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Leiko Ishizuka Japan

Leiko Ishizuka, a Franco-Japanese from New York,  sees hope for Japan

Born of a French mother and Japanese father but raised in New York, Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka is of three cultures.  Today, due to the Japanese crisis, she desires to return to Japan and be with the Japanese people.  She, her husband, and her two young children (4 and 7) are hoping to make that possible as of September 2012.

(Update:  Leiko Ishizuka spent four profound and life changing years in Tokyo after March 11th where she worked with profound Japanese artists and a variety of individuals involved in societal change.  To experience a peek of her work with Japanese artists, please see the utube videos on the home page www.beyondourbest.com.  As of August 2016, she resides in Singapore and wishes to continue and expand her work with Japan as well as learn and work with individuals from China and India, two countries of which she knows little.)

Seishin Joshi Gakuin: A traditional Japan

At age 16, Leiko enrolled as the first high school student from the United States to attend the all-Japanese traditional girl school, Seishin Joshi Gakuin.  There in the most traditional of Japanese schools, Leiko was initiated to the Japanese language, Japanese mythology, and Japanese brush painting during a four month exchange.

Mitsubishi Communications:  A Peek at Office Life

A following short summer internship at Mitsubishi Communications, gave her a peek into Japanese office life.  Like the Belgian author Amelie Nothomb in Stupeur and Tremblements Leiko Ishizuka served tea in the morning, arrived early, and spent much of her day asking how she might be of use.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution :  Original Research

At age 22, Leiko Ishizuka wrote a 240 page Summa Cum Laude thesis at Amherst College on Article 9 of the 1946 Japanese Constitution.  She received the Doshisha Asian Studies Award and written praise from Colonel Charles Kades, one of the Constitution’s founding fathers.  Ishizuka was fortunate to benefit from Kades’ guidance as well as input from Professor Ray Moore, Professor Donald Robinson, Jim Sutherland, and Terusuke Terada.

Keio University: A Struggle with Language

Leiko attended Keio for a six month exchange to better speak the language.

Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy: Psychology and International Affairs

While at the Fletcher School, Ishizuka wrote “Lessons from Preventive Health to Preventive Diplomacy,” winning an Eisaku Sato Memorial Essay Award.  Ishizuka was invited to the U.N. University in Tokyo.  During this time she also applied a hypothesis about how the affect fear influences economics and went to Berkeley for a year to work with Oliver Williamson (Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2009) to explore a paper she had presented at the Academy of Management.

Returning to Japan to be with the Japanese

Today at age 41, Leiko Ishizuka wishes to return to Japan in a sign of solidarity with the Japanese people.  She hopes to work with writers, thinkers, artists, deciders and those who hold the Japanese traditions and spirit dear.

While Leiko’s own father’s mentor, Dr. Taro Takemi, a long time President of the Japanese Medical Association, had once told her father, Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, “Not to return to Japan,” because the future was the West, Leiko Ishizuka believes this is no longer true.  She and Dr. Paul Briot, a Belgian essayist, see great hope in Japan.

They will share their optimism with their Japanese friends in an article they wish to publish in a Japanese newspaper in the next few months.

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Japan, Music and the Spirit

Japanese Earthquake : Empowering Children

Dimitri (age 6) and Leiko (age 4) asked me what they could do for Japanese children after the terrible earthquake and tsunami.  I did not know what to respond.  And so they taught me something.

All of us can do something; something quite ordinary, but powerful.  To provide a moment of silence or better yet, music for Japan.  It is not so much in grandiose acts, but in ordinary everyday ones that we make a difference.  And so both Dimitri and Leiko played the piano on Saturday 9th April 2011 for 15 minutes.  Both played their best, they played with their heart, and with no audience.

The organization for Belgium raised 3066 euros and will be sending the money this Friday to Japan.  Dimitri and Leiko — thanks to their sponsors –together raised 250 euros for the Japanese and their children.  Donors also in the US on their behalf gave to Japanese organizations, including a project to help re-build a hospital in an area of devastation.

