Monday, August 17, 2020

The Power of Acceptance of Reality

So many people appear to overlook the power of acceptance. It is not a passive thing, but an active action. Please let me explain it a little today. 

One of the important acceptances is of your emotional experience. I have written about it before, and I will do it again and again in future, too; your emotional experience needs to be accepted no matter what emotions you are experiencing (*except for “mislabeled guilt”). You have no choice but to do it in order to avoid emotional, behavioral, and/or relational problems later on. It feels counter-intuitive, but it is in fact the case. Accepting your emotional experience is closely related to accepting yourself; therefore, if it is denied, you are denied. 

Another important kind of acceptance is today’s topic: Acceptance of reality. It may sound strange, but many people refuse to accept reality. I understand that reality often hurts (very much) and we don’t want things to be the way they are. However, while you keep denying reality, your life won’t get better and become fulfilling unfortunately. 

The reality I am talking about here are things such “My mother has never been mother-material who can love me unconditionally,” “My boyfriend would never love me in the way I hoped he would,” “I cannot look like the cover model of magazines,” “Covid-19 may kill us,” “I am actually an adict, ”and so on. Can you see it? They are unfortunate realities that people want to dismiss.  

Because of our own desire, we prefer to cling to our “fantasy” rather than face reality. Yes, I understand that reality bites and that you are afraid that you may end up becoming hopeless and powerless if you accept it. However, this is the big misconception. 

When you decide to accept reality, which is a brave action, it may hurt at first, but then you can eventually find some way to live with it. It may be counter-intuitive, but when you finally face and accept reality, you accept your lack of control and powerlessness, which you had been afraid of. But then, something very important can happen to you. You can now see the realm of your control, and you can focus on and maximize it in order to improve your quality of life. 

In other words, when you are in denial of reality, you just feel frustrated and keep making a hopeless effort to fail and repeat it. When we accept reality, you can see what you can do and what you cannot do, and you can pay attention to what you can do, in order to make the situation better within the limitation (reality). This is how you want to live your own life, because it will give you more power and joy! 

Acceptance is not to give up. Please remember it. 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Therapy and Life-Coaching in Foreign Languages

Psychological Services in English, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Korean

With the recent addition of Dr. Alison Ahn to our team, we are proud to offer our psychological services and life-coaching in three languages in addition to English. 

All our therapists are fluent English speakers, but additionally we offer therapy in the following languages:

Japanese - Dr. Riichiro Miwa Psy.D 

Mandarin Chinese - Ms. Sharon Hou AMFT 

Korean - Dr. Alison Ahn 

The option of a language other than English is invaluable for members of our community who are not fluent in English or who feel more comfortable undertaking talk-therapy in their native language. 

Additionally, for couples in cross-cultural relationships, it can be helpful to work with a psychologist or therapist who also shares the cultural background of one of the partners, allowing them to bring greater cultural insight to the therapy sessions. 

Contact us for an initial free 15-minute consultation in either English or your native language. Please note that all our phone numbers will connect you confidentially and directly to the provider - please leave your name and a number for us to call you back at if we are not able to take your call:  

Dr. Riichiro Miwa Psy.D 心理カウンセラー
Dr. Riichiro Miwa Psy.D.
Dr. Miwa - Therapy in English and/or Japanese

Sharon Hou Assistant Marriage and Family Therapist
Ms. Sharon Hou AMFT
Ms. Sharon Hou - Therapy in English and/or Mandarin Chinese

Dr. Alison Ahn Psy.D.
Dr. Alison Ahn - Therapy in English and/or Korean

Monday, June 29, 2020

Message from Dr. Alison Ahn

Dr. Alison Ahn, Psy.D.
Hi, my name is Dr. Alison Ahn.  Nice to meet you!

I specialize in depression, anxiety, PTSD, complex trauma, and family and/or relationship issues such as dating, pre-marital counseling, marital conflict, parenting, and intergenerational problems.  I am also fluent in Korean and offer therapy sessions in Korean.

I truly enjoy listening to all of your stories and take time to get to know you with genuine concern.  My strength is the ability to provide emotional safety and comfort, offering full acceptance with empathy.  I naturally make meaningful connections where each of you feels seen and heard.  I also build trustworthy relationships with you from all walks of life and various backgrounds.

