The Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, and Special Education is extremely pleased and proud to announce that Masahiro Minami (Ph.D. candidate in Counselling Psychology) received the prestigious Junior Scholar Award by the Japanese Society for Morita Therapy (JSMT) on Nov. 29, 2013 at the JSMT’s 31st Annual Conference in Japan. The award is given to the most distinguished and promising junior scholar of the year who has contributed to the advancement of research, theory, and/or clinical innovations and applications of Morita therapy. The JSMT and its Board of Directors recognized the social, clinical, and theoretical significance of Masahiro’s field research in Rwanda. At this conference, he gave an award recipient’s plenary lecture entitled: Morita Therapy and Peace Building.
Masahiro developed and have been implementing his Action-Based Psychosocial Reconciliation Approach (ABPRA) in 2 rural villages of post-Genocide Rwanda for the past 2+ years. ABPRA is developed based on therapeutic principles of Japanese Morita Therapy and on contact conditions empirically found to reduce intergroup prejudice. ABPRA provides an alternative to forgiveness-based reconciliation counselling where survivours of the Genocide are pressured to forgive their perpetrators under the name of a virtue. ABPRA sets aside the artificial attempt to induce forgiveness. Rather the perpetrators ask the survivour, “I am willing to provide labour for you. Would you please receive as a token of my atonement?” The shift in path to reconciliation, survivour (for)giving to receiving, provided critical first baby-step to initiate the works/joint-works of reconciliation where emotional changes become possible and emerged. Masahiro’s research follows the experience of survivours and perpetrators who have chosen to work together, instead of talking the forgiveness, towards reconciliation and to build peace. What has started as his clinical research activity has now developed into a village-wide movement in the Rwandan village where villagers are voluntarily forming pairs to do ABPRA on their own. Masahiro’s research follows the Complex Interventions Development Framework (Medical Research Council, 2008) and has just finished the phase 2 (Feasibility/Piloting). He is now preparing for the phase 3 (Evaluation) to conduct three-year, multi-site, randomized controlled trial of ABPRA to develop the world’s first evidence-based peace-building approach.