My name is Roy, and I practice distance counseling with English speakers in Japan. Yep, I do speak Japanese, but I work in English. I could also do online counseling here in my home state of Oregon, but Oregon isn’t part of the story behind my distance practice.
I lived in Sapporo, Japan for three years from 2007 to 2010. My day job was teaching English to middle and elementary school kiddos as a member of the JET Program. Teaching was great, but it wasn’t the profession I trained for. I wanted to get practicing counseling, even if it was an all-volunteer deal. That’s when the legwork began.
Finding My Way
He was a gentle-looking young man, a cop in the coastal town of Otaru. His name was Hideki. He looked genuinely shocked.
I – well, our mutual friend Rosemary, really – had just explained to him what police in America do when a mental health clinician calls and reports that they believe someone may be about to commit suicide. It took several efforts, as he kept thinking he must be misunderstanding our English. When it got through to him, he couldn’t believe it.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.
Click here to read the entire PDF version of the A Distance Counselor’s Ohanashi*: Coming to Work with People in Japan article.
Roy Huggins, MS NCC is a mental health counselor in private practice in Portland, OR, USA. When he’s not jawing about Japan, he’s jawing about digital ethics, online marketing, and security and privacy issues for mental health clinicians at www.personcenteredtech.com.
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