A. Ka Tat Tsang

Professor; Factor-Inwentash Chair in Social Work in the Global Community Director, China Project; Ph.D., Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto; M.Soc.Sc. (Clin. Psy.), University of Hong Kong; B.Soc.Sc. (S.W. & Psy), University of Hong Kong
Phone Number: 
(416) 978-5817
Office Location: 

Room 428

Research Interests: 

• social work in a globalized context
• diversity and cultural issues
• clinical practice (counseling and psychotherapy)
• sexuality and sexual diversity
• theories in the social sciences and humanities informing social work practice
• epistemology, knowledge production and utilization
• mental health
• spirituality


Website: http://www.kttsang.com/

The focus of Professor Tsang’s work is the development of a knowledge base for social work practice in a globalized context, combining conventional and creative forms of knowledge production. The key themes are diversity, global community, and innovation in practice, with active integration of theory and research.

His major activities include:

1.    Development and testing of direct practice models (SSLD – Strategies and Skills Learning and Development; ICCP – Integrative Cross-cultural Clinical Practice)

2.    The Global community: Research and development of service programs for the diverse communities in Canada and internationally

3.    Social work in China: Development of social work both as a practice profession and as an academic discipline in China

Research and Scholarship

Professor Tsang has conducted numerous studies on diverse populations requiring various forms of social work and human services. His long-term interest in culture, diversity, and psychotherapy is realized in a SSHRC- funded integrated process-outcome study on cross-cultural clinical practice. An ongoing initiative looks at the sexuality of middle-age Chinese women in their life transition process. Another ongoing project aims at developing a practice model for managing sexuality and intimacy issues among seniors. The intersection of mental health, culture, age and sexuality is explored in a sequence of SSHRC-funded studies on the health and wellbeing of Chinese seniors. His has completed a study on income protection for immigrant seniors in collaboration with the Alternative Planning Group, funded by the Wellesley Institute. His recent work includes a program of research on immigrant youth, with studies funded by SSHRC, and CERIS. Another CIHR-funded project on assisted reproduction explores the issues of sexuality, gender, culture and ideas of parenthood and family.


Professor Tsang’s teaching is well connected with his research program. His MSW courses are grounded in research and address issues such as diversity and cultural difference, sexuality, spirituality, and the political context of practice. He has also taught Ph.D. courses on epistemology, narrative (qualitative) research method, and theoretical foundation. He has supervised Ph.D. theses in the areas of mental health, developmental disabilities, sexual diversity, cultural competence, and spirituality. Besides research and teaching, Professor Tsang remains active in direct practice and professional consultation.

Practice and Innovation

Developing Social Work Internationally
Professor Tsang is very active in international social work, and has collaborated with colleagues in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, and Turkey. As the Director of the China Project, he is working with social work colleagues in China to develop social work practice, education, and research to address the unique challenges faced by the country in its attempt to develop a market economy within a socialist political structure.

Integrative Model for Cross-Cultural Practice
In collaboration with colleagues at the Faculty, Professor Tsang has been developing an integrative approach to cross-cultural psychotherapy and social work practice (ICCP). This research and development program involves empirical research, including a process-outcome study funded by SSHRC, and is grounded in practice. The emerging model has been presented in academic publications, conferences, and special training workshops.

SSLD (Strategies and Skills Learning and Development)
Strategies and Skills Learning and Development (SSLD) is a learning system built on earlier experience of Social Skills Training. Through three decades of direct practice, training, and consultation work in various areas of social work practice in different parts of the world, Professor Tsang has developed a learning system that enables practitioners to: (1) gain a good understanding of the client’s needs and circumstances; (2) assist clients in setting relevant life-goals; and (3) help clients master appropriate strategies and skills in order to attain these life goals.

The SSLD system, based on multiple-contingencies thinking, is particularly responsive to the unique needs and circumstances of the client (individual, family, group, community, or organization). It is action-oriented and empowers clients through expanding their options and repertoire of strategies and skills. The model has been applied to a wide range of social work practice situations ranging from adults with severe long-term mental health issues, to children with developmental disorders, couples experiencing relationship problems, people who want to improve their interpersonal relationships, social competence, parenting skills, and so on. It has also been applied to train front-desk receptionists, managers working internationally, and other healthcare professionals.

SSLD programs have been conducted in Algeria, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Thailand.

A book on the system has been written, and will be in print in early 2013: Learning to Change Lives: The Strategies and Skills Learning and Development System. University of Toronto Press.