Many thanks to all of you who on that day contributed with donations or with your thoughts, prayers, or music of your own.  Through the arts, and music, we all speak the same language.  Through that language we can lift the spirit.  Shin’ichi Suzuki raised ours by helping countless children develop sensitivity, self discipline and a noble character.

Today, by raising our own spirit a bit higher, by envisioning what is most noble in the human spirit, we join him and countless Japanese emerge from crisis.

Dimitri and Leiko would like to thank all of you.  Together with their parents they would like to tell the Japanese that it is through beauty, spirit and a desire to elevate ourselves that we are making a difference.  Shin’ichi Suzuki knew this truth, and we must live it with our Japanese neighbors, friends and loved ones.  And so it is us, who thank Japan and the Japanese for inspiring us with their calm, endurance and noble spirit.

with love, Dimitri and Leiko

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DSM Classifications, Disease model, Mental Ilness : help or barrier?

DSM Classifications


Q: What do you think of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) classifications?

A: DSM is a classification for diseases and disorders that is helpful for describing patients’ symptom presentations, for the disbursement of medication, and for insurance claim and reimbursement purposes. Today, this science based on a disease paradigm is outliving its usefulness–not because it is wrong, but because it is too narrow a worldview.

Mental maladjustment and suffering is serious and deserves care comparable to all other physical illnesses. However, the disease paradigm has its limitations and inhibits an advance in our understanding of how to build health both for those who are ‘sick’ and those in the general population. Most limiting, the disease model does not attempt to do what all natural sciences must: effectively explain, predict, and measure experiences that build health.

Natural science has already gone through such a paradigm shift over the last century, having been liberated from the Newtonian worldview that dominated science for 350 years. Relativity, quantum mechanics, and Bell’s theorem have provided the world with a far more inclusive and useful paradigm that has led to the rapid advancement of science.

After 150 years of domination by the ‘disease model’ psychiatry must undergo a similar transition. The Lifetrack model is one attempt to define a science of wellbeing. Naturally, all models must be continuously challenged, tested, refined or replaced (criteria for Health Models by Jahoda).  They are mere tools that are a means to accompany theexperience of well-being and a means to measure happiness.

Copyright © 2010 Lifetrack Corporation

Visit the Positive Mental Health Foundation to support a study of human beings at their best, happiest, and most creative form.  Link to us to promote health and happiness.

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DSM Classifications, Disease model, Mental Illness
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Japanese psychiatrist discusses DSM classifications, the disease model, mental illness and the necessity to move to a model of happiness and health.



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Contact Lifetrack

Contact Positive Mental Health Foundation

  • New York, USA
  • Biarritz, France
  • Brussels, Belgium

Please opt-in to the website. When we reach 500,000 members, we will create a full-fledged foundation to train, educate, teach, and apply assumptions about healthy human beings to many fields.

The Positive Mental Health Foundation is meant to educate.

Information on this site is not to be used for diagnosis, treatment or referral services and the Positive Mental Health Foundation does not provide diagnostic, treatment or referral services through the Internet. Individuals should contact their personal physician, and/or their local mental health agency for further information.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  Internet communication is not secure, may not be read every day and should not be used for urgent or sensitive issues.


If you would like to contact Dr. Yukio Ishizuka for a consultation for Lifetrack therapy call 914.967.6210 (New York, USA time).

Download Ottawa Journal Article (3MG) for more information on LifeTrackTherapy (succinct for therapy, academics or the press).

Press Information

We will do our best to respond to individual inquiries.  We will group responses to general questions in FAQ.


