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Chikako Ishii (MS, Marriage and Family Therapist)

Psychotherapist—Adult Individual & Couples Counseling / Children and/or Families

Ms. Ishii is an English and Japanese bilingual psychotherapist, with more than 30 years of clinical experience.

As a family therapist, she approaches therapy through context (family history), communication (between family members), and beliefs. Rather than delving into deep emotions, Ms. Ishii focuses on behavioral aspects and interactions within the family, related to the idea that small changes made by each member of the family can create a ripple effect that reverberates to other members in the family system. She believes that families have good qualities, resilience, strength. Under certain circumstances, it can be hard to see this, but through family therapy, she aims to elicit these together with her clients. Ms. Ishii also approaches grief therapy through a family therapy lens, assessing how families cope under a circumstance of ambiguous loss or bereavement by aiding the family in understanding one another’s ways of expressing grief. During difficult times, individual roles and boundaries in the family may shift. She believes that knowing how other members in the family are coping and dealing with the traumatic situation can help the family move on as a unit and balance each other amidst a difficult situation.

Ms. Ishii works at TELL Counseling with families, multicultural couples, and individuals. Her clinical interests and expertise include parent-child relationships, couple relationships, and ambiguous loss and bereavement.

She spent 11 years in the United States where she received her Master of Science degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Butler University in 1993. She is an approved supervisor and a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy. In addition to her work for TELL Counseling, she also serves as a member for the education and training committee of the Japan Association of Family Therapy. She is a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement, and is also a member of the Japan Disaster Grief Support Project. She has co-authored books and articles on family therapy and grief therapy in both Japanese and English.

Outside of therapy, Ms. Ishii enjoys skiing—she does both downhill and cross-country skiing! As both she and her husband grew up in Sapporo, Hokkaido, they love the snow and cold weather and often spend time there. She also enjoys yoga, as it lets her pay attention to her own body and mind.

Key Concepts: family history, communication, beliefs, behavioral aspects, interactions, ambiguous loss, bereavement, families, multicultural couples, individuals, parent-child relationships, couple relationships, family therapy, grief therapy

o Family therapy: a type of therapy based on the idea that actions taken by each individual in a family system influences the rest of the system. Working not just with individuals but with the family unit, each member of the family is encouraged to work with one another to improve family dynamics and understand how their role in the system influences the others involved.

o Grief therapy: a type of therapy often used with people who have lost a loved one, but may also be used for ambiguous loss, or loss without death. The goal is to encourage the client to process and express grief in order for them to feel calmer and less stressed by the traumatic situation they have faced. The therapist aims to help the client discover the energy to move forward in life even through a difficult situation.