English Speaking Counselors and Therapists in Okinawa

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Why was this list created?

Even though Okinawa is small and services are limited for the English-speaking population, it can still be difficult keeping everything straight and finding appropriate care. I hope this list helps both providers and people seeking services.

I try to keep this list as up-to-date as best I can. If you see anything that is missing or incorrect, please let me know. I can usually get it corrected in a day or two.

Are all the counselors on this list qualified?

I follow legal and ethical guidelines set by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and International Mental Health Professionals Japan. This list contains clinicians or agencies who follow the same or equivalent standards. They are individuals or agencies that hold high qualifications in Japan or in their home country.

How do I make sure a counselor is qualified?

Japan’s mental health system is much different than the West. In Japan, the field of counseling is not regulated while in the West, especially the U.S., it’s regulated.

In the U.S., a person can find themselves in legal trouble for calling themselves a counselor, psychotherapist, therapist, or psychologist without the proper licensure. And to get a license, you need a minimum of a Master’s degree in Psychology and in most states around 3,000 hours of supervised experience. In Japan, this isn’t the case.

In Japan, anyone can call themselves a counselor, psychotherapist, therapist, or psychologist. So, people seeking services should be careful.

  1. Are they licensed? – I highly recommend going directly to a provider’s website and reading their about page. Any trusted provider will have a reasonable amount of information about their background, training, and experience. If they claimed to be licensed, a reputable counselor will tell you where they are licensed and list their license number. Simply do a Google search for their licensing agency and verify the license exists.
  2. Who are they licensed or certified by – It’s also worth doing some research about what organization or government-issued the counselor’s credentials. Is the organization or governing board reputable? What are the requirements to become licensed or certified? Did it require a supervised experience or just education?
  3. Trust your gut – Probably even more important than someone’s qualifications is your gut feeling when you meet your counselor. Is the environment professional? Are they present and listening or do they seem disengaged and rushed? Are they giving you advice and telling you what to do or are they helping you discover your own values and living according to those? Did they discuss their limits to confidentiality at the beginning? Do you do most of the talking or do they?

Are these all of my choices?

If there’s an Okinawa provider missing it’s either because I’m not aware of them or they aren’t licensed to equivalent standards talked about above.

If you’re aware of a resource you think I may have missed or that is on the list and no longer exists, please contact me.

If you’re looking for more options, I think the best place to go for qualified clinicians in the same time zone is IMHPJ:

International Mental Health Professionals JapanIMHPJ was created in 1997 to bridge help bridge the gap between mental health needs of foreigners living in Japan and the different standards of care between Japan and the West. The association has a strong code of ethics and members must apply and meet certain standards to be accepted as members. Many of the members provide teletherapy.

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