Michiko Akahori, Ph.D
Life sometimes brings us a challenge that we never expected, where our ordinary approach to problem-solving no longer works, and we feel overwhelmed – even out of control. Some may simply set-aside whatever or whoever brought such discomfort to them and attempt to ignore or bypass the pain inflicted by these experiences. However, by doing so, the avoided thoughts, feelings, and images may persist whether we are aware of them consciously or whether they stay dormant somewhere in the back of our mind, only to emerge later.
There is another path through pain. The challenges inherent in life-changing events can be faced as novel opportunities to re-build a new and exciting life. Yet, as you may imagine, this is no easy task. I believe therapy provides a space where we take on this difficult task together, with someone you can trust. As treatment progresses, the challenge becomes surmountable, even though the individual’s life circumstances may remain mostly unchanged. This is made possible when the internal landscape of the person has changed; involving the acknowledgment and respect for the presence of the pain, learning of dynamic relational patterns, fostering of insight into core emotional conflicts, and finding the door to re-defining who you are in this imperfect world. You can begin to live a life in alignment with your values, build better rapport with yourself and others through more authentic connection to yourself, and walk a path of purpose.
I am passionate about walking this path with you as I have traversed it myself. I still remember waking up one morning in early spring of 2001, when I finally felt lighter and saw the world a little more colorful after a pivotal and transformative therapy session.
As a therapist, I feel honored to be part of this challenging and invaluable work with my clients. I understand the courage it takes for individuals interested in exploring themselves to invest their precious time, energy, and money into personal growth and transformation. I respect each individual’s readiness and apprehensions for the therapy process and create a therapeutic space where they feel safe and can take a deep breath. I align myself with my values of authenticity, openness, acceptance, integrity, and creativity in therapy. Depending on unique issues and goals of each individual, I tailor my therapeutic modality, from a strength-based, solution-focused, brief therapy approach, to a relation-based, long-term approach by which an individual may revisit their childhood to re-imprint their life experiences that have been limiting their momentum in the present day and future.
My understanding of the human condition and suffering is founded in attachment theory, humanistic-existential frameworks, psychoanalysis, and Jungian depth psychology. I strongly believe in the presence of a guiding force of life and a higher part of our consciousness that is beyond the understanding of our ego-centered awareness. I received a master’s degree in Psychology from New York University and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (currently Sofia University). I have been licensed as a psychologist in California since 2013, and I have served at-risk children and adolescents in school settings, adults with serious and chronic mental illness in a community mental health agency, geriatric patients in an adult day health care center, male adults in a correctional setting, and high-functioning adults pursuing further personal and professional growth.
I have been trained for hypnotherapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). My therapeutic approach is comprised of these modalities which are utilized based on the unique needs of each client. I am also a strong advocate for alternative and integrative medicine approach, valuing the wisdom of body for mental health. As a native of Japan, I provide therapy in English and Japanese, and I am sensitive to acculturation and inter-racial relationship challenges.
Out of the therapy room, I enjoy cooking (especially good Japanese food), dance, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, making soaps and candles, being in nature, journaling, working with my dreams, playing the piano, improvising music with my friends, and just being a human.
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