OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Monday, January 6


QUESTION: I think UW would really benefit from online counselling services, many people (like me) are too anxious to go to the in-person option right way and, if that is necessary, the online relationship could make it easier to go in-person.

The obvious problem is trolls but they could require a student id for the correspondence and impose very strict penalties for those found trolling.

Thoughts? How would I make the administration aware of this?

Thanks and have a nice term everybody.


  1. I personally think this is a bad idea overall. I've struggled with depression and anxiety and I think people would benefit most from in-person help. A lot can go astray with just words on a screen but when you speak to a person face to face, they can actually see your reactions and such.

    1. But I suspect there is a legion of people who are in anguish but do not want to face the stigma/are too anxious of walking in to counselling services.

      Just think of all the posts about a depressed people's club, depression, etc. They have upped the filtering on it this term but still if you look back there were a lot.

      This would not have to be the final product but a stepping stone to in-person therapy (if deemed necessary).

    2. I disagree to 1a, I wouldn't want to walk in there and telling them I failed, someone passed away etc...

    3. ^doesn't that mean you agree with 1a?

  2. Not email because it could be forwarded, accidently sent to someone else, etc. but a site made by the UW which has privacy regulations.

    Of course, this being the internet, there is always a chance of the info getting out but I think the resource would be valuable and in the end it would be the student's choice to risk it.

  3. Now I know in this day and age it seems outdated, but they created the telephone helplines for just this reason. People to shy to talk in person but still get the benefit of actually talking to someone. A new one that is really awesome is, the number is 1-866-925-5454. They have access to University services in Ontario. They have consellors available 24/7 if you need to talk, and can refer you to the services on campus that would best benefit you, they even answer questions about course problems and finances.

    1. People avoid talking on phones like the plauge

  4. Are you looking for something like this?:

    I think it would be a good idea but at the same time, only as an initial start. The face-to-face contact and even voice is very important in establishing a therapeutic alliance in order to help long-term.

  5. I like what you're thinking, OP. But overall I have to disagree.

    Counsellors are best face to face, or lacking that, over the phone. Online communication can hide a lot. Emails are crafted, and so are instant messages. The ability of a counsellor to help find the root of your concerns can be easily hidden if you're not really willing to be open and honest with text. And we are all aware of how often misinterpretations of a text or email take place.

    The quick back and forth provided by direct verbal communication is best for building dialogue, trust, understanding, and the speed allows discussions to be more productive. Interpreting body language, or tone of voice is a very important part of a counsellors work.

    Speed is an important part. Writing a proper email for this type of communication on the part of those seeking counselling can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a day. And the effort required to reply to such a communication can easily take the full hour of a counsellors time, the length of one face to face session. (There's a reason why profs and TAs reply to some emails with, "Come see me during office hours"; they don't want to waste a half hour or an hour of time writing out the email when they can just say it to you in a few minutes.)

    Further, the few paragraphs the counsellor replies with by email, when spoken, may only take up a minute or so of time. Imagine how much more could have been said and done if you just spoke face to face, or over the phone.

    However, as an initial communication, yes, email is great. You can find the emails addresses of UW counsellors through WatIAM. Though spoiler alert, their reply will almost certainly ask you too book an appointment, but may also offer some help or advice.

    1. A day to write an email ... really? Learn to type faster and write less. Do you work there? From comments about CS it can take many weeks to get an appointment. And didn't you read the part about OP and a legion of others being too anxious to go in person? You're not getting it.

      OP has a great idea. How about a forum board allowing messages to be sent privately sent to/from a counsellor? Or Skype sessions? Or IMs?

      Maybe it's a generational thing why you don't get it. Students needing academic help from a prof or TA likely aren't as anxious as CS clients about being seen or making themselves vulnerable in person. There's no stigma about seeing a TA or prof.

      And that's bullshit about time savings going in person. On top of the weeks waiting for an appointment, there's the travel time, time waiting in the waiting room, or if the appointment's cancelled another many weeks.

      It doesn't have to be a crafted proper email for grades. A few quick chats back and forth could help students out when they need it, not weeks too late or never.

      Who's the customer here anyway, who's paying who?

  6. Cool idea OP. Have you asked Counselling Services? Let me guess - they gave you an appointment for late March to meet with them in person about it.

    How about asking candidates to add it to their platform? It's your tuition money.