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Lifetrack press

Articles, Television, Lectures, DVDs, Radio, Links for Lifetrack

Dr. Yukio Ishizuka has made numerous television appearances as a psychiatric expert on major networks such as NBCNHK (Japan), Fuji-Television (Japan), TV Asahi (Japan), and Antenne 2 (France).  Newspaper and magazine articles featuring Dr. Ishizuka and his work with Lifetrack have been published in the New York TimesNewsweekUSA TodayReader’s DigestPsychiatric NewsL’Express (France), Voice (Japan), and Nikkei Business (Japan).  His first book, Self-Actualization (Kodansha Tokyo, 1982), sold over 45,000 copies in Japan.  The book was reprinted nine times.

Dr. Ishizuka has presented models of individual and organizational health with diverse organizations including AT&T and IBM as well as many Japanese, American, and European elite CEOs.  He is the founder of Japan International Students Association, the recipient of the coveted Japanese Health Culture Award in 2007 by the Minister of Japanese Health at the Japanese Imperial Palace.

Interview or Article

If you would like to contact Dr. Yukio Ishizuka for an interview for Lifetrack Positive Mental Health call 914.967.6210 (New York, USA time).

Please Download Ottawa Journal Article (3MG) for more information on LifeTrack Therapy (succinct for therapy, academics or the press).

Visit http://www.PositiveMentalHealthFoundation.com to understand individuals at their best, happiest, and most creative form.  Link to us to promote health and happiness.

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Quantify Happiness, Objective Subjective States and Happiness


Q: Do you really think you can define happiness or well-being and quantify it? Are you not attempting to quantify the unquantifiable?

A: Happiness means different things to different people.

Regardless of one’s definition, happiness and depression are not steady states, but can change from one moment to the next.  In other words, psychological experience is a quanta and is discontinuous. It occurs in spikes of thoughts, feeling and actions.

For this reason, the three spheres as defined by SelfIntimacy and Achievement (and the 41 parameters on the Lifetrack tracking sheet) is really just a snapshot of moments. Even with a simple 10 point scale tracking three psychological spheres, assessments may differ depending on when the person rates himself or herself. A rating may be different if the same person performs the exercise only a few minutes later (depending on what happened in the meantime) or what the person might have happened to think about when another self-assessment was being made.

Despite this fundamentally subjective and changeable nature of the self assessments (objective subjective), in the experience of Lifetrack therapy, repetitive self assessments according to the same fixed model yield highly valuable information.

To use an analogy, one can imagine that each individual rating is much like a droplet in our psychological experience. These droplets when viewed individually or in isolation may not tell us much.

However, when a patient uses the same model consistently over time, the droplets accumulate creating patterns, which take the shape of a fountain.

In this sense, one can think of one’s overall psychological state as a fountain, which keeps a certain shape, but consists of constantly changing and discontinuous droplets. While we may not objectively compare the level of happiness of one patient to another, we can compare the level of happiness in the same person at different points in time, particularly if such self assessments are performed frequently and regularly (daily for example). Although memory is short, one can reliably observe if one is happier or more depressed than the day before.

For more information on Quantifying the Unquantifiable see section under Approach: Happiness Defined? Quantified?

Copyright © 2010 Lifetrack Corporation

Visit the Positive Mental Health Foundation to support a study of human beings at their best, happiest, and most creative form.  Link to us to promote health and happiness.

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Quantify Happiness, Objective Subjective
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Japanese psychiatrist explores subjective happiness and shows us a means to quantify happiness.  The method shed’s light on objective subjective states.


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Prozac, Depression, Antidepressants and Health?

Drugs Prozac


Q: What do you think of medications such as Prozac?

Recent studies such as in the Journal of Public Library of Science Medicine suggest that Prozac, the bestselling antidepressant taken by 40 million people worldwide, does not work and nor do similar drugs in the same class. Patients that take it do improve – but those on placebo improved just as much as those on the drugs. Perhaps, the only exception is in the most severely depressed patients, but the authors claim that it is probably because the placebo stopped working so well, rather than the drugs having worked better.

