Sunday, 18 November 2012

Getting a Psychological Evaluation in Not-Tokyo-Japan

Rorschach Test
Source: Wiki Commons

Sometimes it feels like Tokyo is another country. Everything seems so easy there. It is teeming with ex-pat psychologists and international schools and foreign food stores. I still wouldn’t swap it for my rice-paddy studded home in Kyushu though. 

As part of our adoption application we each need to receive a psychological evaluation. At first we wanted to find a native English speaking psychologist or psychiatrist, because we were worried about nuance and shared cultural knowledge. As I said, there are quite a few in Tokyo. We are not in Tokyo, however. We were told that we had to do the assessment in person, not via video-conference, so Tokyo was out. We found an American psychologist only a day’s drive away, but he is with the Navy and was out of the country when we hoped to make an appointment. We decided to find a Japanese psychologist with an English publication history, and found a few in Kyushu. Some were no longer working at the hospitals we had contact information for. One thought we wanted help with “adapting in Japan”, and when we clarified that it was “adopting” he suggested that only a major university could handle something like that. After more than a month of calls and emails we finally found someone who would see us and made an appointment. 

The next big challenge is going to be my dear husband. He has decided that all psychologists want to hear about is “how you feel about your mother”, has his fingers crossed for ink blot tests in a white room with steel furniture and wonders if we will be asked why we’re just leaving the tortoise on its back in the sun. Maybe a lack of shared cultural knowledge will be a good thing, on second thoughts… 

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