Psychological counselling has experienced a substantial surge in China over the last two decades. Based on an ethnographic study of psychological counselling centres in the city of Jinan, the author explores how social discourses of psychology extend to the level of practice, and how this process is facilitated by recent political and economic changes. As psychological services not only promote, but are also predicated on a new mode of self-responsible citizenship, psychological centres are inclined to address problems of groups who embody high "potential" and who are seen to carry an important role in the modernisation of Chinese society.