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Training Program:Successful applicants are asked to attend a basic training program of 69 hours. There are 3 mandatory 4-hour online seminars during the course; and then for each week of the program, required elements (watching presentations; completing reading; journaling; counselling practice through role play; and interactive online seminars). Trainees will also complete an apprenticeship on the Lifeline. This consists of at least 24 hours of supervised work (broken down into six shifts). These shifts will be both on the telephone and through chat. If you are successful in completing the training program and the apprenticeship, you will be invited to join TELL Lifeline as a volunteer Lifeline Support Worker.
This training 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.
The training program covers a wide range of essential skills and topics so it is essential to maintain regular attendance at the training sessions. The training takes place online in the spring, summer and autumn each year. Undertaking the training is a big commitment in terms of time and energy, but we have worked hard to allow as much flexibility as possible with the required elements. It is imperative that volunteers are able to keep up with the program consistently throughout the course.
The standard cost of training is 35,000 yen (this is approximately 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. There are many volunteering opportunities that people can participate in instantly or with minimal training, but a crisis line support worker is not one of these roles. The safety of our service users is paramount and so we are asking volunteers to pay for the course to equip them with the skills they need to take shifts effectively.
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 Training Manager and discuss your situation. We are very understanding and do not want to miss out on a good trainee!
Once a trainee has successfully completed training and the apprenticeship, and has been invited to join TELL as a Lifeline Support Worker, we ask that you work at least two shifts a month, as well as attend one 2-hour supervisory meeting each month. Supervision meetings can be joined online. As the time commitment on the part of both TELL and you is quite extensive, we require that applicants who are interested in volunteering as support workers are able to commit to at least one year of service after completing their training.
TELL Lifeline Support Workers are well-supported in their role, through comprehensive training, in-service workshops, and the availability of supervision. Each Support Worker is assigned to 2 supervisors, who are also volunteers. These supervisors have extensive experience on the line and are trained to take on this role. Support Workers participate in a 2-hour monthly supervisory group which generally has between 10-15 members. It is necessary to attend these sessions to remain active on the Lifeline. Supervision is offered through online conference calls.
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 is very small, we ask all Lifeline Support Workers 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 reaching out to 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 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/chats, 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:
Illustrations by Kento Iida