Words from the department head
Welcome to the official website of the Department of Thanatology and Health Counseling. This action shows that you desire to explore the philosophy, psychology, society, and culture of life and death in a broader and deeper way, or you want to find out how you should face the many losses and sorrows in life. You may have a desire to provide care for others, or perhaps you want to become a psychological counselor and get involved with life and death issues, end-of-life care, suicide prevention, grief counseling, and medical counseling. Maybe you want to be the person who sees people off at the end of their lives—the funeral director or a counselor who accompanies the disadvantaged population in society to support them in life and employment. Your action gives us the opportunity to encourage you or your children to study in this department and become a part of our family.
The predecessor of this department is the Graduate Institute of Life and Death Education and Counseling, which was established in 2001. At the time, Taiwan had just experienced the 1999 Jiji earthquake and was faced with tremendous sorrow and post-disaster psychotherapy, which aroused the community’s realization of the importance of life education, death education, and grief counseling. Because the foundation of NTUNHS is in nursing education and has long required all students to take the Life and Death course as a part of general education, the university was well positioned to establish the Graduate Institute of Life and Death Education and Counseling. During the first ten years of its establishment, Professors Chi-Yun Lin, Professor Haunn-Tarng Tseng, Professor Yu-Chan Li, and Associate Professor Shu-Sum Ng worked diligently to lay the foundation for academic research and practical teaching related to life and death and grief counseling. During this time, many international academic seminars were held to invite well-known international experts and scholars to come to Taiwan to advocate for life and death care, suicide prevention, and grief counseling, which marked the important beginning of promoting grief counseling in domestic higher education. At the same time, a unique professional classroom—Healing Heart Community Counseling Center—and the first domestic and international Grief Healing Garden were gradually established.
The undergraduate program was established in 2011 and merged with the Research Institute of Life and Death Education and Counseling in 2014 to form the Department of Thanatology and Health Counseling. It is the only department among national technical colleges in Taiwan that cultivates talents in life and death care and psychological health counseling. Since its establishment, several professional faculties with expertise in psychological counseling have been added. From the 2012 to 2020 academic year, we successively hired five professional faculty members. According to the chronological order of full-time employment, they are Professor Pei-Yi Li, Associate Professor Chuan-Yung Huang, Assistant Professor Ming-Lee Yeh (transferred from the NTUNHS Department of Nursing), Assistant Professor Li-Yen Kao, and Assistant Professor Wen-Chang Teng. At present, we have a full range of professional faculties, and all nine teachers have academic research and practical experience in life and death care, such as life education, suicide prevention, funeral etiquette, grief counseling, medical counseling, hospice care, art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, career planning, and vocational rehabilitation. The bachelor’s degree program has produced graduates for five years, and most of them are in the field of re-employment counseling and funeral services. Others are engaged in psychological counseling, case management, research, and many other positions at hospitals, suicide prevention centers, long-term care institutions, resettlement agencies, and community counseling centers. Their work performance and professional attitudes have been recognized by industries. I would like to express my special thanks to the former director, Professor Haunn-Tarng Tseng, who led the faculty and students of this department for six years. Under his leadership, the master’s degree program and the four-year technical degree program received quality assurance accreditation in July 2018 issued by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan, an evaluation entrusted by colleges and universities. In addition, Dr. Tseng stabilized the professional fields of the undergraduate program and established the professional reputation of the funeral program curriculum. Besides signing the memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with many domestic funeral companies, he led students to Malaysia for funeral service internships and continuously promoted the professional exchange of psychological counseling between this department and the private Raman University and the National Sarawak University in Malaysia.
I have been the head of the department since August 1, 2020, and am entrusted with great responsibility. I expect to secure hardware and software teaching resources for the department, and I am determined to lead the students to further and broaden their study in the psychological counseling field. I expect students to make good use of the Healing Heart Community Counseling Center and Grief Healing Garden with an attitude of humanistic care for life and death, and I encourage undergraduate and graduate students to establish the professional service reputation of the Department in life and death care and grief counseling. I sincerely hope that the students of this department will be able to establish a good foundation, flourish, and contribute to society, the country, the Earth, and the universe as intellectuals with the humanistic care and mindset to help others.