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Online counselling

11 September 2012

Online counselling

Email and instant messaging services expanded

Last September Sarah Worley-James, a counsellor at the University set up an online counselling service to reach out and offer support to students and staff otherwise unable to access counselling. This year five more counsellors are joining her to enable us to widen the online counselling provision. Here, Sarah explains more about the new service.

"What image do you associate with counselling? Two armchairs, pot plants, a seaside picture, subtle lighting and a softly spoken counsellor?  Well, counselling is developing in new directions, encompassing all forms of communication that we routinely use today.

"For many, online counselling is seen as simply using secure email exchanges, and while most clients opt for this method some prefer to have their counselling via Instant Messaging or webcam.  An advantage of email counselling is that the client can write at any time of the day or night, and the emails are available to re-read, helping them to see their progress and remember strategies discussed.  One student said ‘I will continue to go over these emails throughout placement, as I know that is where my difficulties lie.’

"I identified three groups that could benefit from online counselling; students on placement that may take them away from Cardiff for weeks, months, or even a year, leaving them with limited support from friends and family and the University.  One student said ‘Thank you so much for your support whilst I was on my year abroad, it was much needed’.  With a growing number of international students and staff studying and working at Cardiff, there is a need to provide counselling that understands there may be cultural reasons holding someone back from entering the student support building and developing a face to face counselling relationship. A member if staff wrote, 'I felt very relieved after emailing you and your answer helped to make me feel reassured.' Online counselling also enables students and staff who have physical or mental health conditions that create a barrier to them accessing our service, have counselling.

"Details about all of the counselling services we offer can be found online at:"