Brain Chemistry Alone can not Explain Human Existence

Even if more effective and side-effect free medications in the future could suppress or even eliminate some stress symptoms such as depression, this does not present proof that the cause of the problem is chemical. Brain chemistry alone will never adequately explain the full human experience. Chemicals cannot replicate past individual experiences, nor can they help a person experience his or her full creativity, a successful close relationship or a meaningful existence.

Rather than becoming a Prozac nation, or indulging in drugs to dullen our sensations of pain, we need to build inner health.  Of course, when necessary, pain relief is humane and can be part of the process.  Regardless of whether we use medication or not,  the ultimate goal is not mere symptom relief, but happiness and health in all spheres of our life.

Medication is Symptom Relief

Rather than viewing stress as something that must be reduced or as an abnormality that can best be addressed by medication (some illnesses do require them such as psychosis, manic-depression, or perhaps severe depression). Yet most often medication is often purely symptom relief. In the process of treating these symptoms we need to view stress as a natural signal of an overwhelmed mind.

Stress as Opportunity for Growth

Dr. Ishizuka believes distressful setbacks are an integral part of a human being’s coping mechanisms. To indiscriminately use chemicals such as Prozac (or more effective medication given most antidepressants work as placebos) is to deprive the mind of its capacity to get distressed when it should. This may be detrimental to our optimal functioning and growth. Where there is nothing wrong with wanting to reduce pain in our lives (sometimes it is necessary and humane), to deal effectively with stress we have to recognize its nature and source. When we do so, we can learn to use stress as an opportunity to build health in the present: a stronger self, closer intimate relationships and meaningful achievement.

Copyright © 2010 Lifetrack Corporation

Visit the Positive Mental Health Foundation to support a study of human beings at their best, happiest, and most creative form.  Link to us to promote health and happiness.

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Depression, Prozac, Antidepressant
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Japanese psychiatrist, discusses depression, prozac, antidepressants and the difference between symptom relief and health.


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Organismic theory, Personality Definition, Lifetrack theory


Q: What are the similarities between Lifetrack and organismic or systems theory that views personality as an open system of interacting parts?

A: Organismic or systems theory, may be used to understand personality as a unity, and focuses on the integration of normal personality or health.  It does not analyze parts of personality in isolation, but in relation to the whole.

Lifetrack theory has much in common with organismic theory.  The lifetrack model of positive mental health as developed by Dr. Yukio Ishizuka proposes a comprehensive understanding of the individual both in distress and at his or her best.  The primary drive is towards self-actualization, and all parts of the tripod personality model (selfintimacy and achievement) interact with and influence each other dynamically.

Three Spheres

Unlike strands of organismic theory, which often assumes a constant equilibrium among parts, the parts of personality in the Lifetrack model influence and are influenced by the environment. A sense of self is not created in a vacuum.  There is no assumption that human beings are good and are perverted by the environment. A balanced personality organization is not the natural state of the organism, nor is disorganization always a sign of pathology.

Crisis and disorganization can be painful but are sometimes necessary to help the individual challenge and change the way he or she thinks, feels, and acts in key areas of life. In this sense disequilibrium, however painful, can become an opportunity for fundamental change.

Copyright © 2010 Lifetrack Corporation

Visit the Positive Mental Health Foundation to support a study of human beings at their best, happiest, and most creative form.  Link to us to promote health and happiness.

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Organismic Theory, Personality Definition, Lifetrack therapy
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Japanese psychiatrist, discusses organismic theory, personality definition, equilibrium and Lifetrack therapy.


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Henry Murray, 20 Motives or Needs, Human Psychology


Q: How is your approach different from Henry A. Murray’s large list of more than 20 motives or needs?

A: Henry Murray is best known for developing the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) a test to determine personality and unconscious motivation.  He is also well known for his list of 27 psychogenic needs, a list of needs largely at the unconscious level.

