Online therapy with Dr. Simon Downes

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Last updated: July, 22nd, 2016


“The first step towards feeling better, is to talk with a professional counselor; someone who is not a family member, friend or work colleague who will allow you to express yourself honestly, without any risk of being judged.”


apa logo (APA) #21192355

More about my practice:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”1. How much are your session fees?” el_id=”1469177227894-8afa932e-dd1e”]Email question: $30

Skype session (w or w/o camera) : $100 per 50-minute clinical hour for couples and individuals.

I do not accept insurance because this site is for information purposes only. To use medical insurance, please contact your medical provider.

Walk-in session: If you are in Tokyo, you may make an appointment to meet me at the University of Tsukuba, Center for Developmental and Psychological Counseling.

Clinic open: Mon・Tues・Thur・Fri・Sat (excl. holidays)
Clinic hrs: 10:30 am to 12 noon, 1 pm to 4:30 pm
Telephone: 03-3942-6851
Ask for Dr. Simon Downes

In Japanese (日本語)[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”2. What are your qualifications to be a psychologist? ” el_id=”1469175596707-0fc9cf77-bb4d”]

  • I was trained to be a developmental psychologist (1996-2002) at the University of Tsukuba, Department of Developmental Psychology. I was the first Westerner to graduate with both a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from their program.
  • I spent three post-doctoral years as a supervised part-time trainee at the University of Tsukuba, Institute for Disability Sciences, focusing on child and adolescent clinical psychology.
  • At the same time, I ran Simon BEAR School, a bilingual day-care, kindergarten and after school elementary school in the Bunkyo ward of Tokyo which included children with either social or developmental disabilities (2003-2010). (Both my master’s and doctoral programs were conducted entirely in Japanese)
  • I am a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) at the doctorate level #21192355, and my doctorate has been certified as equivalent to that of a US program. (All certificates of graduation/membership will be provided upon request)

In addition, the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health placed me on the Civil Service Certification List for Clinical Psychologist 1 from 2010-2012.

I am now a part-time counselor at the University of Tsukuba (Otsuka Campus).

Adjunct professor at:
Rikkyo University, College of Law and Politics (2011-)
Chiba University of Commerce, Faculty of Policy Informatics (2012-)[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”3. The difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? ” el_id=”1469175678682-5c9c31e5-6207″]While both psychologists and psychiatrists provide psychotherapy and conduct research, the most significant difference between the two is that a psychiatrist has a doctoral-level degree in medicine (M.D.) plus a four-year residency in mental health, and a psychologist has a doctoral-level degree in psychology (Ph.D.) with one to two more years of supervised clinical experience.

A psychiatrist can prescribe medications in addition to providing therapy, whereas in most states (USA), psychologists cannot. Only psychologists with a post-doctoral master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology can prescribe medicine. Both psychiatrists and psychologists may receive additional training in their specific areas of interest such as children and adolescents, addictions and other areas.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”4. What is psychotherapy? ” el_id=”1469175789059-03f999cc-8ecb”]Simply put: “The goal of psychotherapy is to assist clients to overcome emotional distress and to achieve positive mental health through talking.”

Many begin therapy with the expectation that they will be able to quickly solve their issues and move on. While this is in fact sometimes the case, often, it takes some time to develop a trusting relationship with the therapist, and to see some results. However good therapy can change your life, and be well worth the financial commitment, and time and energy you have invested in it.

Psychotherapy is very different than talking to a friend or a spouse about a problem. With your therapist, you can explore your personal and professional relationships without the risk of hurting another, or being judged by the therapist. The therapist will always provide you with an unconditional positive regard, a term first coined by Carl Rogers, the father of Client-centered psychotherapy. The therapist and client form a very safe, trusting relationship that allows for the client to be completely safe in reflecting his or her own thoughts. Through this relationship, the client may come to know the correct path they wish to follow to solve their issue.

A psychotherapist can help a person to understand the root, or cause of their emotional distress by not only reflecting a client’s emotions, and the content of their speech, but also by presenting summaries of that person’s utterances so that a person can reflect on his or her own thoughts. The result is that a person can come know and accept themselves better, develop better coping strategies, and achieve a stronger sense of mental well-being.

The focus is all on you during therapy; it is not the place of the therapist to share his or her own experiences. The focus of all the conversations is on you only. This is the method of client-centered psychotherapy. A skilled therapist may guide you towards understanding your own thoughts, but not tell you what to do.

In everyday life, we are not used to long periods of silence in conversations with friends, workmates of family members. However, in therapy, silence is used to allow a client to reflect on his or her own thoughts without the therapist’s interference.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”5. What can I expect in a SKYPE / Walk-in session? ” el_id=”1469175845530-e9e14ee4-d717″]Please try to erase the images you have seen of how therapy is portrayed in the movies and the media. The process is quite simple to understand, but must be followed carefully to achieve success. The following parts of therapy should be fully understood before you show up for your first session (Skype or Walk-in).

