Morita Therapy and the True Nature of Anxiety-Based Disorders (Shinkeishitsu)

By Shoma Morita
Translated by Akihisa Kondo
Edited by Peg LeVine

Subjects: Educational Psychology
Paperback : 9780791437667, 180 pages, April 1998
Hardcover : 9780791437650, 180 pages, April 1998

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Translator's Preface

Author's Preface

Editor's Introduction

Author's Introduction

1. Principles of Morita Therapy

Shiso-no-mujun: Contradiction between Ideas and Reality
Subjectivity and Objectivity
Emotion and Knowledge
Taitoku (Experiential Embodied Understanding) and Rikai (Intellectual Understanding)
Beliefs, Judgments, and Errors of Logic
Theories of the Unconcious
Nature and Artificiality
Objective Projection of Ideas
Obedience to Nature
The Opposing Function of Mind
Choice of Circumstance
Meaning of "Subjectivity"
Relationship between Attention and Consciousness
Harmonizing Function of the Mind
Guiding Principles of Emotions

2. Therapy for Anxiety Disorders with Hypochondriasis (Shinkeishitsu)

Origins of the Method of Treatments by Morita
The First Stage: Isolation and Rest
The Second Stage: Light Occupational Work
The Third Stage: Intensive Occupational Work
The Fourth Stage: Preparation for Daily Living
Pure Mind

3. The Effectiveness of Morita Therapy

The Effectiveness of Morita Therapy
Process of Recovery
Healing in Clients with Chronic Organic Dysfunction
Course of Treatment
Adverse Effects of Conventional Methods of Treatment

4. Therapy for Paroxysmal Neurosis

What is Paroxysmal Neurosis?
A Client with Attacks of Palpitations
A Client with Attacks of Gastrospasm
A Client with Attacks Resembling Labor Pain

5. Therapy for Obsessive Disorders and Phobias

Nature of Obsesseive Disorders
Therapeutic Focus in Treating Obsessive Disorders
Plunge into Fear
Recovery in a Client with a Fear of Stealing
Course of Treatment

6. Persuasion Therapy

What is Persuasion Therapy?
Adverse Effects of Logical Persuasion
Attachment to Ego
Ego-Centered Dogmatism
Attachment as a Biased View
Attitude toward Fear
Religious and Philosophical Persuasion
Return to Nature

7. Experiential Therapy for the Treatment of Anxiety-Based Disorders

Relation to Other Disorders
Sensitivity to Symptoms
Religion and View of Life
The Relationship between Superstition and Obsessive Disorders
The Rose of Education in Promoting Mental and Physical Health

Editor's Glossary of Morita Therapy Terms

Supplementary Section: Theories about Nature and Disorder that Inform Morita Therapy
Hypochondriasis and Anxiety
Classification of Anxiety-Based Disorders (Shinkeishitsu)
Reconceptualizing Personality Disorders
Classification of Dispositions



The first English translation of a seminal work in a therapeutic practice that holds increasing interest for Westerners.


This book presents the progressive nature of Morita therapy across four distinct stages: an isolation rest stage, a light monotonous work stage, a labor-intensive work stage, and the social integration stage. Essentially, the experiential knowledge the clients gain by moving through the inpatient treatment becomes the therapy. Though the classical therapy was initially designed to treat anxiety-based disorders, it is presently used in Japan, China, and Australia for depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Morita therapy fosters akiraka ni mikiwameru-koto in the client (clear discernment), and a healthy mind/body. Throughout the book, Morita reflects on the theories of his contemporaries such as Sigmund Freud, William James, Mario Montessori, and Jean Charcot.

Shoma Morita published the original Japanese version of this translation in 1928. This English translation was developed by Akihisa Kondo, a practitioner of classical Morita therapy, Zen, and psychoanalysis. Peg LeVine is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at Monash University and is the only English-speaking person outside Japan practicing the classical four-stage Morita treatment.


"Some of Morita's insights into the changeable nature of feelings and attention were ahead of his time. These insights fit well with some modern theories of how the dynamic brain works. " -- Henry J. Kahn, University of California-San Francisco

"This book is important in itself as a historical document as Morita therapy represents a unique form of treatment which has emerged out of Japanese culture. It presents a different perspective on mental health and impairment and thus another way of understanding human beings. " -- Mike Sayama, author of Samadhi: Self Development in Zen, Swordsmanship, and Psychotherapy