This article reviewed the development, progress, current status, and future direction of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in Japan. First, the history of CBT in Japan was briefly reviewed, including a description of the development of two major societies and their respective journals: the Japanese Association for Behaviour Therapy (later renamed as the Japanese Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies) and the Japanese Association for Cognitive Therapy. Second, we reported on the existing evidence relating to CBT in Japan, including randomised control trials for depression, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and childhood anxiety disorders. Third, two established training systems for psychologists were outlined: (a) the National Training System for Cognitive Therapists, sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; and (b) Behavioural Therapy Specialists, qualified by the Japanese Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies. We also reviewed the pathways to qualification as a clinical psychologist in Japan, undertaken through graduate training courses accredited by the Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists. Furthermore, we discuss the 2017 launch of the first national qualification standards, which has the potential to instigate dramatic change. Fourth, the impact and role of the national health insurance scheme in relation to psychological qualifications in Japan was described. Finally, future directions for cognitive behaviour therapy in Japan were discussed.
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