Dear Colleagues and Friends
Two years has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Its impact is still large and has kept us individually in shock either in visible or invisible ways. Especially Fukushima has faced a nuclear power plant issue with its people being exposed to a reality of living with anxiety and tension in an unstable environment where their physical safety has not even been secured. The trauma accumulated up to second, third, and fourth after the earthquake, falling on hidden anxiety, increases the stress, takes up physical and mental strength and triggers numerous negative effects. These effects has already started to become real found in chronic fatigue, sleep disturbance, pervasive depression, increase in adult diseases, children’s anxiety of developing cancer, unusual reckless accidents , abuse, violence, and distressing problems of suicide including health problems resulting from stress.
For the past two years, IADP in cooperation with The East Japan Center for Free Clinical-Educational Service (EJ Center), founded in Sendai, Miyagi as a Lions Clubs Disaster Project has extended its support after the earthquake from the standpoint of psychoanalysis and dynamic psychotherapy. Its activity is to treat and prevent PTSD, a psychological wound that could easily become hidden by individuals and the society. Dynamic psychotherapy and psycho-therapeutic intervention having applied it, aim to go beyond just minimizing psychological pain from negative to zero but also bring people’s spirit alive and strengthen it even more than that of before the earthquake. Yet, the voice of calling for its importance has not been heard. Individual’s avoidance saying “Let’s just forget about the quake”, and closing their eyes on his or her pain falling on the avoidance of the society, leads to pervasive PTSD from the earthquake. Following the previous conference in Sendai, the IADP has decided to have the conference in Koriyama-city, one of the major cities in Fukushima. It is an endeavor to release their power from their ground state from the overloaded stress by facing and talking about their wound and stress in Fukushima where the sense of crisis is still at large.
We have invited national and international experts working in front lines; Seth Aronson, Psy.D., CGP, FAGPA, one of the leaders of 9.11 PTSD treatment project for adolescents in the US, Ralph Mora, Ph.D. an authority of traumatic treatment of war PTSD and children, Sadanobu Ushijima and Kazuya Yoshimatsu who have led psychoanalysis and psychiatry in Japan, and have successfully organized training programs on depression and PTSD for professionals.
We will also host “AGORA”, a psycho-educational workshop to support aftermath of the earthquake for organizational leaders at cooperation, administration, school, kindergarten, nursery, and hospital whose leaderships are expected in their communities in Fukushima from now on. Above all, Dr. Hidefumi Kotani, who belongs to a trauma/disaster task-force special research team of The International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes and also the president of IADP, together with Mr. Fusaaki Koike, an honorary adviser of the Sendai-Aoba Lions Club and will demonstrate Kendo (Japanese martial arts) for us, will conduct a workshop to enable us to experience our power from the ground state which is significant for “psychological recovery” . In the end of the conference, we will have a forum open to citizens led by Tomoaki Adachi of EJ center , to clarify outcomes and problems of the supports for the disaster up to today, and have all the participants seek for the next action.
We, the adults, should first face ourselves and try to resume our strength hidden in our minds in order to let children living in the community bearing thethe history of Fukushima, Tohoku, to have hope to grow their minds strong. Born in Fukushima and as a professional of psychotherapy, I call for the participation of those who want to challenge this crisis and strengthen your ability. For “the recovery of tough, stress-resistant Fukushima and Tohoku!”
Kazunori Hashimoto, Ph.D., CGP (USA)