Multiple Contingencies Management (MCM) Approach to Clinical Practice
In response to the competing claims made by various systems of psychotherapy, and considering the evidence generated by psychotherapy research, Professor Tsang is working towards the development of a systematic approach to psychotherapy that will help practitioners to manage the increasingly diverse and complicated situations in clinical practice. The MCM Model helps practitioners to integrate psychotherapeutic procedures that can effectively address the unique client circumstances through different phases of clinical change.

Publications In Refereed Journals: 

1. Tsang, A. K. T. (in press). Learning to change lives: The Strategies and Skills Learning and Development System. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2. Ho, P. S. Y., & Tsang, A. K. T. (Eds.), (in press). Love and desire in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

3. Blyth, E., Yee, S., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2012). Perspectives of Canadian oocyte donors and recipients on donor compensation and a personal health information registry. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 34(1): 72-79.

4. Links, P., Zaheer, J. Law, S., Shera, W., Tsang, A. K. T., Huang, X., & Liu, P. (2012) Developing a Matrix Model of rural suicide prevention: A Canada-China collaboration. International Journal of Mental Health 40(4), 28-49.

5. Tsang, A. K. T., Fuller-Thomson, E., & Lai, D. W. L. (2011). Sexuality and health among Chinese seniors in Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1007/s12134-011-0221-5

6. Blyth, E., Yee, S., & Tsang, A. K. T. (2011). They were my eggs; they were her babies: Known oocyte donors’ conceptualizations of their reproductive material. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 33(11), 1134-1140.

7. Yee, S., Blyth, & Tsang, A. K.T. (2011). Oocyte donors’ experience of altruistic known donation: A qualitative study. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 29(4), 404-415.

8. Yee, S., Blyth, E., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2011). The views of donors and recipients regarding disclosure to children following altruistic known oocyte donation. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 23, 851-859.

9. Lauer, S., Yan, M.C., Wilkinson, L., Sin, R., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2011). Immigrant youth and employment: Lessons learned from the analysis of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada and 82 lived stories. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 13(1), 1-19.

10. Tsang, A. K. T., & Yau, T.Y. (Eds.), (2011). SSLD Strategies and Skills Learning and Development: Foundation and application. Hong Kong: Riding Cultural and Creative. Published in Chinese.

11. Bogo, M., Tsang, A. K. T., & Lee, E. (2010). Cross-cultural clinical social work practice. In J.R. Brandell (Ed.). Theory and practice in clinical social work (2nd ed). (pp. 693-716). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

12. Tsang, A. K. T., Bogo, M., & Lee, E. (2010). Engagement in cross-cultural clinical practice: Narrative analysis of first sessions. Clinical Social Work Journal, 39(1), 77-90.

13. Tsang, A.K.T., Gao, J., Yau, T.Y., & Leung, Y.K. (Eds.), (2009). Glimmering everywhere: The journeys of 28 Chinese social workers. Beijing: Chinese Society Press.

14. Wilkinson, L., Lauer, S., Sin, R., Tsang, A. K. T., & Yan, M. C. (2010). The labour market transitions of newly arrived immigrant youth: A tri-provincial study. A Report Submitted to the National Metropolis Secretariat, Canada.

15. Yan, M. C., Ge, C. M., Cheng, S. L., & Tsang, A. K. T. (2009). Imagining social work: A qualitative study of students’ perspectives on social work in China. Social Work Education,28(5), 528-543.

16. Alternative Planning Group (2008). Citizenship matters: Re-examining income (in)security of immigrant seniors. Toronto: Wellesley Institute. (Tsang is the PI of the study and principal author of the report).

17. Tsang, A.K.T., Sin, R., Jia, C., & Yan, M.C. (2008). Another snapshot of social work in China: Capturing multiple positioning and intersecting discourses in rapid movement. Australian Social Work, 61(1), 1-16.

18. Yan, M. C., & Tsang, A. K.T. (2008). Re-envisioning Indigenization: When the Bentuhuade and the Bentude Social Work intersect in China. In M. Gray, J. Coate, and M. Yellowbird (Eds.), Indigenous social work practice and education around the world. London: Ashgate Press.

19. Tsang, A. K. T., & Ho, P. S. Y. (2007). Lost in Translation: Elite Discourse and everyday language. Sexualities, 10(5), 623-644.

20. Lai, D.W.L., Tsang, A.K.T., Chappell, Lai, D.C.Y., & Chau, S.B.Y. (2007). Relationship between culture and health status: A multi-site study on older Chinese in Canada. Canadian Journal of Aging, 26(3), 171-183.

21. Tsang, K.T., & Leung, Y.K. (Eds.), (2006). Glimmering everywhere (stories of 10 social workers). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union.

