TELL Japan

Training Application Form

Phone Counselor Training Application

Training Program:

Successful applicants are asked to attend a basic training program of 69 hours. This consists of lectures, group work, and counseling practice.  Mid-way through the training, trainees will proceed to an apprenticeship on the Lifeline. This consists of at least 24 hours of supervised work (broken down into 4-hour shifts). If you are successful in completing the training program and the apprenticeship, you will be invited to join the TELL Lifeline as a volunteer telephone counselor.

This training is accredited and approved by Lifeline International, and is of a similar standard to that conducted by crisis lines in major centers around the world. A certificate is awarded upon satisfactory completion of the course.

Training is held in Tokyo and Kobe and as it covers a wide range of essential skills and topics, it is essential to maintain regular and punctual attendance at the training sessions. We also run an online version of the training in conjunction with the Fall and Spring timetables.  This option allows those individuals with challenging work commitments or travel issues to undertake the training.

The standard cost of training is 35,000 yen (a fraction of what it costs us to train each person). This amount can be adjusted in cases of special need; payment can also be made in installments.

We understand that we are charging a fee to train for volunteer work, and that this may seem strange. We do this because we are a non-profit organization, and we must meet all costs incurred while running the training. The training does not generate any profits; it only meets part of its own associated costs.

We also feel confident that the quality of the training is high and that it can provide participants with important personal learning and skills development. This fee is also quite reasonable compared to prices for similar educational or skills courses that could be taken, either here in Japan or in other countries.

Naturally, however, we do not want this cost to be a deterrent to you joining us. If paying this fee represents a significant problem for you, please contact the Lifeline Assistant Director and discuss your situation. We are very understanding and do not want to miss out on a good trainee!

Time Commitment:

Once a trainee has completed training and the apprenticeship, and has been invited to join TELL as a telephone counselor, we ask that you work at least two four-hour shifts a month, as well as attend one two-hour supervisory meeting each month.  In practice, then, volunteers who become telephone counselors commit to a total of 10 hours per month to TELL.

As the time commitment on the part of both TELL and you are quite extensive, we prefer that applicants who are interested in volunteering as telephone counselors to be able to commit to at least one year of service after completing their training.


TELL phone counselors are well-supported in their role, through comprehensive training, in-service workshops, and the availability of supervision. Each telephone counselor is assigned to two supervisors, who are also volunteers. These supervisors have extensive experience as phone counselors and are trained to take on this role. Phone counselors participate in a two-hour monthly supervisory group which generally has between 8-12 members. It is necessary to attend these sessions to remain a phone counselor.

Supervision is designed to assist you in your role by providing you with a forum to debrief and process your experience on the line, as well as enabling you to focus and improve on your counseling skills.

Anonymity and Confidentiality:

As the English-speaking community in Tokyo is very small, we ask all phone counselors to remain anonymous and keep their role a secret from anyone who does not absolutely need to know. This is because we are concerned that people who are aware that you are on the line will feel inhibited about calling TELL themselves, and will be denied access to the service.

This extends also to your application: we ask that you don’t share your intention to apply for the TELL training course with others, except your partner, children, or someone who absolutely needs to know in order for you to be able to take the training.

We also have a very professional approach to confidentiality in all aspects of TELL: the calls, the location of the phone room, and the identity of other volunteers. Before you begin the training, you will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that you will respect this confidentiality.

The Application Process: 

  1. Please ensure that you have read all the enclosed material carefully before applying. If you have any questions that you would like to clarify before you apply, please feel free to call the Lifeline Training Coordinator at 03-4550-1191 or e-mail:
  1. Please send in completed application form to the Lifeline Training Coordinator. You can download the form in Microsoft Word or PDF file.
  1. If your application is accepted, an interview will be arranged. To assist in making appointments, please let us know when you are generally available for an interview—i.e., mornings/afternoons/evenings/which days of the week.
  1. Since we have limited spaces for each training session, we encourage you to respond early for the training session of your choice. The deadline for the fall training in September, while the spring training closes early February.


Apply for Phone Counselor Training

Fall 2016 Training Dates

Tokyo: Oct. 9 – Dec. 11

In person mandatory sessions:Oct. 9, Nov. 13, Dec. 11

Kansai: Oct. 2 – Dec. 4

In person mandatory sessions: Oct. 2, Nov. 6, Dec. 4

Spring 2017 Training Dates

Tokyo: Feb. 25th – May 20th

In person mandatory sessions: Feb. 25, Apr. 1, May 20

Kansai: Feb. 25th – May 20th

In person mandatory sessions: Feb. 25, Apr. 8, May 20

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