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It's not "forgetting it."

It is about "being free from it."

When unpleasant memories hurt you

Sayaka Kawase Psychotherapy Clinic specializes in trauma treatment.  Our goal is not to erase your painful memory because, let's face it, you cannot forget what is still hurting you.  Instead, we will help you gain control from past, instead of letting "that" memory control you.  Through our treatment, you still remember what happened to you, but its memory will become so insignificant that you are no longer overwhelmed by fear and pain.  When you are free from past, you can focus on now and future. You move on your life.  That's our goal. 

What you will achieve is not just recovery.  I would like you to heal and be free from your emotional pain as quickly and completely as possible.  It is my mission to make that happen.  Our evidenced-based cognitive behavioral intervention can effectively guide you until our goal is achieved.

Trust yourself.  You have an ability to overcome your worst fear.  And you are not alone.  I will be next to you all the way through this journey.  Imagine how your life, relationship and future will look like when you are free from pain.  Getting there is possible if you try. 



Sayaka Kawase, Ph.D. LCSW


March 11th, 2011.


That day shook me to the core and changed my perspective of life entirely.

Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami made me realize that an incredibly unfortunate incident could happen to good people who have never done anything to deserve it.  Tsunami took so many innocent lives of adults and children in a moment.  It also took away hope, future, and dream of those who survived.  It's so unfair and unreasonable, but it was a reality.

Traumatic events don't discriminate race, gender, or age of people.  It can happen to anyone, including you and me.  Furthermore, no one can explain a reason why such a tragedy had to happen to a particular person.  No one, absolutely no one deserves trauma.  Lack of explanation, along with their deep grief and sorrow, leads people to further confusion and isolation. 

"What can I do?"

It is the big question to myself since the day.  This internal question became bigger and louder after I moved to Japan and engaged in disaster relief work in Ishinomaki, Miyagi for 5 months.  I quickly learned that more specialized skills and expertises in trauma was needed in those affected areas.  I became determined to be a better skilled clinician so that I can serve more people and most importantly, bring them peace and relief as quickly as possible.  This is how my search for superior psychological interventions began. 




I use evidence-based trauma interventions, including Prolonged Exposure Therapy, EMDR, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and STAIR/NST.  Understanding psychological structure of trauma as well as fear/anxiety mechanism is critical for effective treatment. Our goal is to achieve complete recovery with minimum risk of relapse.  


When we are severely hurt, it's our instinct to avoid getting hurt again. When your defense mechanism is working too hard for you, however, it can interfere with your brief system, including trust and self-worth. Unresolved emotional pain often negatively impact on your current and future relationships with people who are important to you.  You can learn how to stop this cycle now.


Depression almost always comes with trauma. As my trauma focused therapy includes treating chronic depression comprehensively, I have extensive clinical experiences in depression treatment.  I also developed a unique therapeutic approach to grief while working with trauma survivors who suffer from significant losses.  


By integrating my cultural background into my professional field, I have been working with international and interracial couples for 20 years.  My couples therapy approach is solution focused, guiding couples to learn how to better communicate with each other.  You will learn skills to continue utilizing at home without having a therapist.  


Another expertise of mine is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment, called Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (Ex/RP). OCD and other compulsive disorders require specific interventions, such as Ex/RP and HRT.  Conventional supportive therapy has limitations in treating these conditions.  

PCIT: Parenting

As a part of my efforts to stop trauma cycle, I learned Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to assist parents to build strong bonding with their children.  PCIT focuses on behavioral interventions to increase good behaviors as well as to decrease unwanted behaviors of children. Parenting can be science. Through PCIT, parents will learn evidence-based parenting approaches and dramatically reduce uncertainties in parenting. 

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