Intern Profile: Toshio, Behavioral Health Doctoral Psychology Intern

Toshio (right) during the 2016 AACI Staff Retreat

Toshio is a mental health counselor for the AACI Integrated Behavioral Healthcare (IBH) program. The IBH program helps patients who are adjusting to a newly diagnosed medical condition, struggling with insomnia, depressed or anxious, working on lifestyle changes, and much more.

Toshio will be graduating this year with a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the Northern Arizona University. One of the requirements to graduate was to do an internship, so Toshio looked at mental health agencies that provided internships. He ended up applying and interviewing at AACI, where he had a very positive experience.

During his work days at AACI, Toshio enjoys helping adults and older adults with mental health challenges. He meets his clients on a weekly basis and gives them problem-solving advice after listening to their challenges and life stories.

“I enjoy counseling, building these therapeutic alliances. Learning about people’s lives is so meaningful and rewarding. I built excellent relationships with my clients, and since January I only got one cancellation! I also really appreciate working with diverse staff and clients. Some of my clients are from Iraq, Japan, and Vietnam,” said Toshio.

Toshio’s interest in psychology was sparked because of his own life experience. Coming from an underprivileged family, he was born in Japan and moved straight from Nagoya (one of Japan’s largest cities) to a small town in Georgia. He only spoke three words of English at the time, in 1999. So Toshio understands the meaning of “acculturation experience”, and the challenges someone can face when adapting to a new country and culture. 

 “I am so glad I came here to intern here at AACI and I learned a lot about myself. Employees collaborate and help each other. My best memory here was the staff retreat in October 2016 where I got to wear a Pikachu costume. I also went to a conference in San Francisco with my supervisor Dr. Jorge Wong and another intern, which was really interesting and at the end of which Dr. Wong bought us ice creams,” said Toshio with a smile.

In the near future, Toshio wants to be a psychologist, and more exactly doing counseling in hospitals. During his spare time, you can find Toshio traveling and going to concerts. He is a member of the San Francisco Jazz Center. His dream is to go on a world trip and visit all continents.


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