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Japanese Culture and Therapeutic Relationship

By Yuko Nippoda


Japanese culture is collectivistic by nature, and there are some culturally indigenous patterns which govern forming relationships in Japan. One of the important patterns is hierarchy. Counselling and psychotherapy are based on Western concepts and the Japanese view them differently. When the Japanese provide or use counselling and psychotherapy services, they generally follow Japanese methods of forming relationships, which results in a hierarchical relationship between client and therapist. In this article, after the hierarchical nature of relationship in the Japanese cultural context is introduced, reflections of this pattern of relationship in the author\u27s therapeutic work with Japanese clients are presented. Suggestions as to how this dynamic can be used positively in the therapeutic setting are also made

Topics: Clinical psychology, Japan
Publisher: ScholarWorks@GVSU
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Scholarworks@GVSU

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  2. Compare hierarchical structure in Japanese society with that in your own culture.
  3. Discuss your opinion about Japanese hierarchy described in this chapter.
  4. Discuss your opinions about two points raised in this chapter which might enable the hierarchical relationship to be a therapeutic one.
  5. How do Japanese clients, in general, perceive therapists?
  6. How does therapy show progress when focused on fostering authority within the client?
  7. In what ways do you foresee therapy going wrong if Western therapists do not have a good knowledge of the Japanese hierarchical relationship?
  8. psychology, individuation is emphasised. Do you think individuation should be focused for Japanese clients?
  9. The dependency of Japanese clients can be seen as childlike in the West, whereas it is the way of respecting authority in Japan. Discuss your view about this.
  10. think these kinds of attitudes are presented in other non-Western cultures?
  11. What is the general attitude of Japanese people towards counselling and psychotherapy?

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