I wondered about this myself when I was dealing with a bout of labrynthitis a couple years ago and the doctors kept telling me the reason I felt so bad was due to a mental issue. They were wrong, although I suppose it was technically, "all in my head." However, it got me thinking, what if I ever needed counseling here in Japan? Would I be able to find help? Someone that would understand me and not form opinions based on one culture?
So I sought out answers from an expert: psychotherapist and clinical psychologist Andrew Grimes of Tokyo Counseling Services. We discussed a few different things, including:
- The most common psychological issues expats in Japan experience
- How the work culture in Japan affects emotional well-being
- How counseling and psychotherapy are addressed in Japan versus western countries
- How to find an English-speaking counselor if you don't live in Tokyo or another major city
- What you should be aware of when preparing a move to Japan and ways you should prepare, especially if you have a family
- Culture shock, when it happens, what it might look like and how to deal with it
- Why getting out of the "expat bubble" sometimes can be good for your mental/emotional health
- What mental health professionals in Japan have been doing to help the recovery process in Tohoku
Today we're doing something a little different with this interview - you'll find it below in audio form rather than text (although hopefully I can get it transcribed eventually). It's my first audio interview, so you'll have to excuse the fact I'm not quite as talented as the Japan podcasters out there, but I think the content in this interview if insightful and worth a listen.
Click here to listen to the interview.
Please check out Tokyo Counseling Services:
Tokyo Counseling Services
Address: KS Residence, Daizawa 2-30-21, Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, Japan. 155-0032
Resources for finding an English-speaking psychologist or psychotherapist in Japan
Some were mentioned in the interview, plus a few more:
AMDA International Medical Information Center - They help find medical providers in Japan who speak your native language, including English and several other languages.
Japan Healthcare Info - Help finding an English-speaking medical provider in Japan
The Japan Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists (JSCCP) provides a resource (Japanese-only) that helps locate JSCCP-approved therapists in any part of Japan, and can be searched for by language, among other specifications. You can use a browser translation tool to help you navigate it, or ask someone you trust who can help you read it and search.
Wiki-tell and Tokyo English Life Line (offers free anonymous telephone counseling and online resources)
Himawari - Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information Center (Tokyo area only) - Find a hospital with English-speaking doctors in the Tokyo area.