Photo of Kenta Asakura

Kenta Asakura

Adjunct Research Professor

Degrees:MSW (Smith College), PhD (Toronto)


Ph.D. University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
Postgraduate Certificate in Psychotherapy, Seattle Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
M.S.W. Smith College School for Social Work (Northampton, MA)
B.A. (Cum Laude in Psychology) Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)


With extensive training and background in contemporary psychodynamic theory and practice (MSW from Smith, followed by additional postgraduate training from Seattle Psychoanalytic Society & Institute). I have 20 years of experience working with children, youth, and families in care, queer and trans* youth and families, and racialized immigrants and refugees. Dually licensed and registered in Canada (RSW) and the U.S. (LICSW), I also trained to incorporate other therapeutic approaches (e.g., EMDR, CBT/DBT, EFT, narrative) and emerging neuroscience of trauma into my clinical practice, consultation and teaching. I maintain a small private practice of clinical consultation for social workers and agencies.

Honours & Awards

  • 2020 Faculty of Public Affairs Teaching Fellowship
  • 2018 Carleton University New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Honourable Mention, 2015 LGBT Manuscript Award from the Council on Social Work Education
  • 2014 Teaching Award in Social Work from the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education

Areas of Research

  • Simulation-based research
  • Clinical practice and psychotherapy in social work
  • Clinical social work education, including field education and supervision
  • Critical and creative use of AI in teaching and learning
  • Resilience science, focusing on children and youths
  • Qualitative methodologies, especially Grounded Theory Methodology

Funded Research

Principal Investigator (Co-I: Amedeo D’Angiuli & Spreedix), 2020 – 2021
Carleton University COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grant ($19,000)
Online assessment of pandemic-triggered traumatic stress: Towards developing assistive AI technologies

Co-Investigator (PI: Dr. Dennis Kao), 2020 – 2021
Carleton University COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grant ($13,000)
Racial discrimination and the well-being of Asian Canadians in the COVID-19 context

Co-Investigator (PI: Dr. Sarah Todd), 2020 – 2024
SSHRC Insight Grant ($156,213)
Knowing and Not-Knowing: Navigating Uncertainty in Social Work

Principal Investigator, 2019 – 2020
Carleton University SSHRC Explore Development Grant ($9,980),
What Does Social Justice Look like When Sitting with Clients?: A Simulation-based Study on Social Justice and Clinical Social Work Practice

Principal Investigator, 2018 – 2023
Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund (Total $145,880: $57,980 from CFI, $57,980 from Ontario Research Fund- Small Infrastructure Fund, and $29,920 from other matching funds),
Developing Integrative Simulation-Based Research on Social Work Education & Practice

Principal Investigator, 2018 – 2020
Carleton University Teaching & Learning Service Research Grant ($15,910)
Evaluating Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Based Simulation in Teaching Social Work Practice

Co-Investigator (PI: Sarah Todd) 2018-2019
Carleton University SSHRC Explore Development Grant ($8,930)
Navigating Uncertainty in Social Work: A simulation-based Study

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI: Sarah Todd; Collaborator: Ametros Learning Inc.), 2017 – 2018
Carleton University-Industry & Partnership Services ($3,500)
Developing AI-Based Simulation Platform for Teaching Social Work Practice 

Principal Investigator (Collaborator: Youth Services Bureau), 2016 – 2019
SSHRC Insight Development Grant ($45,978)
Promoting Resilience among Trans Youth in Canada: A Participatory Action Research Project on Trans* Representation

Principal Investigator, 2016 – 2019
Carleton University Faculty Startup Research Fund ($5,000)
Evaluating the Use of Simulation in Teaching Direct Social Work Practice: An Online Survey Study of the Learning Processes among Participants vs. Observers 

Principal Investigator, 2015 – 2017
Carleton University Faculty Startup Research Fund ($8,000)
What does Social Justice Look Like When Sitting with Clients?: A Qualitative Study of Teaching Clinical Social Work from a Social Justice Perspective

Co-Investigator (PI: Dr. Sarah Todd), 2016 – 2017
Carleton University Faculty of Public Affairs & Educational Development Centre ($ 5500)
Choose Your Own Therapeutic Path: Using virtual simulation to teach direct practice. 

 Principal Investigator, 2015 – 2016
University Educational Development Centre ($3,000)
Using Simulation in Teaching Social Work Practice: A Pilot Project 

Selected Publications

* signifies a student co-author

Edited Collection:

Asakura, K. & Bogo, M. (In Progress). Guest Editors, Special Issue on Simulation & Clinical Social Work, Clinical Social Work Journal.

