Counselling Services and individual appointments are available at no charge to registered University of Waterloo students in classes or on co-op terms. The first step to making an appointment is to come to our office in Needles Hall North and have an intake appointment.
Information about intake appointments
- You make an intake appointment by visiting us at our main office in Needles Hall North, on the second floor.
- You will complete forms and a questionnaire to help us understand your reasons for seeking an appointment. You’ll then meet or be scheduled an appointment with one of our intake specialists who are qualified mental health professionals who will interview you to determine the severity of your concerns.
- If you are in immediate danger of self-harm, harming others, have recently experienced the death of a significant person, or are in an academic crisis that requires rapid attention, you will be scheduled with an emergency or urgent appointment. Concerns that don’t meet an emergency or urgent criteria might have a longer wait period in order to accommodate the need for others to be seen in emergency and urgent appointments.
- The intake specialist determines your triage level by listening to the words you are using in the interview, so it is important to be as detailed as possible during the interview to get an accurate assessment.
- Emergency appointments are seen immediately. Urgent appointments are scheduled as soon as possible within the next few business days.
What to expect during your intake appointment
- You’ll be greeted by our receptionist and asked to complete our forms.
- You’ll meet with the intake specialist.
- The intake specialist will help you develop a wellness plan.
Information about follow-up appointments
If your wellness plan includes an individual appointment with a counsellor, then the appointment will be booked for you.
Important: If you are waiting for your follow-up appointment and you feel your situation has changed or worsened, come back to Counselling Services and let us know.
What to expect during your follow-up appointment
- You’ll be greeted at reception and your counsellor will meet you in the waiting room.
- During your 50-minute appointment, you and your counsellor will work together to determine the best approach for you. This could include cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness exercises, and many other approaches that will be tailored for your situation.
- You and your counsellor will determine the next steps at the end of your appointment.
Information about walk-in counselling appointments
Walk-in appointments with a counsellor can be up to 90-minutes long and you can discuss any immediate concerns you have and find a solution-focused approach to help you. Students new to Counselling Services or students who have seen us before are welcome to use these appointments.
A set number of walk-in appointments are available during our walk-in hours (Wednesday and Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). These appointments often fill up quickly, so it is recommended that you come into our office in Needles Hall North before walk-in hours begin to speak with our Intake Specialists and see if an appointment is available. Note: If your concern is urgent and it is later in the day, please still come to our offices to be seen by an Intake Specialist.
What to expect during your walk-in appointment
- You’ll be greeted at reception and your counsellor will meet you in the waiting room.
- During your appointment, you’ll discuss strategies to help you deal with your immediate concerns.
Psychological assessment services
We conduct psychological assessments to better understand our clients' difficulties and make treatment recommendations. Our assessment team is staff by registered psychologists, MA and PhD students, and supervised pre-doctoral residents.
Our team provides consultation and assessment services for a wide variety of mental health concerns. We also provide screening for possible learning disabilities, attention disorders, and autism-spectrum disorder.
Your first steps
- Receive a referral. Students who are currently registered or on a co-op term can be referred by a physician at Health Services or by their treating clinician at Counselling Services.
- Receive an appointment. We will call you to offer you an appointment. You may be asked to collect documentation (e.g., Report cards) or complete measures prior to meeting with one of our assessors.
Referral to our team
You will meet with one of our assessors for a brief appointment. If further assessment is necessary, you will be placed on our waitlist. The waitlist time often varies. We make an effort to see all clients within 4 months. We prioritize assessments for students based on the severity of their concerns and on the date of their initial referral.
Once you start the assessment process, the number of sessions, the tasks you will be asked to complete, and the duration of the assessment process will be dependent upon the referral question, the complexity of your concerns, and the clinician completing the assessment.
During the first appointment, you will be asked about your mental health, social, and school functioning. Depending on your needs, you may be asked to complete assessment questionnaires.
The goals of the first meeting are to:
- Gather a broad range of information to determine your likely concerns and needs.
- Determine whether or not further assessment is required to address the referral question and your needs.
After the first appointment we might provide:
- Feedback with no diagnosis & referral to appropriate services (if needed or desired)
- Feedback with diagnosis & referral to appropriate services
- Referral for further in-depth assessment with our team (e.g., mood, anxiety, trauma, interpersonal concerns)
- Referral for further assessment in the community (e.g., learning disorders, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder).
There is a high demand for this service. It is essential you attend your appointment or provide 24-hour’s notice to cancel so others may be offered your appointment time.
Note: If you cancel or you do not attend your appointment, please be aware that we may not be able to reschedule another appointment with you in a timely manner.
Your assessment results can have important treatment implications. With your consent, we share this information with the counselling and medical professionals you see on campus.
With your written consent, this information can be shared with other on-campus services (e.g., AccessAbility Services, Career Counselling) and off-campus service providers.
Risk and benefits
Risks of assessment can include being upset by diagnostic results and identifying areas of concern you might not be ready to address.
Benefits can include improving your understanding of your concerns, gaining diagnostic clarity, and receiving specific treatment recommendations to help you address your difficulties.
After your intake appointment, you can ask to have your follow up appointments in one of our satellite offices, including:
- School of Architecture in Cambridge
- Digital Media School in Stratford
- Faculty of Engineering
- Faculty of Math and Computer Science
- McMaster Medical School in Kitchener
- Health Services (2nd Floor Mental Health Office)
- School of Pharmacy in Kitchener
- Mackenzie King Village Residence
- Faculty of Science
Other resources on campus
- Health Services doctors are available to help you with mental health concerns. Health Services offers walk-in appointments every day.
- UW MATES offers peer support counselling with walk-in appointments in Counselling Services available every day. Our MATES volunteers are trained by counsellors and your meeting with a MATES volunteer is just as confidential as meeting with a counsellor.
- Check out our Do You Need Help? poster (PDF) for more information about other resources on or near campus.
What can I do for myself right now?
- If you are in crisis, contact our emergency contacts.
- Our Coping Skills seminars are offered on a weekly basis throughout the term and are also available online.
- Our Workshops are offered every term and can be registered for on LEADS.
- UW MATES offers booked and walk-in appointments every day at Counselling Services.
- The Good2Talk helpline is for post-secondary students and is available 24/7.
- Here 24/7 is the Region of Waterloo mental health helpline and is also available 24/7.
Missed appointments and rescheduling
If you are unable to attend a scheduled appointment or service, please let us know by contacting our office (519-888-4567 x 32655) as soon as possible. If you do not provide at least 24 hours notice of a cancellation, you may be charged a missed appointment fee of $35.00. If there are reasons (ex. illness) that you might not be able to predict 24 hours or more in advance, please let either our receptionist or your counsellor know and this fee might be waived.
At your earliest convenience, we invite you to reschedule any missed or cancelled appointments by contacting our office (519-888-4567 ext. 32655). Given the demand for service, it may be some time before we are able to reschedule a missed or cancelled appointment.
Confidentiality and email
All information you share with your counsellor will be held in the strictest confidence. However, Ontario health privacy legislation allows us to collect, use and share your personal information among health care providers who provide or assist in providing health care to you.
Please speak to your counsellor if you would like to limit how we give out personal information to your health care providers.
We do not provide counselling using email or any form of online communication because:
- Email is a vulnerable way to communicate
- We cannot guarantee that your email will remain confidential
- If you are concerned about security, consider calling us instead
If you email us:
- We reply to the address from which it was sent
- If you worry about your email being hacked, please call us or come by one of our offices
- Response time may vary (vacation, network problems, illness, etc.)
If you need an instant answer, call us or come by our office during business hours at 519-888-4567 ext. 32655.