Psychologist Ayako Ishida Talks about Mental Health in Japan

Amélie Geeraert
Kokoro Media
Published in
21 min readMar 1, 2024

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Ayako Ishida has been a psychologist in Japan for eight years. Highly motivated in helping others, she works as a school counselor and as a clinical psychologist at a hospital. Through helping her clients on a personal level, she is also a witness of social issues and changes in Japan’s society. In 2020, on top of dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, Japan has seen its children’s suicide rate hit a record high. Read on to learn about Mrs. Ishida’s take on these events, what her job consists of, and the current situation regarding mental health in Japan.

Being a Psychologist in Japan

Can you explain the path that has led you to become a psychologist?

When I was a university student, at first, I was not interested in becoming a psychologist. Originally, I wanted to become a researcher in social psychology because I wanted to work inside a university, and I had some interest in this field. Later, I realized being a researcher is a hard job that requires solid knowledge of statistics.

The main reason I started wanting to become a psychologist, though, comes from the fact I had to study many aspects of psychology. It led me to want to work directly with clients. My university had a great clinical psychology department, with many teachers who…

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Amélie Geeraert
Kokoro Media

Living in Japan since 2011. I love interviewing inspiring people.