22. Tsang, A.K.T., & Wu, F. (2006). Casework and groupwork methods in community development. In J.G. Gao & M.C. Yan (Eds.), Community social work: An insider-outsider exchange of perspectives (pp. 157-173). Beijing: China Social Sciences Press. (Published in Chinese)

23. Yan, M.C., & Tsang, A. K. T. (2005). A snapshot on the development of social work education in China: A Delphi study. Social Work Education, 24(8), 883-901.

24. Ho, P.S.Y., & Tsang, A. K. T. (2005). Beyond the vagina-clitoris debate: From naming the genitals to reclaiming the woman’s body. Women’s Studies International Forum, 28(6), 523-534.

25. Tsang, A.K.T., Yan, M.C., and Shera, W. (Eds.). (2004). Social work in China: A snapshot of critical issues and emerging ideas – Proceedings of the international colloquium in Beijing 2000. Toronto: University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work.

26. Keenan, E. K., Tsang, A. K. T., Bogo, M., & George, U. (2004). Micro ruptures and repairs in the beginning phase of cross-cultural psychotherapy. Clinical Social Work Journal, 33(3), 271-289.

27. Keenan, E. K., Tsang, A. K. T., Bogo, M., & George, U. (2004). Do social workers integrate sociocultural issues in mental health session dialog? An exploratory study of cross-cultural practice. Social Work in Mental Health, 2(4), 37-62.

28. Wong, Y. L. R., & Tsang, A. K. T. (2004). When Asian immigrant women speak: From mental health to strategies of being. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74(4), 456-466.

29. Tsang, A.K.T., Bogo, M., & George, U. (2003). Critical issues in cross-cultural counseling research: Case example of an ongoing project. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 31(1), 63-78.

30. Tsang, A.K.T., Irving, H., Alaggia, R., Chau, S., & Benjamin, M. (2003). Negotiating Ethnic Identity in Canada: The Case of the “Satellite Children.” Youth & Society, 34(3), 359-384.

31. Tsang, A.K.T., & Ho, P. S.Y. (2002). Social work doctoral education in Hong Kong: A post-colonial snapshot. New Global Development: Journal of International and Comparative Social Welfare, 18(1&2), 113-122.

32. Ho, P. S.Y., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2002). The things girls shouldn’t see: Relocating the penis in sex education in Hong Kong. Sex Education, 2(1), 61-73.

33. Tsang, A.K.T. (2002). Community development and behavioral intervention. In Q. Chen & P. Jiang (Eds.), Community development in China and Canada (pp. 173-186). Beijing: The Ethnic Publishing House. (Published in Chinese)

34. Yan, M.C., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2002). Settlement house – A community development model and implications for China’s community development: A Canadian Perspective. In Q. Chen & P. Jiang (Eds.), Community development in China and Canada (pp. 226-242). Beijing: The Ethnic Publishing House. (Published in Chinese)

35. Tsang, A.K.T. (2001). Representation of ethnic identity in North American social work literature: A dossier of the Chinese people. Social Work, 46(3), 229-243.

36. Tsang, A.K.T., Yan, M.C., & Guo, H. (2001). Positioning Social Work at a Time of Rapid Changes in China: A Scientific Approach to Social Issues. Shehuixue Yanjiu [Sociological Research], 2001(2), 63-67. (Published in Chinese)

37. Tsang, A.K.T., Wang, S.B., Yan, M.C. (Eds.), (2001). Critical issues in the development of social work in China in the 21st century – Proceedings of the international colloquium in Beijing, June, 2000. Beijing: China Social Sciences Press. (published in Chinese)

38. Tsang, A.K.T. (2000). Clinical practice research: An integrated practice-oriented model. Journal of Social Service Research, 26(4), 69-90.

39. Tsang, A.K.T., Yan, M.C., & Shera, W. (2000). Negotiating multiple agendas in international social work: The case of the China-Canada Collaborative Project. Canadian Social Work Review, 17(Suppl), 147-161. (Special Issue for the Joint Conference of the International Federation of Social Workers and International Association of Schools of Social Work, June, Montreal, jointly published with Canadian Social Work and Intervention)

40. Chambon, A. S., Tsang, A. K. T., & Marziali, E. (2000). Three complementary coding systems for coding the process of therapeutic dialogue. In A. P. Beck & C. M. Lewis (Eds.), The process of group psychotherapy: Systems for analyzing change (pp. 311-356). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

41. Ho, S.Y., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2000). Negotiating anal intercourse in inter-racial gay relationships in Hong Kong . Sexualities, 3(3), 299-323.

