The Morita School of Japanese Psychology Alternative
My interest in developing the Morita School was driven by multiple problems I perceived as a therapist who has spent my career working in large health care systems; problems that not only impact the quality of therapy available, but also restrict access to the quality care that exists. Third party payment systems create inherent conflicts of interest. Conflicts between treatment missions to provide quality care, and the need to restrict access to those services based largely on financial motives. The result is a system that is hard for people to understand and navigate, consisting of fragmented and poorly coordinated services, that are ridiculously expensive and difficult to access. People may end up trapped in systems of care that arguably make their problems worse, or at least not much better at a cost of thousands of dollars. These same people frequently cannot access therapeutic treatments with a proven track record in treating the problems they are dealing with. I was therefore interested in creating a method to provide quality therapy within a system that avoided such conflicts of interest.
I spent 5 years researching and training in a variety of therapeutic approaches with robust evidence of their effectiveness in cultivating wellness. This drew me to a cluster of therapies broadly referred to as mindfulness-based behavioral approaches. This includes treatments like Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which have demonstrated efficacy in treating issues like depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, personality disorders, chronic pain, living with chronic illness, as well as increasing productivity at work and school. As my interest in these approaches deepened, I began to explore Buddhist Psychology which led me to a discovery of Japanese approaches, like Morita Therapy and Naikan. I spent 3 years to pursue my certification in Japanese Psychology which shares many things in common with other mindfulness-based behavioral approaches, but which I have found to be more effective in my clinical experience. The Morita School resources combine these approaches to address a wide array of problems.
Japanese Psychology is technically more of an educational approach, and therefore less dependent on the development of a “therapeutic relationship”. The cost of traditional therapy is in part the result of needing to treat one person at a time face to face. It is also the result of dependence on a third party payment system that requires therapists to spend more time justifying and seeking payment for their services than actually providing therapy. The educational nature of Japanese Psychology lends itself well to group interventions and internet based services that can allow for dramatic cost savings. The Morita School, for example, can offer 2 weeks of unlimited access for $25.00 and a full year of unlimited access for less than a dollar a day. Compare that to traditional therapy which usually begins at $100 for a 50 minute hour.
If you are a therapist offering a cutting edge therapeutic approach, like Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and your client needs to move outside of your system, you will often be unable to provide that person a referral. Such approaches may not be available in rural settings, or may not be covered by many insurance providers, leaving people who value this kind of therapy with the difficult choice of paying expensive out of pocket costs, or going without therapy they find effective. At best people will often find themselves on long waiting lists to enter something like a good DBT program. The Morita School Approach may not be the answer for all clients. However, for those who benefit, it provides an approach that is totally portable. As a therapist you will find resources on the Morita School Website that you can use to introduce your clients to the basics of Japanese Psychology. For $40.00 your clients can have a month of unlimited access to tools they can use to study these concepts between therapy sessions, lowering the cost of therapy and encouraging clients to take responsibility for their own self-development. For $300, a typical cost of 3 therapy sessions, they can enjoy access for an entire year. The Morita School Website is an ever expanding educational resource center. It can be accessed anywhere and at any time a person can link to the Internet. If your therapy setting has arbitrary session limits, set by third party payers, The Morita School can greatly expand your reach as a therapist. Clients can choose to remain members of the Morita School for as long as they wish.
The ethics surrounding conflict of interest issues in mental health are complicated to resolve. Who decides how much therapy is enough? When does therapy end? Who determines if therapy is working? How can a therapist avoid developing a dependent relationship with their clients that may serve the therapist’s financial and self-esteem needs more than the client’s needs? When insurance rather than client’s pay for therapy, what incentive does the client have to make the most of this purchase? These questions are complicated, but there is at least one solution that is pretty straight forward. That solution is choice. When we purchase most other goods and services, we have the freedom to do our own research and choose what appears to be the best value. If we later change our mind, we stop purchasing those goods and services. Therapy is often selected in a blind referral process. Clients are rarely given adequate information or options to make a fully informed choice. It may take several sessions to know if the therapist you have chosen is a "good fit". There is often a perceived power and expertise difference between client and therapist that complicates choice, and the investment of time and energy as well as issues of limited options often makes clients reluctant to “therapist shop”. The Morita School alternative is like any other educational resource. If you find the products useful, you continue to support their development by purchasing subscriptions. If they are not improving your life, we would encourage you to make a different choice.