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Person Centered Psychotherapy Japan

The Introduction of Carl Rogers’ work in Japan, the seeding and growth Person Centered Psychotherapy within Japan and its integration into the mainstream of counseling and group therapy practice and the teaching of psychology.

Person Centered Psychotherapy was first introduced to Japan by Logan Fox who was born in Tokyo in 1922 and grew up there until he was ten years old when his family moved back to the United States of America. In the late 1940’s he was a student of Carl Rogers, the founder of client centered psychotherapy, at the University of Chicago. Logan was later to write, “Studying with Carl R. Rogers, I learned a new definition of love.“ young visiting missionary in his mid-twenties and worked at what was later to become Ibaraki Christian College. With him in his belongings he brought a copy of Roger’s book, “Counseling and Psychotherapy” 17 and he, In March 1948 he returned to Japan as a 16 “... gave it to a young psychologist, Fujio Tomoda, who had been strongly skeptical of the traditional authoritative approaches being used at many schools then. Tomoda found this book very impressive (Tomoda, 1956) and published ist Japanese translation in 1951. He later became one of the most prominent leaders having a strong influence on disseminating CCT in Japan.

In 1955, when Tomoda published the Japanese of Client-Centered Therapy, Tomoda and Fox held the first counseling workshop in a completely nondirective and unstructured manner for about 50 participants form all over Japan (Fox, 1968). The unauthoritive way in which the workshop was conducted was remarkable for that time and very successful. The participants of the workshop brought back new ideas and enthusiasm with them and began to organize conseling study groups and /or organizations in their local communities. The activities of those groups and organizations provided the impetus to expand CCT in Japan through the 1960’s.” 18

In 1961 Carl Rogers came to Japan for a six week period. In that time he conducted five intensive workshops, each one for one week in duration, in Ibaraki, Kobe, Kyoto and Tokyo locations. The influence of these workshops on the early pioneers of client centered psychotherapy who experienced and received training in these workshops conducted by Rogers sensei was profound and long lasting and endures to this day.

Tomoda introduced and taught Person Centered Psychotherapy at Tokyo University of Education. In 1951 his translation into Japanese of “Counseling and Psychotherapy” into Japanese was first published. A small study group of psychologists, including Tomoda Fujio, formed together to study Person Centered Psychotherapy. Dr Fujio founded the first counseling center in Japan to practice client centered counseling and psychotherapy under the name of Tokyo Counseling Center. (This was later renamed as the Nihon (“Japan“) Counseling Center which is currently located in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo.

One important way that more humanitarian and way of conducting psychotherapy was by information and experience disseminated was through the efforts of individual psychologists teaching at various prestigious universities who established prominence and gained popularity for their ideas.

“With respect to the influence of CCT on individuals at universities, Morio Saji at University of Tokyo played an important role in the introduction of Rogers’s theory and approach to a number of students in counseling and psychotherapy. As well as teaching, he conducted remarkable studies on CCT and PCA and applied them to seriously disturbed patients, including schizophrenics. Tadashi Masaki of Kyoto University has also played an important role in the expansion of CCT in Japan. When Arthur T. Jershield came to Japan in 1948 as a visiting professor, he gave a lecture on the principles of Roger’s (method of psychotherapy). Masaki, an educational psychologist, was moved by his lecture (Ito, 1959) and later began to teach Rogers’s theory and approach in his classes. A forerunner of Roger’s study in Japan is Haruko Tsuge, who took a class of Rogers when she was a student at the University of Chicago in the mid 1950’s (Tsuge & Asada, 1988). “Tomoda was 31 years old when he had his first dramatic encounter with client-centered therapy (CCT). At that time, he was a member of the school counseling department of Tokyo Bunrika University (now the University of Tsukuba). He had almost given up his career because he was in deep despair over the tendency in clinical psychology practice for the counselor only to give advice to the student. It was considered the students’ fault if the problems were not solved. …

… In 1952, Tomoda wrote a book titled, “Gaidansu ni okeru Mensetsuhou no Gijutsu” (Counseling Techniques in Guidance) from the transcripts of his counseling sessions. This was the first book about counseling by a Japanese author. In 1955, he translated Client- Centered Therapy (Rogers, 1951) into Japanese.

Later he had a central role in the publication of Rojaazu Senshuu (“The Complete Works of C.R. Rogers”), which has 23 volumes (Tomoda et al., 1965 - 1969)”. 19

The modern day revision and publishing in 2002 of a new 30 volume edition of “The Complete Works of C.R. Rogers” in Japanese under the editorship of Dr Suetake, Dr Kuno and Dr Osawa, three of the leading practitioners and authorities on Person Centered Psychotherapy in Japan today, it a testament to the fact of the fundamental influence Carl Rogers has had and also continues to have on the field of counseling and psychotherapy in Japan.

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