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Yoko Hamada, Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies

Studying mental issues from babies to adults

We learn how a baby’s “mentality” is nurtured through interacting with his/her family, and study various mental issues of today that involves babies to adults.

Prof. Yoko Hamada and students

I studied psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy under the late Dr. Keigo Okonogi along with training of psychiatry. Before giving birth to my first son, Dr. Okonogi encouraged me to study infant mental health, which has become the main theme of my research today. The Hamada laboratory holds two seminar classes, which are psychological development of children and mental health.

As for the seminar class on psychological development of children, Associate Prof. Sachiko Mori joined us from 2009, and based on the psychoanalytical development theory, we discuss about report of mother-child relationships which we observe by home visits. 2 to 3 students form a group to visit the same home on an ongoing basis, and in the whole class, we are able to hear reports of about 7 to 8 families. Therefore, we can learn the universality of development as well as the uniqueness of each mother and child. To actually monitor the process of how a baby starts from a nonverbal emotional interaction then gradually learns to speak words teaches us so many more things than what we can learn from “letters” written on textbooks. This experience helps us gain a broad understanding of human relationships.

In the other seminar class on mental health, each student decides on a theme related to mental health issues seen in university students, and makes presentations. I consider it important to take the process of increasing awareness within oneself and deciding on a theme. University students are in a time of psychosocial moratorium. There may be times when they have to face an unsolved issue of their own and suffer from it, but through discussions with classmates and etc. in the seminar class, they overcome their problem step by step, and sometimes that leads to exploring their career choices. I want the seminar class to be able to offer such “opportunities”.

Career paths of graduates are varied, such as becoming a company employee, government employee, firefighter, photographer or teacher of a junior high school. There is also a graduate who has become a clinical psychologist and serves as a counselor at the SFC Wellness Center.

Student's Voice
Mai Yanagida, Fourth-year Student,
Faculty of Environment and Information Studies

Mental Health of all ages

In Prof. Yoko Hamada’s seminar class on mental health, each student does one’s own research individually and freely. In weekly presentations on the progress of research, various themes such as the “happiness theory” or “obsessive-compulsive disorder” are taken up, and every time we have new discoveries. Without being restricted to a certain theme, we make up unique research through interaction with our teacher and other students.
In the joint seminar class of Prof. Hamada and Associate Prof. Sachiko Mori, we research on the development theory of infants taking the method of home visits. Every week in class, we analyze the growth process of babies through video footage. Although our teachers give us advice when necessary, students mainly stand on the podium and lead the class. To actually see things with your own eyes through home visits is a precious experience in learning how infants grow up. Each mother-child relationship is different, and it is also interesting because sometimes, students come up with different opinions. This is the attractive point of this seminar class.

*This article appeared in the 2011 spring edition (No.270) of “Juku.”
*Position titles, etc., are those at the time of publishing.