Swin-eCounselling - Frequently Asked Questions
This section contains a list of frequently asked questions about some common issues that affect students and young adults. If your question is not answered in this section, check out the Resources section, or send your question to a Swin-eCounsellor.
- What is Swin-eCounselling and what is it for?
- What kind of questions are answered by the Swin-eCounsellors?
- Who can use the Swin-eCounselling service?
- Is Swin-eCounselling anonymous?
- How long will I have to wait for a response to my question?
- How much does Swin-eCounselling cost?
- How is the confidentiality of my question ensured?
- Who responds to my Swin-eCounselling question?
- Why am I asked if I agree for my question to be published as an FAQ?
- What do I do if I have a complaint or feedback about the Swin-eCounselling service?
- When is it better to use a face-to-face service than the Swin-eCounselling service?
- Are there any services that provide long-term online therapy in the community?
- Can I use a non-swinburne email address to submit a question to a Swin-eCounsellor?
A. Swin-eCounselling is not intended to replace therapeutic face-to-face counselling of an ongoing nature, however the Swin-eCounsellors can help you with any day-to-day concerns that you may be experiencing, or to establish whether you may benefit from seeing a counsellor or another health professional to help you overcome these difficulties. For ongoing or more serious issues, face-to-face counselling or psychotherapy is usually advised.
Some common issues addressed by the Swin-eCounselling service include concerns about mental health, relationship difficulties, study problems, multicultural issues, career issues and other emotional issues that can affect students and young adults. Any questions that relate directly to a course or Swinburne University itself should be directed to the Student Information Centre (SIC) rather than the Swin-eCounselling service.
A. Strictly speaking, questions submitted to the Swin-eCounselling service are not anonymous, but are confidential. Swin-eCounselling questions are sent via a secure email form to a counsellor. In order to receive an answer to your submitted question, a valid student email address must be provided. While this means your email address will be viewable by the Swin-eCounsellor answering your question, this typically only identifies your student number and not your name. Submitted questions therefore are not considered anonymous, but are strictly confidential. Swin-eCounsellors will not attempt to match your student number to your name furthermore, except if they have a strong suspicion that you are at risk of causing serious harm to yourself or someone else.
All available measures have been taken to ensure the confidentiality of your questions, and no identifying information will be released to anyone outside the Swin-eCounselling team, unless it is required by law. If such a case arises, however, we will endeavour to discuss this with you first.
A. Depending on the nature of your question and the amount of questions awaiting an answer at any particular time, it is anticipated that a Swin-eCounsellor will usually respond to your question within 2 working days. If your question requires a more complex answer or there are already a large number of questions awaiting a response, however, it is possible that your response may be delayed. We nevertheless will answer your question as soon as possible. If you have not received an answer some time after posting your question, please ensure you are checking your Swinburne email account, as this is where your response will be directed. Contact the ITS Service Desk (ext 5000) for instructions on how to redirect mail from your swinburne account, should you prefer to use an alternative email address.
If you are unable to wait for a response, you can contact the counsellors (by phone or in person) for a speedier response.
A. The online question form has been designed with privacy and confidentiality in mind. Once the email is submitted, all information within the email (including your email address) is emailed to a Swin-eCounsellor. Only those with the authority to answer the questions are then able to access the Swin-eCounselling emails. Due to quality assurance
Swin-eCounsellors may discuss your question with their supervisor. This will again be discussed in strict confidence and is intended as a measure of ensuring you receive the most helpful and accurate reply possible. Any record of these discussions will be stored securely together with your email and response.
Should we discover that your question is one asked frequently by students, it may be helpful to publish your question, and the accompanying response in our FAQ section. This will only occur where you have expressed permission in the submitted question form to publish your question (see also Why am I asked if I agree for my question to be published as an FAQ?). If your question is to be published, any identifying information, such as your email address, name or any identifying specifics of your situation (e.g. your course name etc.) will be removed first, and the response will be directed towards all Swinburne students. Note that in this case, you will still receive an individualised response in your email, and will be notified of our intention to publish your question as an FAQ.
A. There are sometimes questions which students commonly ask Swin-eCounsellors that may involve a similar response. In order to save time, for both students and the Counsellors responding to their questions, it can be beneficial to list these questions in our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section so that all students can read the response, rather than several students submitting a similar question. Should we discover that your question is one asked frequently by students, we may decide to publish your question, and the accompanying response, in our FAQ section. This will only occur where you have expressed permission in the submitted question form to publish your question.
If your question is to be published, any identifying information, such as your email address, name or any identifying specifics of your situation (e.g. your course details etc.) will be removed first, and the response will be directed towards all Swinburne students. Note that in this case, you will still receive an individualised response to your email, and will be notified of our intention to publish your question as an FAQ
A. The Swin-eCounselling service is still very new so we are very grateful for any feedback students may have, as this helps us to ensure we are meeting students needs as best as possible. Please feel free to send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to make a complaint against the Swin-eCounselling service or a Swin-eCounsellor, please direct your concerns in the first instance to email@example.com and we will do our best to resolve these issues for you. As with all Swin-eCounselling emails, these concerns will be kept in strict confidence.
A. The Swin-eCounselling service is not intended to replace therapeutic face-to-face counselling of an ongoing nature, however we can help you with any day-to-day concerns that you may be experiencing, or to establish whether you may benefit from seeing a counsellor or another healthcare professional to help you overcome these difficulties. Some issues may be less appropriate for online counselling than face-to-face sessions, such as psychiatric disorders that involve distortions of reality, suicide, sexual abuse, and violent relationships. For ongoing or more serious issues, face-to-face counselling or psychotherapy is usually advised.
It is important to recognise that there are risks and limitations to online counselling. These include: Misunderstandings, which can arise due to a lack of non-verbal cues; Email messages may not be received, or can be delayed; and we cannot ensure the privacy of emails at your end. Confidentiality is also limited by the security of the technology being used, and while all effort is taken to ensure this is minimised it may not be guaranteed.
If you are experiencing a crisis and need help urgently, it is imperative that you contact a healthcare professional, in person or over the phone, immediately.
A. Due to the limitations and risks involved with online therapy, most services will recommend face-to-face therapy for ongoing issues. It is acknowledged that making the decision to see a counsellor is often difficult when you need help with personal issues, and many people can be unsure about whether it will help, or what counselling actually involves.
For this reason many services such as Swinburne's eCounselling service can help you make the transition to face-to-face counselling after a few online sessions, and help you feel more comfortable talking with someone in person.
There are a number of other online counselling service available in the wider community, should you find Swinburne's eCounselling unsuitable. These can typically be found by typing 'online counselling' into your chosen internet search engine. Swinburne takes no responsibility for such external online services, however, and if you choose to access another online counselling service, it is advised that you ensure you are fully informed of the risks involved first. In most cases long-term therapy is safer and more effective when conducted face-to-face.
A. As the Swin-eCounselling service is designed for students at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus and not currently available to the public, a valid Swinburne email address is required to submit a question. This ensures that all questions responded to are from Swinburne University students. If you do not check your Swinburne email account regularly, however, it is possible to have all Swinburne emails redirected to a different email address that you use more often (such as a hotmail or yahoo email account). Contact the ITS Helpdesk (ext 5000) for instructions on how to do this.