Akira Otani, EdD

I am a licensed psychologist in Maryland and have enjoyed working with a wide range of adult clients since the late
1980s. As a generalist at the University of Maryland Counseling Center for 20 years, I saw students and adult clients who struggled with mental health issues, such as various forms of anxiety, depression, alcohol and other substance use and abuse, LGBTQIA issues, self-esteem concerns, attention deficit and related developmental difficulties, among others. The experience taught me much about the art of helping with an emphasis on therapy relationship and solution-focus. As a specialist, I concentrate on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).


Professional Experience


I served on the graduate faculty at the Johns Hopkins University Clinical Counseling Program (1986 – 1988). The courses I taught include basic and advanced counseling techniques, psychological ethics, and research methodology. After Hopkins, I joined the University of Maryland Counseling Center staff (1988 – 2008). There I saw clients while conducting applied psychological research in the areas of clinical hypnosis and mindfulness meditation. The effort resulted in 9 books (in Japanese) and more than 70 journal articles and book chapters (in English and Japanese). I have joined Waypoint after working at Spectrum Behavioral Health in Arnold, MD for 14 years.


Life Outside the Office


I was born and raised in Osaka, Japan before moving to US at the age of 17. I am familiar with both cultures and fluent in both English and Japanese. I practiced yoga (Iyengar and Anusara traditions) for 20 years before switching to meditation in 2015. The following year I spent 6 months in Kobe, Japan and studied Buddhist meditation intensively. I enjoy dining out, especially spicy food (!), binge watching (sometimes) good streaming films on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and collecting books (not necessarily reading)!


Dr. Otani works in the Linthicum location and also provides telehealth services. He participates with following insurances: Carefirst, Tricare, Conifer, USFH, and JH EHP.