Currently, I am accepting new clients (Telehealth available!) and I offer free 15-minute consultations. Please email or call for more information about my services. I am a Post-Doctoral Psychologist and Registered Psychological Assistant under Dr. Miwa’s supervision, and we will give you our quality care and support as a team!

You will find me to be very approachable, comfortable, and friendly!

*A very special gift from my former client
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions:

4540 Campus Dr., Suite 146
Newport Beach,
CA 92612

Confidential Phone

Additional Information about Dr. Ahn

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Online Care via Teletherapy

Good day to all our clients, current and future.

Despite the California "safer at home" directive that is still in effect, Dr. Riichiro Miwa Psychological Services is still open and providing our services by phone or online video teletherapy. Dr. Miwa and his staff therapists are all available for teletherapy/telemedicine sessions.

Dr. Miwa and his staff therapists all provide sessions in English. In addition, services can be provided in Japanese by Dr. Miwa, and in Mandarin by our Associate Marriage and Family therapist Sharon Hou

Our teletherapy services include:
  • Psychotherapy
  • Depression therapy
  • Therapy for those suffering from thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Life-Coaching
  • Divorce Counselling
  • Couple Therapy
  • Non-pharmaceutical depression and anxiety treatment and counselling
  • Grief counselling
  • LGBTQ+ counselling and life-coaching
  • Divorce counselling and support
  • Couple counselling
As a provider of essential medical services, in-person services can be provided at our office. However, while the California and Orange County "safer at home" directives remain in place, we encourage our clients to take advantage or our phone and teletherapy options for the health and safety of our providers, you our clients, and for your families and the wider community.

To set up an intake with Dr. Miwa or one of our staff therapists, please visit our Contact page

May you and your families all remain safe and healthy at this difficult time.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

How to live in the time of COVID-19? Let’s not lose sight of basic principles

The current Covid-19 situation has been affecting almost everyone on the planet. Many many people are unsure how to react and behave, all the while experiencing strong emotional reactions such as anxiety, fear, and anger. It’s a new experience and requires adjustment to our perspectives on life. Because there are many tips on how to spend our days during stay-at-home orders, I am not writing to repeat those things here. Today, however, I would like to share some philosophical point of view that may be helpful for some of you. Because it is a philosophical perspective, you may disagree, and that’s totally fine. I am not talking about what should be an absolute truth or what you have to do, but to offer you some thoughts on  what may help for you to remain calm and accepting of the current situation we all find ourselves in.

In a unique wayCovid-19 has forced us all to face our death and powerlessness, which, of course unsettles and unnerves us all. At the same time, if we step back and see the bigger picture, it has always been this way: We are all moving toward our deaths which inevitably awaits us at some point in the future; maybe tomorrow, maybe in 50 years, we just don’t know the time or place, but it’s an inevitable appointment we all have to keep. The fact hasn’t changed that we don’t know when we will die, but that we will die is certain. The virus has so suddenly and vividly brought this fearful truth to our current consciousness that it has unnerved us both individually and as a society, and we are all confused and panicked. Therefore, I’d like to suggest we go back to the very basics of life in order not to lose our personal foundations for peaceful and calm existence.

When it comes to our life, I think there are three important principles to consider:

We 1) try to survive as best we can until our turn comes to die, 2) while maximizing our quality of life as much as possible, 3) in a state of fundamental acceptance of our limitations

The first one needs no explanation. We will die but until it happens, we try to stay alive. That’s a basic drive for most people.

Now let’s think about the second one. We are hoping to have a “good” life, and in order to have it, we do different things: For some people money matters; for some it’s hobbies; for others it’s family and friends, and so on. As much as possible we want to have a good time rich with experience until we die. There is no absolute right or wrong about it; we all just want something to fulfill our life. 

The biggest challenge is the third one… Essentially, we have no choice but to accept things that are out of our control. Limits are limits, and we just accept there is nothing we can do about them. When we try to deny them, fight them, or try to do something to change things that will always be out of our control, we will end up with frustration, pain, hurt, anger, sadness, and so on. In order to avoid this, it is crucial that we just accept our powerlessness, which eventually gives us some peace of mind.

Let’s apply these principles to our current Covid-19 situation. We try to live as well as possible in this tough time, and we maximize our quality of life (and reduce boredom) as much as we can, by doing a variety of things at home. At the same time, we need to choose to accept our powerlessness about the pandemic and the urge to manage it beyond our control. If you don’t do so, many emotional issues will arise. All we can do is to continuously maintain physical distance, stay at home, wash our hands, wear masks, and so on, all of which are things in our control. We continue to do it to live and maximize the quality of life. And we just accept the fact that that’s all we can do. The rest is out of our hands. We don’t struggle over things we cannot do anything about. Just let it be and have faith or hope that eventually this time too shall pass.