Peer-Review Publications:

Asakura, K., *Occhiuto, K., Todd, S., Leithead, C., & Clapperton, R. (In Press). A call to action on Artificial Intelligence and social work education: Lessons learned from a simulation project using Natural Language Processing. Journal of Teaching in Social Work

Asakura, K., *Lundy, J., *Black, D., & *Tierney, C. (2019). Art as a transformative practice: A participatory action research project with trans* youth. Qualitative Social Work. doi: 10.1177/1473325019881226

Asakura, K., *Strumm, B., Todd, S., & Varghese, R. (2019). What does social justice look like when sitting with clients?:  A qualitative study of teaching clinical social work practise from a social justice perspective. Journal of Social Work Education. Doi.10.1080/10437797.2019.1656588

Todd, S., Asakura, K., Morris, B., Eagle, B., & *Park, G. (2019). Responding to student mental health concerns in social work education: Towards developing a heuristic blueprint. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 38(6), 779-796.

Asakura, K. & Maurer, K. (2018). Attending to social justice in clinical social work: Supervision as a pedagogical space. Clinical Social Work Journal. Published online first. doi.10.1007/s10615-018-0667-4

Tufford, L., Asakura, K., & Bogo, M. (2018). Students’ perceptions about simulation vs. role-plays in learning social work practise skills. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 23(1), 249-267.

Asakura, K., Bogo, M., Good, B., & Power, R. (2018). Teaching Note— Social Work Serial: Using video-recorded simulated client sessions to teach social work practice. Journal of Social Work Education. Published online first, DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2017.1404525. 

Asakura, K., Todd, S., Eagle, B., & Morris, B. (2018). Strengthening the signature pedagogy of social work: Conceptualizing field coordination as a negotiated social work pedagogy. Journal of Teaching in Social Work38(2), 151-165DOI: 10.1080/08841233.2018.1436635.

Asakura, K. (2017). Paving pathways through the pain: A grounded theory of resilience among LGBTQ youth.  Journal of Research on Adolescence, 27(3), 521-536.

Asakura, K. (2016). Extraordinary acts to “show up”: Conceptualizing resilience among LGBTQ youth. Youth & Society.

Asakura, K. (2016). It takes a village: Applying a social-ecological framework of resilience in working with LGBTQ youth. Families in Society, 97(1), 15-22.

Asakura, K. (2016). The use of simulation in teaching social work practise: A potential answer for the art and science of social work. A blog entry prepared for the Carleton University Educational Development Centre. Available:

Brennan, D. J., Souleymanov, R., George, C., Newman, P. A., Hart, T. A., Asakura, K. & Betancourt, G. (2015). An examination of masculinity, drive for muscularity, and HIV risk behaviours among gay and bisexual men of colour. Psychology of Men & Masculinity. 16(4), 393-403.

Tufford, L., Bogo, M., & Asakura, K. (2015). How do social workers respond to potential child neglect? Social Work Education: The International Journal, 34(2), 229-243. DOI:10.1080/02615479.2014.958985.

Asakura, K. & Craig, S. L. (2014) “It Gets Better”…but how?: Exploring resilience development in the accounts of LGBTQ adults. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 24(3), 253-266.

Mishna, F., Van Wert, M., & Asakura, K. (2013). The best-kept secret in social work: Empirical support of the contemporary psychodynamic clinical practice. Journal of Social Work Practice, 27(3), 289-303.

Brennan, D. J., Asakura, K., George, C., Newman, P. A., Hart, T. A., … Betancourt, G. (2013). “Never reflected anywhere”: Body image among ethnoracialized gay and bisexual men. Body Image, 10, 389-398.

Wells, E. A., Asakura, K., Hoppe, M. J., Balsam, K. F., Morrison D. M., & Beadnell, B. (2013). Social services for sexual minority youth: Preferences for what, where, and how services are delivered. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(2), 312-320.

Newman, P. A., Logie, C., Doukas, N., Asakura, K., & (2013). HPV vaccine acceptability among men: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sexually Transmitted Infections. Advance online publication. Doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2012- 05098.

Brennan, D. J., Souleymanov, R., Asakura, K., & Imagine Men’s Health Team (2013). Colour matters: Body image, racism, and wellbeing among gay and bisexual men of colour in Toronto. A report of the Imagine Men’s Health Study

Asakura, K. (2010). Queer youth space: A protective factor for sexual minority youth. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 80(4), 361-376.


  • Elected Councillor (2019 – 2022), Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), District 2
  • Appointed Councillor (2015 – 2018), CSWE Council on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (CSOGIE)
  • Appointed Co-Chair (2016, 2017, 2018), LGBTQ+ Issues Track for the CSWE Annual Program Meeting
  • Member: Council on Social Work Education
  • Member: Ontario Association for Social Workers
  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), Washington State (2006 – Present)
  • Registered Social Worker (RSW), Ontario (2012 – Present)