Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



Program Name/Specialization

Spiritual Care and Counselling


Martin Luther University College

First Advisor

Kristine Lund

Advisor Role



Han is an indigenous Korean concept signifying a depth of internalized human suffering, caused primarily by a long history of socio, economic and political oppression. Han can also be understood as the deep psychological wounds of the Korean people. This study focuses on the Han experiences of elderly Korean immigrants living in Canada. The main purpose of the research is to provide a better spiritual care for such seniors who live as a marginal population. For a holistic understanding of their Han, the literature review examines Han-related history, religion and psychology, and explores Han experiences in the family and the ethnic church/community.

The ethnographic qualitative research consists of interviews with ten elderly Christian Korean immigrants and records their personal, family and community Han stories. These Han experiences are analyzed under the three sub-concepts of Han: Jeong-Han (love and hate), Won-Han (revenge), and Hu-Han (emptiness). As a new and distinctive result of this study, the elderly people’s Han experiences are viewed from a relational family system perspective. Thus Jeong-Han is seen as excessive emotional attachment, Won-Han as offender-victim conflict, and Hu-Han as emotional cut-off/disconnection.

To overcome the experience of Han, the thesis proposes three indigenous healing methods: Jeong-Han for Jeong (pure affection) re-connecting, Won-Han for Dan (cutting off) re-building, and Hu-Han for a Shin (vital energy) based care relationship. Added to these three indigenous methods, and as part of a brief theological reflection, three spiritual concepts are applied, derived from relational, incarnational and paradoxical theologies. Finally, the study examines not only Han pathology, but also draws out the wisdom and mature spirituality the elderly Koreans have gained as a result of their Han experiences.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season