How Counseling and Psychological Services continued to prioritize student’s well being from home.

Since the end of spring quarter countless programs have attempted to make the leap from in person to online, but UW Tacoma’s Counseling and Psychological Services may have had one of the smoothest transitions. By the beginning spring quarter, CAPS was already offering confidential online counseling with each of their providers and have since eliminated any waiting list. 

We got a chance to speak with Dr. Cassandra Nichols about how she helped guide the center through the process. Originally studying in California before making her journey up north, Dr. Nichols has been at UW Tacoma for two years after moving from eastern Washington. 

When asked about the initial transition and what set their programs up for success, this is what Nichols had to say.

“I saw the writing on the wall, and we all knew we’d be online very soon. Everyone working in the counselling and psychological services took brief classes on how to serve students online, and by the end of spring break we had fully made the transition.”

Following up, we asked about the change in demand for the services. While not going into specific numbers, Nichols told us that year after year the demand for CAPS has increased since she arrived, and at this point there aren’t concrete statistics for fall quarter.

We also asked about the challenges of providing their service or other programs through Zoom.

“You know, we’ve dealt with the change quite well. It went off nearly without a hitch. There are always the little things, like silence on a Zoom call or people being muted but those issues are small.”

Finally, we spoke on the potential good that can come out of this trying experience of working from home, and how Nichols feels about potential improvements in service accessibility.

“Absolutely! There’s always room to improve, but this is a great opportunity to use online services to help more students more efficiently.”

The Counseling and Psychological Services staff are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. During weekends an exception may be made to speak with someone or point you towards other available services. If you’re looking for available services, need to talk or set up an appointment, you can visit the Counseling and Psychological Services page at tacoma.uw.edu/counseling.

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