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Individual and Couples Counseling in the Tokyo Area

When You Need Support

By Hilary Keyes
June 10, 2022
Health & Beauty

Finding professional individual and couples' counseling in Tokyo

There may be times in a person’s life when they need someone to talk to. While friends, family and advice columns are all options, sometimes you need to hear an unbiased, professional opinion on a matter. Sometimes, the situation or emotions you’re experiencing are far too personal, too uncomfortable or perhaps even borderline illegal for anyone within your personal life to truly help with. It happens.

Talking to a professional is important. More people should do it, in fact. Individual counseling can help with a lot of different issues, be they stress, bereavement or seasonal issues. However, when you live in another country, language and cultural barriers might make that feel next to impossible. And if you’re looking for couples counseling when you and your partner come from different cultural backgrounds and might not understand each other’s languages completely, that’s an even bigger hurdle.

You deserve to be your best self, regardless of what a partner, family or society says.

Fortunately in the Tokyo area, there are a number of professionals that offer their services in English and in other languages as well. If you simply search for clinics in Tokyo, you’ll find several that come up repeatedlybut whether or not these specialists are any good is the next question. You can’t always trust online reviews, nor should you especially when it comes to your own mental health or the health of a relationship.

It can also be hard to ask others about counseling or therapists. There’s still a lot of stigma attached to mental health in both Japan and overseas, which can make it difficult even to approach the subject. With that said, if you are in need, you should reach out and get it for your own sake. You deserve to be your best self, regardless of what a partner, family or society says.

While this is not a comprehensive list, these are the most widely approved and recommended counseling services in the Tokyo area as endorsed by individuals and mixed ethnicity couples, Japanese couples and foreign couples living in Japan (about 80 people and 100 couples over 15 years).

Details of their services, fees and availability are found on their websites.

Tokyo Mental Health

  • Location(s): Tokyo, Okinawa
  • Online: Available
  • Languages: English
  • Couples counseling: Available (separate appointment page)
  • Website: Tokyo Mental Health

Tokyo Counseling Service

  • Location(s): Setagaya Ward
  • Online: Available
  • Languages: English & Japanese
  • Couples counseling: Available
  • Website: Tokyo Counseling Service (currently under construction)

Sky Counseling & Consultation Tokyo

Aoyama Bright Life Counseling Clinic

TELL Counseling

  • Location(s): Tokyo, Yokohama, Okinawa, and Kyoto
  • Online: Available
  • Languages: English, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Spanish; flyers available in Bahasa Indonesian & Spanish
  • Couples counseling: Varies
  • Website: TELL Counseling

Individual Specialists

If you would prefer to find your own specialist, there are two services available, International Mental Health Professionals Japan and via Japan Healthcare Info

Japanese Language Only Clinics

There are scores of Japanese language-only clinics to choose from, as well, for both individual and couples counseling. However, they do expect you to be able to communicate at a native or near-native level of Japanese. You may be required to prove you are proficient in Japanese or bring a translator with you otherwise. For individual counseling in Japanese, you should ask your primary healthcare professional for recommendations as you may need a referral in order to get an appointment due to the pandemic.

Individual and Couples Counseling in the Tokyo Area© Photo by iStock: Tero Vesalainen

Some ward offices offer individual and couples counseling services, although these tend to be few and far between thanks to the pandemic. Ask at your local ward office if they have any of these services, or if there are any counseling services available in your ward as wellthese may be covered by Japanese National Insurance.

In terms of couples counseling specifically, some Japanese clinics offer services for international couples as well. That being said, you are expected to be a near native-level Japanese speaker in order to participate. If you are not but would be more comfortable with a Japanese counseling clinic, you may be required to hire your own translator first. You’ll need to discuss this with the clinics beforehand, as each have their own rules and requirements regarding translation services as well as any associated fees.

Mejiro Sola Clinic

  • Location(s): Mejiro Station
  • Online: Based on needs/circumstances
  • Languages: Japanese, consult regarding translation services
  • Couples counseling: Available
  • Website: Mejiro Sola Clinic

Hiroo Stress Clinic Psychiatry

  • Location(s): Minato Ward
  • Online: Available
  • Languages: Japanese, consult regarding translation services
  • Couples counseling: Available
  • Website: Hiroo Stress Clinic Psychiatry

Fufu Mondai Sodanshitsu Forte (Fufu Forte)

  • Location(s): Shinjuku Ward
  • Online: Available
  • Languages: Japanese, consult regarding translation services
  • Couples counseling: Only service provided
  • Website: Fufu Forte

English Only, Online Only Services

There are also many counseling options available online as well. Three of the most recommended services for couples counseling are Better Help, Talk Space and ReGain.  Details of their services, fees and availability can be found on their websites.

As these are overseas-based services, you may need to book appointments late at night or early in the morning Japan time in order to get the most of them.

Domestic Violence and Other Helplines

Sometimes the kind of help people need requires professional, perhaps police, assistance. If you are the victim of domestic violence or aren’t sure and want to talk to someone to get a better understanding of your situation, there are also ways to get help.

The Domestic Violence Hotline Plus is a phone, email and live chat service that began in response to the shocking increase in reported domestic violence incidents during the pandemic lockdowns. The helplines are available 24 hours a day. Telephone and email consultations are Japanese only, but chats are available in English, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese. Select the language that you require at the top of their homepage and follow the instructions provided.

Victims of sexual violence should consult the Sexual Violence Relief Center Tokyo (SARC) as soon as possible as they can help you with the police and any medical needs on a 24-hour basis. 

The Yorisoi Hotline is a service dedicated to Japan’s foreign community and offers aid on everything from visa issues to domestic violence and international trafficking. This service is available in Japanese, English, Tagalog, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Vietnamese, Nepali, Indonesian and others, although availability varies.

And of course, if you need someone to talk to, TELL Lifeline is available as well.

Finding the right kind of help for you isn’t easy when you live abroad, but hopefully with this guide you have a better idea of where to start.

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