Billy Cleary, MA, LMFT has served as TELL’s Clinical Director since 2018. Billy is a graduate of Wheaton College’s Marriage and Family Therapy program in Illinois, and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Billy’s approach as a director and therapist is informed by his life experiences which prioritizes the person over the objective. Through collaboration, curiosity, and drive individuals and systems can change and heal. As a therapist, Billy believes that creating a space to collectively navigate social and relational issues promotes healing and change, thus strengthening relational bonds. His focus at TELL is to build upon its mission to support individuals, families, and communities throughout Japan and help restore relationships for the international and Japanese community.
Specializing in work with families and adolescents, couples, and individuals, Billy addresses the needs of a wide variety of clients not just in Tokyo, but throughout Japan with his relational approach to therapy.
o With adolescents, Billy focuses on meeting them in their space and time emotionally, spiritually, and developmentally, while working with the family to alleviate anxiety and stress. His experience has shown that strengthening family bonds helps adolescents in their own interpersonal relationships and find courage to navigate the many changes in life.
o With couples, he works to slow down cycles of conflict that arise and help both partners express their needs and hurts in the relationship. Through Emotion Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), he offers space for each partner to be heard and understood, and creates ways of deepening the couple’s level of trust and connection.
o With individuals, his initial goal is to build an authentic relationship with his clients in order for them to experience healing and growth. He works to foster an avenue for clients to process thoughts and emotions in a safe environment. Billy views the journey toward healing as identifying obstacles in their lives, removing barriers that block them from the path of growth, and assisting the individual to discover a new road that leads to wholeness.
o Billy has experience helping those who have grown up in multi-cultural environments and is passionate about helping children and adults who grew up in a culture different than their password country (TCK’s) work through identity, confusion, and isolation issues.
Prior to his position at TELL, Billy previously worked in Japan from 2006 to 2012 providing services for Japanese corporations, as well as working actively with the youth ministry at his local church. Billy received his clinical training in Chicago in the U.S., and continued his work with families, individuals, adolescents, and children from 2012 to 2018. He has served as TELL’s Clinical Director since October 2018. Billy finds himself wrestling with his son on the weekends, enjoying a lively discussion with his wife, yet, not all before stealing a couple quiet hours away in the morning for a freshly made cup of pour-over coffee. When he gets around to it, you may find him taking a trail up one of the many diverse mountains throughout Japan.
Key Concepts: relational issues, relational bonds, families and adolescents, couples, individuals, family bonds, interpersonal relationships, cycles of conflict, Emotion Focused, Couples Therapy (EFT), multi-cultural, Third Culture Kids (TCK’s), identity, confusion, isolation issues
o Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy: a type of couples therapy that centers on all human’s inherent need to be safely connected with others. The goal is to build safety within the relationship and repair “attachment wounds” which impact the couple’s bond, allowing the couple to continue to maintain and repair their relationship after therapy is complete.
Illustrations by Kento Iida