Shanghai Psychology Internships


Want tips on finding the right job in China?

Psychology Industry Overview

On December 14, 2012, a 36-year-old man stabbed 24 people, including 23 children and an elderly woman, with a knife at an elementary school in Henan province. The incident marks another disturbing attack in China since 2010 by mentally disturbed citizens who took their anger out on the innocent and vulnerable for personal dispute or dissatisfaction with the rapid change the country is going through. Some of the attackers had severe mental illnesses. The horrific school attack shocked the country and prompted Chinese people to discuss the nation’s long ignored mental health problem. Because of the stigma associated to mental illness, a large number of people go undiagnosed, let alone being treated. China’s rising wealth obviously doesn’t make its people happier. China's mental health care services fall far short from peoples’ demand. 

Additionally, Shanghai's large expatriate population requires foreign psychologists for therapy centers, hospitals, special needs centers, and schools- including pre-schools, elementary schools and high schools. 

Fast Facts

  • Mental illnesses constitute 20 percent of China’s total load of disease.
  • According to the Ministry of Health's Center for Statistics Information, 19 million people were diagnosed with psychological illnesses in 2009.
  • China has less than 650 psychiatric hospitals and no more than 88,200 health care providers available across the entire country. 
  • According to the Chinese Psychiatrists' Association, China has only 17,000 certified psychiatrists. In proportion to the population, it is about 10 percent of the number of psychiatrists in developed countries.
  • Shanghai is the best location to have a psychology internship. For one, the city’s 23 million residents create a high demand for mental health care and related services.
  • Shanghai has quite a few psychological public research institutions and clinics that urgently need qualified psychological specialists.
  • Shanghai has a large expat population, with many families, children and couples in need of therapy.  


Current Psychology Openings

Please keep in mind that the below openings represent only a portion of our total current openings! Please apply below or contact us for more details

Current Openings (March 2015):


If there are no opportunities listed, it doesn't mean we don't have a position to offer; to learn more, apply now or send us a message!


Learn More About Psychology Internships in Shanghai

Although China has become wealthier over the past three decades, the nation's health care system has not caught up with the pace of its economy. China's psychiatric hospitals are alarmingly understaffed and poorly equipped. They are struggling to meet the country’s growing demand for psychological care. Hospitals and public health institutions are still waiting for public health policies from the authorities so that the mental health problem and its impact on Chinese society can be studied seriously and closely. The huge burden of mental disorders signals the urgent need for a better mental health care supporting system. 

After several attack assailants being identified as mentally ill, the Chinese government takes mental health issues more seriously and increased investment in the business of peoples’ happiness and mental stability. Meanwhile, as China starts to see a growing aging population, the government has become more welcoming for foreign health care providers to be part of the solution. Any U.S. health provider that indents to expand its business to China and increase its revenues overseas should recognize that this profitable market is becoming more accessible. Chinese authority has loosened its grip on international companies that wish to provide quality service and products to Chinese patients. Another good news is Chinese psychologists are engaging more with foreign specialists and exploring ways to adapt established theories and techniques in the West to Chinese unique characteristics and cultures.

China’s increasing need for high-quality psychological care and services has created a huge number of job positions and internship opportunities across the country, especially in international cities like Shanghai. Thanks to the rising personal income and public education on mental illness, people are becoming more willing to seek professional help. The shortage of well-trained mental health care specialties in China presents a golden opportunity for American companies and professionals to fill in the gap.

Your knowledge of mental health care, psychology skills, and willingness to learn will be much-valued in research institutions and hospitals that are understaffed. A psychology internship in Shanghai is a great opportunity for you to learn about Chinese society, the language, the culture and most importantly to launch a successful career as a professional psychologist, social worker or mental health caregiver. You will gain understanding of Chinese medical systems, expatriate therapy centers and hospital culture and hone your skills as a medical practitioner in international mental health care.

Participating in a psychology internship typically means interns work in an environment that expects professionalism, creativity, responsibility and good teamwork skills. Interns sometimes work in teams, and good communication skills are essential. Interns should be prepared to work with stressful situations in a fast-paced work environment. Your ability to know enough Mandarin to be able to carry on basic conversations is essential when working with Chinese patients, and other language come in handy when dealing with foreign expats. It would be a major plus (but not required) if you can read Chinese medical documents, records and regulations.

Go ahead and apply now to schedule a chat with the SmartIntern team and start your psychology internship!