Written by MATCHA_En
Counseling Services In Japan Recommended For English Speakers
Having mental and emotional support no matter where you live is important, and Japan's mental healthcare for English speakers plays a vital role in the international community. Learn about reputable English-language counseling and psychiatric services in Tokyo and other areas and online support.
Counseling in Japan with English Speakers - Getting the Support You Need
There are many times in life when we may need or want mental healthcare. While there are many different ways to cope with tragedy, illness, relationships, and other issues, counseling is an option that helps a lot of people. Obtaining the support you need is a necessary part of living a healthy and fulfilling life, no matter which country you are living in. Combine this with the stresses of living during the current coronavirus pandemic: it's a challenging time to be in Japan.
Despite the growing number of depression cases and other mental health issues in Japan, obtaining mental and emotional health from psychologists and other professionals is still not a widespread practice.
However, there are excellent clinics in Tokyo and large cities and online support available in English and other languages. Read below to learn more about what to expect when caring for your mental health in Japan, and recommended facilities where you can get help to feel better and move forward.
Please note that the content of this article deals with mental illnesses and mental healthcare, and may touch on topics of suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and other sicknesses. Please be aware that this could be triggering if you are especially sensitive to these issues. Call 119 (Japan) or your local emergency hotline if you are in danger. Always consult with a professional when making decisions about your mental health.
Mental Healthcare Costs and Insurance Coverage in Japan
Compared to other medical expenses, mental healthcare, like visits to a psychologist or psychiatrist in Japan, is expensive. The average cost of one counseling session in Japan with an English speaker and expertise in international clientele is around 8,000 to 15,000 yen. Please note that this varies by the psychologist or psychiatrist, but most clinics charge around this amount.
Most clinics like these, with support in English and foreign languages, will not accept Japan's national health insurance, nor most health insurance provided by private companies. This makes it all the more important to find a counselor and service that is right for you.
On the other hand, many clinics charge via a sliding fee scale that allows you to pay the amount you can depending on your income level and whether or not you are employed. Be sure to contact the facility you are interested in to discuss a payment plan and options.
How to Search for English-speaking Counseling in Japan
For a reputable way to find high-quality help, we recommend searching on the International Mental Health Professionals Japan, which has a directory of a network of accredited professionals who are fit to serve the international community of Japan.
This directory has therapists in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, and other locations throughout Japan. Some can provide online therapy sessions, as well. The website lists the location of each professional, along with their credentials and expertise, cost per session, the languages they can offer services in, and how to get in contact with them.
Click here to see the directory of clinical and associate clinical members, who all have educational and professional certifications, with extensive experience with mental healthcare for the international community in Japan. All can provide services in English, and many can speak other languages, too.
Recommended Counseling in Japan
Below are facilities with therapy services in English that best suit the needs of international residents in Japan. For details on appointments and counseling services, inquire directly.
Please note that the practices below specialize in counseling and do not provide prescriptions for psychiatric medicine. Those seeking psychiatric help will usually get a referral to a separate clinic.
TELL - Online Sessions, In-Person Sessions in Tokyo, Yokohama, Okinawa
TELL is one of the most well-known mental healthcare facilities in Japan. All TELL therapists and psychologists speak English, and many can accommodate other languages as well. With offices in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Okinawa, as well as distance therapy, allowing people to get support online, TELL is an invaluable resource for anyone looking for help in Japan. Child therapy, as well as family and couples therapy, is also possible.
TELL does not prescribe medicine, but they can refer you to psychiatrists and places to receive a prescription if needed.
For phone and online chats, TELL also runs LifeLine, a free support communication system for English speakers in Japan. For anyone wanting to talk to someone, no matter what the issue, please call the number below or see the website.
TELL Lifeline (every day, 9:00 to 23:00): 03-5774-0992 (regular phone call charges apply)
TELL Chat (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 22:30 to 2:00): Click here for the free online chat
TIP - In-Person Sessions in Tokyo and Online Support
TIP, standing for Tokyo International Psychotherapy, is an English-Japanese bilingual clinic with offices in western Tokyo. TIP offers individual sessions for adults, child therapy, couples therapy, and other forms of counseling. Most visits are face-to-face, but it is possible to switch to online sessions if you live far away or outside of the city. As of April 2020, all counseling services are online.
The clinic is small but has well-trained counselors with education and professional experience in the United States and English-speaking countries abroad. The professionals here will work with you on all types of issues and make you feel heard and cared for during 50-minute or 75-minute sessions. See their official website for more information and to consult with someone about starting sessions.
Similar to TELL, the psychotherapists at TIP do not prescribe psychiatric medicine but can get you in contact with professionals who can help you get the prescription and support you need.
Tokyo Mental Health - English-Speaking Psychiatrists and Counselors in Tokyo
For those needing or considering psychiatric help, Tokyo Mental Health is an organization with therapists in downtown Tokyo that also offers psychiatric treatment at an associated clinic for those dealing with depression, anxiety disorders, and other health issues. This is one of the few mental healthcare clinics with this service in Tokyo and Japan.
Click here to see the official website for details.
Counseling in Kyoto, Osaka, and the Kansai Area
Compared to Tokyo, there are fewer mental healthcare facilities and English speaking counseling services in the Kansai region of Japan. As of July 2020, there are no organizations or large-scale practices providing therapy in English in the Kansai area. However, some recommended services are listed below for those seeking in-person counseling in the area.
For those looking for sit-down, in-person therapy sessions, this private counseling practice in Kobe (via train––around 30 minutes from Osaka, 10 minutes from downtown Kobe) offers thorough English language therapy services for a variety of issues. Call or send an email to get in contact. To find other options, be sure to search on the International Mental Health Professionals Japan directory.
The Dawn Center in Osaka offers counseling services in English for women and has a hotline for over-the-phone consultations. Those in Kyoto can contact APT, a group within the YWCA, via email or phone.
APT in Kyoto: firstname.lastname@example.org or 075-451-6522 (multilingual support, Mondays 13:00-16:00, Thursdays 15:00-18:00).
Online Mental Health Resources and Options
There are still many other options to try, even if in-person therapy doesn't fit into your schedule or needs. Making use of international services and smartphone applications can be a helpful way to keep your mental health on track. Below are some of the most widely-known and suggested.
Talkspace is a counseling tool that can be used even while in Japan. The service will match you with a licensed therapist with whom you can talk online via video and text chat. The most basic plan costs around $260 USD, or approximately 27,000 yen, per month.
Another similar service is BetterHelp, a service similar to Talkspace that is known in particular for its helpful live chat sessions. After being matched with a licensed therapist, you can communicate via video chat, text, and phone. BetterHelp costs around the same as Talkspace.
Both the online counseling platforms above are based in the United States, so you might have trouble finding time to talk to your therapist. Be sure to communicate in advance your Japan location and your time zone differences to decide when and how to reach each other.
Mental Health Care in Japan is Possible
Although not as common as in other countries, there are valuable mental and emotional support and treatment options in Japan. If you are considering getting help, please do not hesitate. Trying to improve your health in Japan requires planning, research, and courage, but it will pay off in the end. It does get better.
If you or another person is in danger, please call Japan's emergency number at 119.
If you have had suicidal thoughts or just need someone to talk to in English, please call 03-5774-0992 (TELL Lifeline, 9:00 to 23:00 daily).
Click here to get live chat support on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between 22:30 and 2:00 (TELL Chat).
Main image, all photos in article by Pixta.