In 1961, he entered Keio Medical School in Tokyo, where he taught himself English and founded the Japan International Medical Student Association (JIMSA) with the support of Dr. Taro Takemi—the long-standing President of the Japanese Medical Association and a well-respected physician and nuclear physicist. Upon his graduation from Keio, Ishizuka informed Dr. Takemi of his plans to pursue post-graduate training in the United States. “You should not return to Japan,” advised Dr. Takemi. Yukio Ishizuka understood that he was being set free.
In 1965, the young graduate left Japan to complete a rotating internship at Jefferson Medical College Hospital in Philadelphia. The following year, he was one of 25 physicians accepted for residency in psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center of Harvard Medical School. Elated, Dr. Ishizuka took a trip to Europe on a two-week discount ticket, spending much of his savings in the process. During this trip he fell in love with a French woman, Colette, who would follow him to the US several months later, marry him, and inspire much of his work.
Towards the end of his residency in Boston, Harvard Professors Elvin Semrad and David Riesman encouraged Dr. Ishizuka to undergo further training in psycho-analysis. Dr. Ishizuka briefly considered going to Mexico City to study under Erich Fromm. Unconvinced, however, that psychoanalysis could enable people to become healthier and happier, he left psychiatry and was hired by McKinsey, and international business consulting firm. After several years of consulting for McKinsey in Paris, Amsterdam, Toronto, and New York, he did mergers and acquisitions. It was during his fourth year of mergers that one of his work colleagues became depressed. Dr. Ishizuka’s rewarding experience helping his friend led him to return to the field of psychiatry in 1976.
Having been taught to approach complex problems as a whole by defining and measuring ‘objectives’ critical for organizational survival and success, he returned to his own field eager to understand the existing criteria for positive mental health. Instead, he found a growing list of mental diseases and disorders (Diagnostic Statistic Manual of Psychiatry). Whether one suffered from anxiety or depression, successful psychiatric treatment demanded the elimination, reduction, or containment of disease. To be healthy is not to be sick. There was little if anything on positive mental health, well-being, and happiness.
At that time, Dr. Ishizuka remembered the work of the American psychologist Maria Jahoda, who in 1958 published “Current Concepts of Positive Mental Health.” The monograph introduced guidelines for the evaluation of models of positive psychology. Unfortunately, in 1976 little work had followed. No model of positive psychological health was developed or tested with patients. It was his mentor, Dr. Jack R. Ewalt, the man who was in charge of the study by Jahoda, who pushed him and others not to give up on health. As Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ewalt continued to challenge his students to question prevailing medical doctrine and conceptions on health by learning directly from patients, rather than using their own words to define and treat illness.
Dr. Ishizuka, drawing both on the East and the West, his experience in psychiatry, and most importantly, his patients, developed a science of health. That paradigm incorporates both an understanding of the mind in distress and optimal well-being. Over the years, he used and tested the model with different nationalities and people from all walks of life. Rather than examining stress, disease, and illnesses, Ishizuka asks different questions of his field: What is the objective of therapy? What does it mean to be well? How do we measure wellbeing as a part of a cycle of life?
The model of human personality and experience that he developed incorporates man’s search for self, the need for intimacy and the quest for achievement. It also incorporates peak positive and negative experiences and an understanding of physical health. The tripod model has withstood the demanding criteria put forth by the American psychologist Maria Jahoda in 1958 on “Current Concepts of Positive Mental Health” for the creation of new models of health defined in positive terms. Dr. Ishizuka’s work helps us to build health far beyond a previous best level of health, happiness and optimal adjustment. Working to overcome a fear of the unknown, he has defined and quantified the subjective nature of wellbeing and one working model of positive mental health and human personality (objective subjective).
Dr. Ishizuka’s has been using, refining, and testing the model of positive mental health with over 2000 patients in the last 35 years of his daily practice. With a good sense of humor, a great sense of balance, and over 40,000 session hours examining millions of graphs on health and happiness, he has fine tuned a science of health and well-being. His approach on healthy human beings has been presented to numerous fields including economic man, war/crisis/health, national health, Japan and organizations.
Today through his busy private practice, he continues the work that Dr. Ewalt incited him and other residents to undertake. He hopes that insights that arose during Lifetrack therapy can contribute to each person’s life purpose ; the experience of much higher levels of self, intimacy and meaningful achievement. Through this website and future books he hopes to share with other psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners, academics, and most importantly the general public.
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka graduated from Keio University Medical School, Tokyo, Japan in 1964. He completed his residency in Psychiatry at Mass Mental Health Center, Harvard Medical School in 1969. He is the founder of Japan International Medical Students Association (JIMSA), which received the coveted Japanese Health Culture Award in 2007 by the Minister of Japanese Health at the Japanese Imperial Palace. Happily Married for 44 years with three children, he is also a member of the Salmagundi Club of N.Y. as a resident artist.
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Happiness and Health
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, A Japanese Harvard trained psychiatrist presents a new model of Health and Happiness. Explore a science of happiness, the cycle of life, life purpose, objective subjective, stress types, and a life way that integrates both East and West.
Happiness and Health, Excellence and Well-being
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Japanese Harvard trained psychiatrist who left psychiatry to work at McKinsey (management consulting) and later mergers and acquisitions, returns to his field with a new question: what does it mean to be well? Explore individual and organizational excellence and wellbeing.
Happiness and Health
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, A Japanese Harvard trained psychiatrist presents a science of happiness, a new life way or life purpose.