Q&A: “Do you know of any LGBTQ (or LGBTQ-competent) counseling services in Japan?”
Vesper, do you know of any LGBTQ (or LGBTQ-competent) counseling services in Japan? Specifically in the Yokohama/Tokyo area, but online resources would also be appreciated.
anon, you must be psychic, because you have impeccable timing. i just had a discussion with my psychiatrist about this the other day and was going to keep on procrastinating writing about how it went, but your ask was the nudge i needed to get off my ass and write The Thing.
you may be interested in reading The Thing, but in the interest of saving you some time, here’s a spoiler alert: my psychiatrist wasn’t all that helpful. if you’re looking for counseling services in English, he seems skeptical about there being anyone in the Yokohama / Tokyo area (in so far as he knows) who offer services specifically dealing with LGBTQIA people or the issues that we face. as for counseling services that are LGBTQIA-competent… while i’m sure that some exist, it’s hard to find them beyond word-of-mouth / personal references as being LGBTQIA friendly / competent often isn’t something that is advertised or listed among the services offered.
that said, as i mentioned in The Thing, i do have a few leads of my own that i just haven’t gotten around to vetting / trying out yet. one is Lil Wills, a British psychotherapist based in Kobe. she does not specialize in LGBTQIA-related matters, but she is gay herself and it seems that the belated therapist that i did know also knew her, so it’s my most promising English-speaking lead. it seems like she does Skype sessions, so me and another friend were going to get in contact with her and see where that leads.
i also recently discovered 横浜メンタルクリニック (Yokohama Mental Clinic) and am hoping to go there in person and check them out within the next month maybe? while the 戸塚 / Totsuka branch seems to specialize in trans (””GID””) health care, the ラピス / Lapis branch offers a variety of counseling services (how LGBTQIA friendly or competent they are, i won’t know until i ask), have male and female therapists on staff (a huge plus in Japan where the vast majority of medical professionals in general are men) and there’s some mention of English being offered for some services… no idea what services until i ask.
aside from that, there’s this guy (in Japanese), but i have not personally been to him and don’t know anyone who has, so cannot guarantee he’s even decent. i’ve also gotten some word-of-mouth recommendations from friends that i don’t have links to link you to… i’m afraid that that’s pretty much what i have at the moment in terms of in-Japan resources. if you’re open to doing sessions over Skype and juggling time differences, then you’ll have a lot more options as you can find many more people who fit your needs abroad vs in Japan. i hear that many people look into Skype counseling via therapists in Australia since they speak English and the time difference is much more manageable.
sorry i don’t have more helpful or promising information to offer you. whatever you do, if you do go to a place to try them out, do so with caution. look up the person online for reviews and such if you can (Japan’s shit about that, but still try). i had a friend who told me about a really really bad trial session he had in Tokyo this past week and…. yeah. sadly such stories are not uncommon in Japan. if you do happen to look into any of the people / services i mentioned here, could you let me know how it went? i’d love to hear how things go for you. i’ll try to do the same and post things here (or on my sideblog).
best of luck.
edit 09/05/2017: a very kind anon sent in this ask which reminded me that there is an LGBTQIA community center in Yokohama called SHIP Nijiiro Cabin that offers in-house counseling of the professional and other kind, proooobably in Japanese, but if that isn’t a problem for you, then they may be a good place to start. they may also be able to refer you to someone else if their services aren’t the right fit for you. see the other ask for a bit more information in English or their site for more information in Japanese. if you need help with the Japanese, let me know!