Japan

English Speaking Therapists in Tokyo and Beyond

It's Almost Impossible to Find An English Speaking Therapist in Japan

Finding an English-speaking therapist in Japan has been likened to spotting a unicorn due to the rarity. The availability of Japanese-speaking therapists, let alone English-speaking ones, remains extremely limited. The concepts of counseling and psychotherapy are rooted in Western traditions and are mirrored in Japan accordingly.

The following cultural considerations contribute to the barriers to finding an English speaking therapist:

English Speaking Therapists in Tokyo
  • Medical Model – The Japanese tend to lean toward a medical treatment model, often resorting to medication for mental health concerns. 
  • Speak to An Elder – Traditionally, you would speak to an elder about concerns, not a therapist. In addition to this, communication tends to be be more indirect, so having therapeutic conversations would be considered a weakness.
  • Hierarchy – The significance of hierarchy in Japanese culture extends to the dynamic between clients and therapists.
  • Work Culture –  If you are participating in the Japanese work culture, it may be difficult to find the time to go to therapy.  
  • Gaman – Absorbing the Japanese cultural concept of “gaman” which essentially means to suffer in silence.
  • Language barrier – Doing therapy in your native language is twice as effective as doing it in another language.  While you may speak a second language fluently, the effort required to do so takes away from the therapeutic process.  It is this effort of language that can be contributing to the actual mental health struggle.
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – There is still a stigma around mental health and discussions of emotional topics.  Inner lives are just not spoken about.

English Speaking Therapists That Are Culturally Congruent to You

Working with Apricity Expat Therapy allows you to overcome all of these barriers. Our therapists have a Western orientation towards therapy, are native English speaking expats and are fully licensed. Apricity Expat Therapy not only addresses your need for an English-speaking therapist, but we also understand the expat experience and how culture can play a role in our mental health.