Introducing Dr Yasuhiro Kotera, Academic Lead in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Psychology at University of Derby

Originally from Japan, Dr Yasuhiro Kotera is the Academic Lead in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Psychology at the University of Derby making his way to the UK after completing a Masters in Counselling Psychology in San Francisco. Wanting to start a family but concerned about the healthcare set up in the US, Yasu and his Dutch wife considered relocating to Europe and opted for UK making their new home in Derbyshire.

Passion and purpose

Initially finding a PhD programme with a focus on hypnosis, alongside this Yasu became an associate lecturer whilst simultaneously self publishing his research. His drive and passion for his field are plain to see and to date he has published a breadth and depth of research in the field of mental health focusing on self-compassion, intrinsic motivation and cross-cultural psychology.

The performance link

His passion and purpose began back in Japan where Yasu started playing baseball competitively which triggered his interest in performance psychology. This led to working with businesses providing NLP training highlighting the link with positive mental health and wellbeing in driving productivity and performance.

coping in challenging times

Yasu also has a beautiful young family with four young children, a six year old boy and nearly two year old triplets, a girl and two identical twin boys. With the onset of the pandemic, he found himself raising four young children during lockdown without family support nearby and whilst juggling his academic responsibilities on very little sleep! Finding time to think has certainly been a challenge but one that Yasu has risen to using his incredible knowledge and expertise.

self compassion

In developing his own resilience, Yasu explained that practising self compassion is incredibly important. When faced with a challenge or problem, we spend so much of our time in a threat (in fear of what we will lose) or drive (temporal excitement for incentives) response. As a result, we often forget to tap into the part of our brain which helps us soothe ourselves during difficult times. By being kind to ourselves and others, we can actually equip ourselves much more effectively to develop the resilience we need to cope with whatever we are having to deal with.

we’re not alone

On difficult days, Yasu also shared that reminding himself of his common humanity was also a powerful coping technique. Knowing that there are other people in the world who are suffering and in possibly worse circumstances can give us the perspective and hope we need to focus on what we do have rather than what we lack.

It was an honour to meet Yasu and spend some time listening to his story. I’m delighted that we are starting some work together to develop the CALM model for academic publication so watch this space for further updates on this.