How to Connect with a Counsellor

VIU students sitting on grass in the summer at Nanaimo campus

Update: During this time of physical distancing due to COVID-19, please note some changes in our services.

Distance counselling for VIU students is available though VIU Counselling Services from Monday to Friday, 8:30-4.  
To book an appointment:
  • Call 250.740.6416;
  • Leave a voice message with your name, student number, and email.
  • Please ensure your phone number and email match your student record. If this information does not match your student record, please update your student record.
  • You will be contacted by Counselling Services to set up an appointment. 

International Students may access counselling, immigration advising, & academic advising from International Student services by emailing:

If you are experiencing a crisis, you can reach out to the Vancouver Island Crisis Line via phone at 1‑888-494-3888 (24/7), text or chat at 250-800-3806 (6 - 10 pm); Kuu-us Crisis Line (24/7); and online chat (noon to 1 am).  

Faculty, if you have a concern about a specific student, call 250-740-6416 and leave a message. Please let us know the best phone number to reach you and we will contact you as soon as possible. Our phone system is monitored hourly between 8:30 and 4:00, Monday to Friday.

Please see VIU updates for current information on supports and services. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we work to adapt our services.

To set up your first appointment, drop by the Health & Wellness Centre on the 3rd floor of Building 200 or call 250 740-6416.  Office hours are 8:30-3:30 pm.

  • please check-in with the front office when arriving for appointments.
  • international counsellors only see international students

red arrow pointing rightEmergency and After Hours Support

Urgent Concerns: If you have an urgent concern and need to talk to someone today, we have urgent sessions available. Come to the Counselling Centre and indicate you need an urgent session, and we will book you in to meet with the next available counsellor as soon as possible.

What can I Expect in my Meeting with a Counsellor?

In the first appointment, your counsellor will work with you to understand your needs, clarify your goals for change, offer you empathy and work with you to develop a plan. The specific approach and number of sessions will depend on the nature of your concerns, your goals, your specific circumstances, and the demand for counselling at the university. Therapy need not be a lengthy process; however, change rarely occurs overnight. Counsellors will also assist you to identify other sources of support, as counselling is just one of many opportunities for growth, healing, support, and for learning to build strong mental health.

What are my Responsibilities?

Your commitment and willingness to take an active role in counselling is critical for success.  It is important to be open and honest with your counsellor including sharing any concerns you may have about the quality of your relationship with them. If your needs are not being met or you are not comfortable and you would like to switch, please discuss this with your counsellor.

The work you do outside the counselling session is also essential.  These may include reflecting on what you discussed, practicing a new skill, keeping a journal, or reading an article or book.

Please arrive on time for your appointment and check in with the front office so your counsellor can be notified of your arrival.  If you are not able to keep an appointment please call 250-740-6416 to cancel so that we may accommodate other students.  Failure to cancel your appointment, “no showing” your appointment, or arriving more than 15 minutes late may result in losing your appointment.

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