42. Ho, S.Y., & Tsang, A. K. T. (2000). Beyond being gay: The proliferation of political identities in colonial Hong Kong. In A. Norval, D. Howarth, & Y. Stavrakakis (Eds.), Discourse theory and political analysis (pp. 134-150). Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

43. George, U., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2000). A profile of Former Yugoslavian newcomers to Canada: Settlement issues and implications for policy and practice. International Social Work Journal, 43(3), 381-393.

44. Irving, H., Benjamin, M., & Tsang, A.K.T. (2000). Satellite Children: An exploratory study of their experience and perception. In N.T. Tan and E. Envall (Eds.), Social work around the world (pp. 165-190). Schwaztorstrasse, Switzerland: International Federation of Social Workers.

45. George, U., & Tsang, A.K.T. (1999). Towards an inclusive paradigm in social work: The diversity framework. The Indian Journal of Social Work, 60(1), 57-68.

46. Tsang, A.K.T., & George, U. (1998) Towards an integrated framework for cross cultural social work practice. Canadian Social Work Review, 15(1), 73-93.

47. Tsang, A.K.T., & Bogo, M. (1997). Engaging with clients cross culturally: Using research and developing research for effective practice. Journal of Multicultural Social Work, 6(3/4), 73-91.

48. Francis, B., & Tsang, A.K.T. (1997) War of words/words of war: A dossier on men’s treatment groups in Ontario. Canadian Social Work Review, 14(2), 201-220.

49. Tsang, K.T. (1990). Sexuality and life: The challenge of human sciences. In M.L. Ng (Ed.), On sexuality (pp. 71-83). Hong Kong: Commercial Press. (Published in Chinese)

50. Tsang, K.T. (1990). Social factors of adolescent sexual confusion. In M.L. Ng (Ed.), On sexuality (pp. 171-183). Hong Kong: Commercial Press. (Published in Chinese)

51. Man, S.W., Tsang, K.T., & Ng, M.L. (1990). Sexuality and moral education. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing. (Published in Chinese)

52. George, U., Shera, W., & Tsang, A.K.T. (1997). Organizational change within universities: Beyond multiculturalism. Caribbean Dialogue, 3(2), 42-50.

53. Ho, E.D.F., Tsang, A.K.T., & Ho, D.Y.F. (1991). An investigation of the calendar calculation ability of a Chinese calendar savant. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 21(3), 315-327.

54. Luk, S.L., Kwan, C.S.F., Hui, J.M.C., Bacon-Shone, J., Tsang, A.K.T., Leung, A.C., & Tang, K.M. (1991). Cognitive-behavioural group therapy for Hong Kong Chinese Adults with mental health problems. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 25, 524-534.

55. Ma, J.L.C., & Tsang, A.K.T. (1988). Managing a marital case with sexual problems: A learning approach. Casebook of social work intervention 1988 (pp. 225-231). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

56. Lam, T.H., & Tsang, K.T. (1988). Understanding your work stress. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Management Association. (Published in Chinese)

57. Tsang, K.T. (1987). Between life and death. in J.T. Kaung and I.Y. Tan (Eds.), Death and the meaning of life (pp. 77-91). Hong Kong: Chung Chi College Theology Division. (Published in Chinese)

58. Tsang, K.T., & Lui, P.K. (1987). The sexual attitudes of Hong Kong adolescents: Current state and its social origins. in Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (Ed.), Adolescent problems in Hong Kong and Mainland (pp. 127-134). Hong Kong: the Federation. (Published in Chinese)

59. Tsang, K.T. (1987). Women’s liberation and sexual liberation. in Social Science Seminar Series (Ed.), Studies in mass culture and sexism (45-65). Hong Kong: Tsing Man. (Published in Chinese)

60. Tsang, A.K.T. (1986). Mental health and the quest of well-being. in T.P. Khoo (Ed), Mental health in Hong Kong 1986 (36-39). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Mental Health Association.

61. Tsang, A. (1986). Sexuality: the Chinese and the Judeo-Christian traditions in Hong Kong. Bulletin of the Hong Kong Psychological Society, 19/20, 19-28.

62. Tsang, A. (1986). Pornography as cause or pornographic experience as constituted. Bulletin of the Hong Kong Psychological Society, 16/17, 29-32.

63. Tsang, A.K.T. (1986). Feminism: A challenge for social work. Hong Kong Journal of Social Work, 20(1), 31-33. (Published in Chinese)

64. Lee, P.W.H., Ho, E.S.Y., Tsang, A.K.T., Cheng, J.C.Y., Leung, P.C., Cheng, Y.H., & Leih-Mak, F. (1985). Psychological adjustment of victims of occupational hand injuries. Social Science and Medicine, 5, 483-497.