University Counseling Center to offer teletherapy and online services


File Photo/The Lion's Roar

Despite the vacancy of students on campus, university centers have remained committed to providing services to faculty, staff and students during the pandemic.

The University Counseling Center has announced the launch of new remote services, including telemental counseling via Google Meet. Offering resources remotely has allowed the UCC to provide a more seamless transition for clients amidst the changing circumstances.

Marcela Spicuzza, mental health counselor at the UCC, shared that teletherapy has been implemented to continue servicing clients while also ensuring safety.

“Many therapists in universities and also outside of universities haven’t made this decision to really just flatten the curve and maintain safety,” said Spicuzza. “Therapy is typically two people in a room and in close proximity, so we really just want to serve our students and see our clients that have been regularly attending therapy without the interruption.”

Similar to face-to-face sessions, online appointments with ongoing and new clients will take place during regular business hours. 

Spicuzza explained how the video sessions better help emulate in-person counseling as opposed to phone sessions.

“Most of the sessions will be through video because it’s more effective for therapy,” said Spicuzza. “We can look at each other, we can read each other’s expressions and things like that. So, video would be more helpful.”

For those seeking advice and encouragement, the UCC will also be collaborating with the KSLU radio station to provide weekly segments promoting mental health.

Spicuzza shared what the university counselors have planned with the Department of Communication and Media Studies.

“Myself and Paige Moody, we have been collaborating with KSLU and Amber Narro,” mentioned Spicuzza. “We’re trying to provide tips on how to maintain mental health and mental well-being during this pandemic and really just trying to address all the thoughts that students, faculty and staff are probably having.”

The segments will touch on topics such as social distancing, maintaining self-care and transitioning to off-campus living and learning.

For Spicuzza, the collaboration with KSLU is a chance to help students. 

“It’s really meant to be something helpful, something nice to listen to, and hopefully people will get something out of it when they listen to it as well,” expressed Spicuzza.

The enforcement of social distancing has also encouraged the UCC to further utilize their social media platforms and spread positivity to students.

Spicuzza shared how the counselors have been elevating their platforms to increase engagement.

“We’re really trying to step up our social media game and put things on there that students and faculty can connect with,” explained Spicuzza. “With social distancing, it can feel kind of lonely, so we post on our social media.”

Spicuzza expressed her hope that the remote services will provide the same sense of support to their clients.

“If people are interested in teletherapy, they know that they can still feel connected and that they are getting something out of our services during this time,” mentioned Spicuzza. “Even though we can’t see these people face-to-face, we still hope that what we’re putting out there is still helpful in some way.”

With the impact of COVID-19 weighing on the minds of students, faculty and staff, Spicuzza reassured that the UCC is here to help.

“It’s important for you all to know that, even if someone doesn’t want to set up therapy but maybe they want other resources, they can still give us a call, and we can help them get that information.”

Those interested in resources such as teletherapy are encouraged to call the counseling center at 985-549-3894.