Counseling Center finds both success and challenges in conducting virtual sessions

A sign outside of White Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Photo by Morgan McGrath.

Cassidy Gladieux Reporter

With the pandemic, counseling centers and their clients have faced their own difficulties when it comes to appointments. For the Kent State Counseling Center located in White Hall, it has made the transition to remote sessions via Microsoft Teams. 

“The nice thing about being remote is that we’re not restricted by space,” the assistant director of the Counseling Center, Jennifer Waugh, said. “So, here in the center a lot of times we were restricted in the amount of counselor trainees that we could have working at one time because of space, whereas now we don’t have to worry about that because they are working remotely.” 

The Center saw around 300 clients virtually in fall, which Waugh said, “[was] more on par with a spring semester.”  In a normal fall semester, the Center typically sees around 450 students. 

Remote sessions have proved to be a challenge, yet also a success for the Counseling Center.  

One of the successes is the increase in men seeking out counseling services. “That’s good to see that number go up a little bit and that people are actually asking for help,” Waugh said. 

On the other hand, issues with technology and connectivity are not uncommon for the counselors and the Center. 

“There [are] people that say ‘I don’t like this, I feel really disconnected from that person,’ because we’re not sitting in the same room. Sometimes it’s harder to build a relationship,” said Holly Smith, a graduate assistant and former counselor at the center. Technology and connectivity issues have also proved to be a challenge. But at the same time, “a lot of people are just more comfortable in their home environment and that can go for the client as well as the counselor.” 

Students are able to make an appointment with the Counseling Center by calling their office at 330-672-2208. Appointments are available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cassidy Gladieux is the mental health reporter. Contact her at [email protected].