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Current State of Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Japan

A recent report by Yutaka Ono, M.D. and colleagues (2011) described the current status of research on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in Japan. CBT ranked first as the treatment method that medical facilities would most like to provide. On the basis of this information, the study group developed an individual CBT program for treating Japanese patients with depression. The program was based on the model developed by Aaron T. Beck, M.D., with some adaptation to address the cultural characteristics of Japanese patients. The Japanese government has made the treatment manual available on the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s website.

Since its introduction to Japanese psychiatrists in the late 1980s, CBT has greatly expanded in Japan, including the development of the Japanese Association for Cognitive Therapy (JACT). JACT, an organization of mental health professionals committed to the advancement of CBT, has grown to more than 1500 members. The Japanese government has been a strong proponent of the cognitive therapy movement. In addition to funding studies, the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry decided to establish a new Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Dr. Ono was named as a founding chief of the Center, which is set to open next month. In an effort to increase clinical expertise and standardize supervision of CBT, Dr. Judith Beck will be conducting workshops in May, 2011, in Tokyo.

Ono, Y., Furukawa T.A., Shimizu, E., Okamoto, Y., Nakagawa, A., Fujisawa, D., Nakagawa, A., Ishii, T., & Nakajima, S. (2011).  Current status of research on cognitive therapy/cognitive behavior therapy in Japan. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 65, (2): 121–129. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2010.02182.x.