In the bigger picture, it has actually always been the same thing in life. We will live and one day we will die, and death is out of our control. We just accept the fact that we will all die. At the same time, how we care for ourselves is something that is in our hands and can actually delay our inevitable rendezvous with death. A healthy diet, exercise, good sleep, medical checkups, saving up money for our financial peace and physical well-being, maintaining good relationships, and so on… It’s essentially the same thing, either with Covid-19 or not: we care for our safety and health as much as we can, and the rest is up to God, the Universe, Lady Luck, Fate, or whatever you believe, isn’t it? The current situation is just something with more limitations. If you were already doing your best to achieve a long and healthy life, you can just continue doing the same thing within the extra limits currently imposed on us. If you haven’t been doing that to date, then now is a good opportunity to face your death and change your lifestyle in a way that improves your odds of a longer and healthier life. The benefits will be immediate and last until that day you die, which will hopefully be a long time from now.

Many people tend to cling to their fantasies about how things should be, be it with the virus, the government, society, other people, etc. and end up feeling defeated, angry, and frustrated. Many people tend to have catastrophic thoughts about the future, and end up feeling depressed, scared, and panicked. None of this is helpful, because it is all out of our control, and focusing on things that we have no power over does nothing but harm.

We benefit from clarifying which things are out of our control and which things are in our hands. No matter how we “feel” about it, we have no option but to accept our limitations; in fact we have no other option. We can let go of useless efforts to control everything, choosing instead to just stay focused on what we really can do. Strangely, when we fully accept our powerlessness, we are more empowered and able to maximize what power we do have over things under our control, resulting in enhancing the quality of our life. 

We are currently in an extreme situation, but the fundamental principles have always been the same. Let’s focus on what we can do and let go of the rest in order to enjoy a more peaceful state of mind to experience the joy of life. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

UPDATED Announcement from Dr. Riichiro Miwa Psychological Services

Dear Beloved All of You:

As you will all be aware, all Californians have been ordered to stay at home. Therefore, sadly to say, we are unable to see you in person for now.

Particularly because of this current emotionally provoking situation, we'd like to assure you all that our continuity of care is available via phone or other devices. If you haven't yet contacted your therapist and let us know what you'd like us to do, please do so at your convenience. If you even perhaps want more frequent session to assist you with coping with the current situation we all find ourselves in, please let us know. Or, if you want to take a pause from therapy for now to focus on your survival, that's also fine. We do care about your well-being and your letting us know what your current needs are helps us to understand what may be the best support we can give to you at this point.

In my opinion, the current situation we are in will affect our psychological health more and more over time. In order to help avoid it overwhelming you, please don't forget to acknowledge and accept all of your emotions, and find some way to express them in a healthy manner. Continuing good self-care is a key to maintaining your physical, psychological, and spiritual health, therefore, I really hope you actively implement it.

We are sincerely hoping all of you stay safe and healthy. We are looking forward to seeing all of your faces again eventually, once this pandemic is over.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Riichiro Miwa
Dr. Leeanne Marquez
Sharon Hou, AMFT

Dr. Riichiro Miwa
Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY 21622) / Life Coach
Dr. Riichiro Miwa Psychological Services

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Announcement from Dr. Riichiro Miwa Psychological Services

Dear Valued and Beloved Clients:

How are you all doing? I am afraid many of you are experiencing big challenges and difficulties at this difficult time.

As you all know, the current coronavirus situation is really tough and anxiety-provoking for all of us.

You may have heard that Orange County issued an order yesterday, March 17th, that appeared to require businesses in OC to close their doors unless on a list of exceptions, and we were concerned how we could continue our support to all of you, particularly in such a time of such emotional stress and anxiety.

As of March 18, based on an update from Orange County, the order has been clarified as requiring businesses to conduct business while using "social distancing." I also directly confirmed it with OC Emergency Operation Staff. So, for now at least, we are able to continue providing our services in the office and we are more than happy to do so! 

We take your health and safety as seriously as we do our own. Please allow me to share some information on the steps we are taking to help protect you and ourselves from the COVID-19 virus.

