Depression, Anxiety, and Acculturation Stress: Mental Health Services in Japan

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Moving to a new country is a wonderful experience, but it can also be fraught with unexpected stresses. Once the novelty of strange pickles and taking wrong turns wears off, what should be simple basics like figuring out bus schedules or building relationships with coworkers can be overwhelming. Coupled with the loneliness of not having yet developed a strong social network, it can be difficult to manage the arising anxiety and depression. At the same time, living in a new place and environment can be a great opportunity for working through chronic issues arising from past trauma, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse.

We are always happy to see more English-speaking mental health services in Japan becoming available for residents outside expat hubs like Tokyo and Osaka. One great example is Tohoku English Counseling Services (ToECS), the first and only provider of psychotherapy in Northern Japan dedicated to helping foreigners with their mental health needs. Established in 2014 by Eric Des Marais, ToECS serves children, adolescents, adults, and couples.

ToECS is located in Sendai, Miyagi. Both face-to-face counseling and teletherapy are available. Eric, a resident of Sendai for six years, has been providing mental health services since 2003 and is trained in a range of modalities including individual and group therapy, family therapy, and mindfulness training. ToECS maintains the same exacting high standards of professionalism, ethics, and confidentiality available from health providers in North America.

Eric’s approach combines empathy, guidance, and years of experience to help people make positive changes in their lives. By examining the interaction of thoughts, feelings, and actions, Eric helps his clients to cross the bridge into making positive changes in their lives.

Eric Des Marais, MSW, LCSW, holds a license in Clinical Social Work from the state of Maine, United States. In addition to his private clinical practice at Tohoku English Counseling Services, he also is an adjunct faculty at Tohoku Gakuin University

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