Counseling services transition to online


by Jordyn Wilson, Staff reporter

Simpson College Counseling Services will continue to be available to students despite moving to an online platform. 

In an email sent out to the student body, Counseling Services stated they would continue providing the same support to students, but from a distance. 

Sessions will now be held through video or phone. Appointments will still be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Counselors will continue to meet with previous clients and will also be taking new clients.  

These sessions will continue to be confidential and will last between 45 to 50 minutes. On rare occasions, counselors may determine that online counseling is not the appropriate option for a client. If this happens, they stated they would work to refer clients somewhere in their own community. 

Associate Dean for Counseling, Health and Leadership Ellie Olson and counselor Alex Rohn say they recognize that this new mode of providing counseling comes with challenges and requires some adjustments. 

“Slower internet connections and lags in video conferencing can be difficult to navigate both on and off-campus,” Rohn said. “Finding a private and secure place to hold sessions may be hard for some students as well.” 

Olson added it is not the same as being in person. Sessions performed online can lead to missed non-verbal cues and can make it harder to feel emotionally connected. She believes in-person meetings are the best option, but this is a good alternative.

To help students receive the same experience online, counseling services have created secure and confidential platforms for regular sessions via video or phone. 

Olson says they are also working on finding new ways to support the student body through online outreach. Students should look for upcoming newsletters and social media posts on Instagram and Facebook to stay connected. 

While this is a difficult transition for students, counselors are also dealing with major changes to their daily lives. 

Counselor Katy Griner said, “We’re creating new routines, and adjusting when those don’t work out like we want, taking walks, connecting virtually with our friends and family, giving ourselves space to be frustrated or down sometimes.” 

A lot of change has happened in the past few weeks. Olson said this is all the more reason counseling services needed to be continued. 

“Now, more than ever, we believe counseling to be an invaluable resource that is available to each student here on campus free of charge,” Olson said. “Uncertain times like this can bring on difficult stressors, can challenge our access to regular supports and can augment already present mental health concerns. Though it’s normal to be anxious right now, you don’t have to be anxious alone. It may look different, but we hope that you will see us as a unique support you have access to at this time. Use us.” 

They ask that students reach out to them to schedule an appointment at any time using the email [email protected] or by calling 515-961-1332. They will respond to the appointment request within a day or two.