How to Find a Therapist

You can find IMHPJ members by:

A Guide to Searching
Why the IMHPJ Therapist List Is a Useful Resource

Finding Professional Counselors and Therapists in Japan can be a challenge.
Many “counseling” services aimed at the international communities offer practical information about daily life and legal matters, but few offer assistance for emotional distress, marital conflicts, depression or addictions. That’s why we are here.

So, you may ask: “How do I choose?” Because research shows that the single most important factor in counseling is the relationship, we encourage you to find a fit that works for you.

You can choose from counselors based on a variety of information, for example:

  • education
  • specialty
  • level of experience
  • gender
  • fee
  • language and culture
  • location

(For those outside of Kansai and Kanto it should be noted that many therapists offer phone or internet counseling.)

What Is Special about IMHPJ Therapists

All IMHPJ Clinical and Associate Clinical Members are trained mental health professionals who have shown proof of their education and experience. Importantly, they have signed a pledge to abide by IMHPJ’s Code of Ethics (see the Ethics Code on this website). While this is not a guarantee, it does provide some critically important safeguards for clients choosing a therapist. As well as spelling out the rules of ethical behavior, the IMHPJ Code of Ethics also provides a method for clients to lodge complaints against Clinical and Associate Clinical Members. We must assure, to the best of our ability, that all therapy is provided in a safe and ethical manner.

IMHPJ therapists are in one of two categories:

  • Clinical Membership
  • Associate Clinical Membership

Clinical Members have met the IMHPJ criteria for fully independent practice; Associate Clinical members have the education but not yet the full experience and/or supervision parts of the IMHPJ criteria. It is important for you to review each clinician’s background to determine if they have the experience and specialization to best help you.

Some Definitions

Since IMHPJ members have been trained in different places all over the world, the distinction we care most about is whether a person has appropriate clinical training, supervision, and experience in the field of mental health.

The terms “counselor," "therapist" and “psychotherapist” are often used interchangeably. To practice independently this usually means having an MA in Psychology (or equivalent), at least two years of supervised clinical experience and passing an exam.

Psychiatrist - A qualified doctor who can prescribe psychotropic (psychiatric) medication. Some psychiatrists, referred to as psycho-pharmacologists, offer only prescriptions and medication management; but others also practice psychotherapy.

Psychologist - As well as offering talking therapy, clinical (i.e. counseling—as opposed to academic, research, occupational, etc.) psychologists have training in psychological testing.

Social Worker - As well as providing social services in hospitals and agencies, most social workers also practice psychotherapy.

Psychoanalyst - Some psychotherapists have special training in this in-depth type of therapy.

IMHPJ therapists are typically well versed in the availability of other community resources, and can assist with referrals/recommendations as part of your treatment—for instance, should you require medication. It is important to be clear that your potential therapist has the clinical skills, education, and training in the issues for which you seek help.

We hope that this IMHPJ List of Members will help you find the help you seek.