||This thesis investigates how sociocultural factors influence Koreans’ preference for alternative services instead of professional biomedical mental health services for disorders such as depression and anxiety in present-day South Korea. The starting point of enquiry is the claim that there are low biomedical mental health service utilization rates and the suggestion that people may prefer informal services over institutionalized, psychological care. This research investigates the possible conditions for this disparity, and the historical, socio-cultural reasons that may undergird such differential access. On the basis of a public discourse analysis, this thesis argues that a possible reason for this disparity could be that the access of professional services may be more stigmatized than alternative services. Due to a competitive landscape of possible alternatives, Koreans have a variety of options consisting of shamans, fortune tellers and pastors to choose from. Consequently, the following chapter shifts attention to the pull factors of shamanic ritual practices as a possible alternative for professional mental health care. This research suggests that as a result of a relatively more cultural sensitive approach, the flexibility of the shamanic ritual of kut furnishes feelings of reassurance, joy and unity for the client by providing means to individualize the ritual through language and materialization and a certain amount of playfulness.