Morita Therapy

Morita therapy was developed by Shoma Morita, a Japanese psychotherapist, psychiatrist, philosopher, researcher, and professor, in 1919. It was initially created to help patients with Shinkeishitsu (hyperlink), an outdated Japanese term for anxiety disorders. It is different from western perspective since this holistic approach aims to improve functioning by helping individuals accept their symptoms and live with them instead of eliminating and controlling them. This psychotherapy is generally described as ecological, goal-oriented, and response-centered; it is influenced by Zen Buddhism and it views unpleasant emotions as a natural part of the human experience. Morita explained that both positive and negative feelings are components of the law of nature. It reorients patients’ framework by preventing them from thinking and worrying about their symptoms since preoccupation intervenes with the natural healing process.

Morita therapy has four stages: absolute bed rest, light occupational therapy, heavy occupational therapy, and complex activities.

In the first stage, the individual is secluded and is encouraged to have a full rest for four to seven days. He should be temporarily kept away from “intrusions” such as watching television, work, and visitors. The patient only rises when he needs to go to the bathroom. When he conveys that he is bored and wants to be productive, he may then move to the next stage which is silently engaging in light and monotonous tasks such as journal writing. Heavier physical activities such as climbing stairs and sweeping are prohibited. The patient also goes out and communicates with nature This is done for three to seven days. In the third stage, the values of patience, empowerment, and confidence are instilled through creative work such as painting and carving as well as humbling tasks like scrubbing toilets. This also lasts for three to seven days. In the last phase, the patient is reintroduced to the society and is taught how to integrate clearer thinking, meditation, conscientious habits, and a closer relationship with nature with his lifestyle. Ideally, he will embody peace, hope, joy, and acceptance after the therapy.

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