According to Murray, we both have primary needs which are biologically based such as the need for water, food, air, sex and the avoidance of pain, and secondary needs that derive from biological needs or are part of human nature.   Of the long list of 27 psychogenic needs, the most often cited for their importance in research are: achievement, power (dominance), affiliation, and nuturance.

The Lifetrack tripod Model is More Succinct than Murray’s

Because the three-sphere model seeks to determine the essence of, rather than great detail about, human personality, it is more succinct than Murray’s 1938 lengthy list of more than 20 motives or needs.  Lifetrack groups all psychological needs in three primary spheres: selfintimacy and achievement.  These needs can be just as important as biological needs and are not placed in a hierarchy.  They are not in a natural state of disequilibrium; they can co-exist in all healthy and distressed individuals.

To compare with Murray, the achievement sphere incorporates the need for power or control over the environment.  Affiliation and nuturance fall into the intimacy sphere.   Notably absent in Murray’s list is the self sphere.

Interaction Amongst Psychological Needs Provides Insight

In the Lifetrack model, the intimacy sphere encompasses all forms of intimacy, but focuses in therapy on the adult couple relationship.  The couple relationship is seen as the most direct, inter-dependent and intense human adult relationship in three dimensions: emotional, intellectual-social, and physical sexual.  As such, its impact on the human psyche is important.  Intimacy in this definition goes far beyond geneal feelings of associations or friendships amongst people or nuturance.

According to Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, each of the three spheres interact amongst each other and can influence change in the other.  In Lifetrack therapy, the most important catalyst for deep transformational change has proven to be the intimacy sphere (see breakthrough intimacy), even if the source of the problem may be found in the self or achievement sphere.

The three spheres (self, intimacy and achievement) are helpful to patients and lay people precisely because they remain conceptually broad enough to encompass all critical psychological events, yet simple enough to be remembered. At the same time, the tripod model has been further broken down into three dimensions or nine elements for each sphere (love definitionself definition and work definition).  Each of the elements are tracked and measured over the process of therapy by the individual.

Personality:  Patterns of Thinking, Feeling and Acting in one’s Self, Intimacy and Achievement Spheres

While Murray differentiated real environmental forces and perceived, in his model it is the psychogenic needs that give rise to personality.  How the environment will ‘press’ or put pressure on individuals and force them to act defines our personality; ie. which of the 27 psychogenic needs are expressed most strongly.

In Lifetrack therapy, the emphasis is on the perceived or subjective interpretation of life events that contribute to happiness or distress.  It is not on the actual ‘objective’ event in our self, intimacy or achievement sphere that ultimately matters, but on the individual’s experience of that event (objective subjective).  Personality can be defined as patterns of thought, feeling and action amongst our three spheres.  Some extreme personality types may emerge when one sphere is consistently given precedence over the others.

The spheres provide a conceptual means to cluster essential elements of our personality. People can grasp the essence of three spheres, but need not remember more.  For those who wish to actively improve in the spheres, the Lifetrack model of positive mental health is broken down into 41 parameters that are defined and can be tracked daily.  The Lifetrack model provides a definition of positive mental health which takes into account the rigourous criteria set forth by Maria Jahoda.

Using a visual model of the three spheres one can illustrate how individual spheres and elements overlap and interact.  The definition of each element enables us also to quantify subjective areas of life that create fundamental change.  Over time, we can better understand and measure how spheres of psychological existence contribute to our happiness or distress.  Each element in the tripod model of health is a small lever that can help us control subjective experience that determines our experience of health and distress.

Copyright © 2010 Lifetrack Corporation

Visit the Positive Mental Health Foundation to support a study of human beings at their best, happiest, and most creative form.  Link to us to promote health and happiness.

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Henry Murray, 20 Motives or Needs, Human Psychology
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Japanese psychiatrist discusses a human psychology of health Lifetrack therapy, Henry Murray, and 20 motives or needs.



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