TELL Japan

What Is Distance Counseling?

Published on March 2, 2017

TELL was founded in 1973 to provide crisis and suicide prevention support for the international community in Japan, and in 1991 added face-to-face counseling and outreach services that bridge gaps in the Japanese language-focused health care system. 

We aim to serve the international community in Japan, but for most of our history we have been focused on the Tokyo area. Then two years ago we began to explore establishing a presence in Kansai, and this year we have extended our reach to Okinawa. However, we realize international residents of Japan live in all the country’s 47 prefectures, and we want to be sure we are reaching everyone.

Teletherapy, or Distance Counseling  is the provision of live therapy services through video messaging or over the phone. If you have ever used Skype or something like that on your phone or computer, you have used video messaging. At TELL, we believe that everyone deserves world class therapy services, regardless of their ability to pay. In addition to this, we believe that your ability to participate in therapy should not be limited to your proximity to Tokyo. To make therapy more accessible, we utilize this video messaging technology to provide traditional therapy services to people who are not physically able to make it into a therapy office. 

People often ask, “Don’t you lose something when you are not in person? How can video messaging be as effective as in person therapy?” The answer is, there are pros and cons to each approach of therapy. Some people thrive when they can have face-to-face time with a provider. They enjoy the connection of being in the room. However, there are some people, who due to the reasons they are seeking therapy, desire a little less intimacy and ‘a little more space’ to work through their problems. 

In fact, most people who have tried distance counseling enjoyed how helpful and convenient it was for them. Instead of having to leave work early or add another hour or more of travel to a busy day, they could sit in the comfort of their home and work on their issues. Scientific studies in the last 10 years suggest that distance counseling is as effective as face-to-face therapy in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. 

The largest factor in the efficacy of treatment is the quality of service provider. At TELL, our compassionate therapists and psychologists are all licensed and experienced to provide support to clients. Our distance counseling team provides services for people who are affected by problems or issues such as:

• depression and other mood disorders

• anxiety

• stress

• cultural adjustment issues

• personal growth (making difficult decisions)

• family-related problems

• workplace-related problems

• problems in relationships

If you have been uncertain about therapy, not sure if it is right for you, call or email our office for a free distance counseling screening. Prior to setting up your first distance counseling session, the clinical director will call you on the phone to explain our distance counseling service. During the call, they will evaluate if distance counseling is appropriate for the challenges you are facing and the goals you hope to achieve. The phone call is about 10-15 minutes, free of charge. Following the phone call, you will be assigned to a provider who has the experience and training to fit your specific needs. Most people will have weekly sessions for the first 1-3 months of therapy and then move to twice or once a month, depending on needs. With all services at TELL, we take a client-centered approach and listen to your feedback about what you want from therapy and what your needs are regarding treatment length. We are here to proudly serve you. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

– Michael Nevans, Director of Clinical Services

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