Have you heard of Morita therapy?
I hadn’t until yesterday. In one of my psychology classes we were discussing alternative treatments for mental health and we were asked to compare them to the Western model of treatment (typically psychoanalysis/counseling).
Anyways, traditional Japanese Morita therapy looks a little like this (information taken from my class notes!):
- Phase 1: complete isolation and bedrest for 7-10 days. Complete silence and meditation.
- Phase 2: Light work outside but still done in silence. Start to journal. Another 7-14 days.
- Phase 3: More strenuous work usually involving expression/creativity. Attend lectures from doctor and continue journaling. Time for this phase varies depending on nature of the injury.
- Phase 4: Back to normal life but attend weekly group meetings.
Since it’s development in the early 20th century, Morita therapy has been adapted somewhat to be less strict. However, it is still widely unavailable in the United States.
Our class used this information to discuss the differences in mental health therapies. I am a big supporter of therapy (obviously, I want to make it my future career!) and I believe it can come in many forms. I think the popular outpatient therapy works well with our culture in the United States. In our culture, we value time management and efficiency, so devoting one hour or more a week to therapy is probably more feasible for most people. We are also a very individualistic culture, so the one-on-one client patient relationship is probably more appealing. In more collectivist cultures, the client-patient relationship may be frowned upon because it pays too much attention to the individual.
Is our way the “best” way? I’m not so sure. I don’t know if there is a right way for therapy. I do believe that for therapy to be most effective, the person in therapy needs to be doing the work rather than the therapist. The therapy/doctor only serves to help the patient do the work. In Morito therapy the patient is really forced to do the work, especially in the first two phases because they are on their own. I can see where this technique many be more effective in treating health issues. However, I think that therapy ultimately needs to agree with a person’s culture and personal beliefs; there is no “wrong” way to go about it.
Thoughts? How would you feel as a patient of Morita therapy?
Jam of the day: Coldplay “Don’t Panic”