Women's trauma and healing in Japanese culture


This dissertation explores the reality of women's trauma and the effective treatment for traumatized women in Japanese culture. Current research on PTSD supports the universality of many of the biologically determined components of PTSD experiences, while the importance of considering the cultural aspect of trauma is also stressed. Key research questions were: Can PTSD and trauma-related disorders be diagnosed in Japanese women? To what degree are the trauma theory and treatment methods from the West applicable to Japanese women? The primary research method was a literature review supplemented by interviews with Japanese clinicians and reflections on the author's experience as a psychotherapist.In Japan, the interest in trauma has been rapidly growing in the 1990s, particularly after the year 1995 when the Great Hanshin (Kobe) Earthquake happened. The developing statistics of women's trauma in Japan signify a serious problem to women's mental health, as is found in United States. Although the literature is limited yet, the research indicated that Japanese women suffer almost the same symptoms of PTSD and other trauma-related symptoms as women in the U.S. One distinctive characteristic is that Japanese people tend to complain of physical pain rather than psychological symptoms. The assessment and treatment procedures for traumatized women were not studied enough in Japan. The author illustrated the effective assessment and treatment plan for Japanese women as an example. The Western trauma theories and treatment methods are applicable to Japanese women, requiring some additional devices. Supportive psychotherapy and EMDR seem to be prevalent approaches at present. Creative art therapy and body-centered approaches have the potential to be effective in Japanese culture. Vicarious traumatization in mental health professionals is becoming a serious problem in Japan, too. The author also paid attention to multigenerational trauma in Japanese society. The trauma caused by World War II is reviewed in an effort to suggest the enormity of the task we have in dealing with trauma. It is time for Japanese people to resolve multigenerational trauma so as to stop continuous trauma and to take care of traumatized people.






Kuniko Muramoto

Original Work Citation

Muramoto, K. (2001, September). Women's trauma and healing in Japanese culture. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 62(3-B), 1591



“Women's trauma and healing in Japanese culture,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 19, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17443.

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