Explosions of Joy is a memoir about the grief counselor to families of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Four years ago on March 8, 2014, those families went to pick up their loved ones and saw “delay” on the arrival boards. Within the hour, they were instructed to gather at a hotel conference room because the plane had disappeared from radar. Paul Yin lived in Beijing and went straight there when the news broke. He immediately orchestrated counseling for all those involved by connecting them to insurance/EAP if they had it, trained counselors on the spot, and conducted his own sessions. He was the face on all the newscasts (CNN, Anderson Cooper, NBC, and many other international news outlets) as an advocate for the families.
The memoir follows his life as he fought to break through the barriers against mental health care which remained intact from Mao Zedong’s rule. Paul Yin, after studying psychology in California, fought hard to chip away at “political thought correction” in China to replace it with real, beneficial counseling. He has lectured to thousands of crowds, trained thousands of counselors, and was instrumental in establishing the Employee Assistance Program in China and parts of Africa. Paul has provided counseling to victims and families of several Chinese National disasters: SARS, the Sichuan Earthquake, Asiana Airlines 214 Disaster, and, most recently, MH370. Paul helped China realize the need for psychology, and he describes the ways he helped people find joy despite unspeakable grief.
Paul’s inspiration through his whole journey has been to put others above himself. He said, “I will never walk on water, but I want to be the droplets of water for others to walk on,” which was why, most recently, he agreed to accept a position as a teacher at a prep school for Peking University called Dalton Academy. As you can imagine, his teaching philosophy is having an amazing impact on young minds. Dalton’s top-requested field of study is now psychology in a country which just 20 years ago had very few ways to study the field, and a country where Paul Yin was told unequivocally, “Psychology has no place in Chinese society, and you know it!”