality in times of distress. In part one of her article, she recalls her visits to China in 1984 and 2008 — both different periods in China’s reform and opening up — where she got a sense of China’s budding need and search for spirituality.