Japanese culture is collectivistic by nature, and there are some culturally indigenous patterns which govern forming relationships in Japan. One of the important patterns is hierarchy. Counselling and psychotherapy are based on Western concepts and the Japanese view them differently. When the Japanese provide or use counselling and psychotherapy services, they generally follow Japanese methods of forming relationships, which results in a hierarchical relationship between client and therapist. In this article, after the hierarchical nature of relationship in the Japanese cultural context is introduced, reflections of this pattern of relationship in the author's therapeutic work with Japanese clients are presented. Suggestions as to how this dynamic can be used positively in the therapeutic setting are also made.
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