- There is hand sanitizer available in the office for you to use should you cough or sneeze during a session.

- There are tissues available for you to use. Please cough or sneeze into a tissue if you have the urge or need to do so during a session.

- We use alcohol spray and wipe down contact surfaces between each client session, including the door handles and arms of the chairs.

- All therapists are washing their hands per the CDC guidelines before each client session. We also encourage all clients to use the bathrooms in the building to wash their hands as well according to the CDC guidelines before coming into the room for their session.

- The office was thoroughly vacuumed, wiped, and sanitized today. The positioning of the chairs in the office was also rearranged to provide more physical distance between the therapist and clients per the social distancing guidelines. Our emotional distance won't change, however; hopefully it will get even closer.

The Admin Building is also taking the current situation seriously, monitoring all the tenants and their clients' health condition.

We promise that we will do our best to maximize your safety and ours, while maintaining our daily routines, which I believe is key to surviving the best in this overwhelming situation. We also ask that you play your part by following the simple steps of maintaining social distance (6 feet / 2 meters), covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and washing your hands. Thank you for your cooperation.

Please know that if you prefer telehealth services via phone or any other devices, we are more than happy to do so going forward or at any time in the future. Please do not hesitate to ask.

Of course, if you are not feeling well or have a fever, please do not come to the office but rather let us know so we can conduct a teletherapy session. Please rest assured that we will also not come to the office should we develop a fever and will let you know and make appropriate alternative arrangements with you for a teletherapy session.

Please also know that if there is ever an order for a lockdown in the future, we will have no choice but to use telehealth services for all clients.

Lastly, as you know, your identity and client file are protected by HIPPA privacy Laws. However, in the event that information is requested by appropriate health authorities for the purposes of identifying people who may have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19, we may possibly be required to provide the minimum necessary to trace contacts. Your file notes and case history would NOT be part of the disclosure. Please see the following link if you wish to see the details of the limited waver granted to health providers.

As always, thank you very much for placing your trust in us to provide you with quality care. We are really proud of what we do, and are determined to continue providing you with our services no matter how the situation evolves.

We hope you, your families, loved ones, and friends all remain safe and healthy through this difficult period.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or your therapist.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Riichiro Miwa
Dr.Leeanne Marquez
Sharon Hou, AMFT

Dr. Riichiro Miwa Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY 21622) / Life Coach

Look! Even the sandtray miniatures' shelf was cleaned! :)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Keynote Speaker: Self-Care and Stress Management

Last week, I wrote that I was invited to give a workshop at the Victim Advocacy Institute Conference. Coincidentally, I was also invited to be the Keynote Speaker for the Waymakers’ annual All-Staff Training Day yesterday. Because I like them, I was honored to be there to talk with over 100 staff members about Self-Care and Stress Management. Yes, it is an important topic and I care about it a lot. I hope I can post some articles about it here in future.

Anyhow, the audience was great. They responded to my jokes and silly comments and laughed a lot! Getting people to laugh is already a big achievement (particularly for a serious and boring Asian male, right?) and they were attentive with good participation. I thank them for that a lot!

That's the podium! 
Also, it was my very fist time to step inside a Dave and Buster’s. I had no clue that Dave and Buster’s has rooms for conferences and events. Did you?? It was interesting that I made speech at Dave and Buster’s.

Friday, February 7, 2020

A Workshop at Victim Advocacy Institute

Hi there. It has been a while since I made a post… Yes, I am lazy in general, but at this time, I also had to fly back to Japan as my father was sick and passed away… Now I am back on my routine, and I would like to continue to share with you.

Today, I just wanted to share that I was invited to provide a workshop at the Victim Advocacy Institute this last Wednesday. This big conference was presented by the California Crime Victims Assistance Association (CCVAA) and Waymakers to further victim advocates’ education and skill development regarding various kinds of crime, and issues relevant to the field of advocacy in victim services.

I have known Waymakers for years and their great support for victims of crime, such as sexual assaults, and I have always been grateful for what they do. You cannot imagine how hard it is to work in this field, and the staff members are so nice and dedicated! That’s why I was willing to provide 3 hours (!) training for this conference when I was asked to, and it was very rewarding…

If you know anyone who is or becomes a victim of crime, check out their website to see if s/he can receive some support from Waymakers. There are a lot of resources out there that people don’t know about that can be really helpful!

Thank you for the card and for your hard work!! :)