Your first meeting will be 50 to 55 minutes – (with or without camera)

On your first meeting, you will get to know me, and take care of the necessary intake forms. I will ask you why you have decided to try therapy, and what it is that you are concerned about. I will begin to take a history of your life, and personal and professional relationships which will help me gain a better picture of who you are.

The therapy session will be exactly 50 minutes. The reason for this is so that I can take ten minutes to write notes on the session before the next client begins. In order to be fair to all of my clients, I must follow this strict schedule.

When the session is finished, you will hear “That is all the time we have for today”.

Even if you are in the middle of an important thought, the session must end at exactly 50 minutes. The next session can begin at where you left off. (Of course, I will be flexible)[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”6. How long will it take to solve my issues? ” el_id=”1469177128831-79f9f4c9-53da”]Email: Sometimes an issue can be resolved quickly, by an email or two.

Skype / Walk-in sessions: By this method, too, an issue can be resolved in one or two meetings. I general practice, however, weekly sessions (often concerning very serious issues) tend to continue for three to four months at which point, I will ask the client to come less often for a few months to assess our progress.

*The rule of thumb is: the more complex the issue, the longer it takes to work out a solution.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”7. What to expect from your relationship with me ” el_id=”1469177013559-294173da-8644″]I will be following the rules set forth by the American Psychological Association regarding the limits of a therapist-client relationship and privacy and confidentiality.

  • Firstly, I am limited to only this relationship, and will not be a part of your personal life in any other way (before, during or after therapy is finished).
  • I am not permitted to be a therapist to someone who is already a personal friend.
  • I will not accept invitations to lunch or other events, as this will compromise our professional relationship.
  • If we happen to meet on the street, I will make every attempt not to acknowledge that I know you, unless you initiate the contact. Even in that case, I will be careful not to reveal to anyone our professional relationship.
  • I will not enter into any other business relationship other than our private therapist-client relationship.
  • Please do not offer me gifts, as I will not accept them.

One of the most important parts of successful therapy is the relationship you form with your therapist. During this process, you may develop various emotional reactions and attachments towards me, which I will accept as very natural and will use to help you in your sessions.

In successful therapy, your therapist will become a significant person in your life. You may experience confusing feelings towards him or her based on the content of your conversation, and the emotional bond you will form. This is expected as part of the therapeutic process. This is called transference, or attachment, and it is suggested that you do not hold back from expressing your honest feelings. The therapist will use this knowledge to help you understand how you relate to others, which may give you insight into your own behavior and help you to stop repeating certain patterns.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”8. What is your code of ethics? ” el_id=”1469177865914-5c0abfec-bd89″]I follow the code of ethics laid out by the professional body of which I am a member: American Psychological Association (ethics)[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”9. Cancellation/No-Show Policy ” el_id=”1469177772878-306bb824-1601″]If you do not show up to the Skype session, and do not contact me at least 24 hours in advance, you will be expected to pay the entire amount of the session. Please understand that this is because I run a very tight schedule, and I cannot fill your space within 24 hours.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”10. Disclaimer – terms of use” el_id=”1469178883650-75f0456d-a908″]This site,, and the services provided by Dr. Simon Downes, psychologist are for information purposes only. As such, no doctor-patient relationship will be established.

Nothing contained in this site is or should be considered or used as a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Never disregard medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider or delay seeking it because of something you have read on the Internet, including on We urge you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. In case of emergency, please call your doctor or 911 immediately.

The information contained on or provided through is provided on an “as is” basis, without any warranty, express or implied. Any access to this site is voluntary and at your own risk. does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, correctness, timeliness, or usefulness of any information, services, or other material provided on or through the site. makes no warranty or guarantee that the website will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free.

In no event shall be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, incidental and consequential damages, personal injury/wrongful death, lost profits, or damages resulting from lost data or business interruption) resulting from the use or inability to use or its content, whether based on warranty, contract, tort, or any other legal theory, and whether is advised of the possibility of such damages.[/vc_toggle][vc_column_text]

How it works:

Email questions
1. Fill in the CONTACT FORM.
3. I will answer your email question within 24 hours.

Skype session requests:
1. Please send me an email:
2. I will give you the payment information when we have confirmed our first meeting time/date.

Walk-in clients in Tokyo:
Please come to see me at the University of Tsukuba, Center for Developmental and Psychological Counseling.

1. Access to the University.
2. Myogadani St. on the Marunouchi Line.

Clinic open: Mon・Tues・Thur・Fri・Sat (excl. holidays)
Clinic hrs: 10:30 am to 12 noon, 1 pm to 4:30 pm
Telephone: 03-3942-6851
Ask for Dr. Simon Downes

In Japanese (日本語)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]