How is work in the Counseling Center?
Jessica Mason, director, answers a few questions from Maria Lamarca Anderson, UW Bothel’s director of communications.
Q. How do you try to innovate?
A. At the Counseling Center, we are dedicated to continually enhancing the quality and accessibility of our services for our students. To this end, we stay attuned to evolving student needs and strive to adapt our services accordingly. For example, we offer a hybrid model of counseling that combines in-person and telehealth options to offer greater flexibility and convenience to our clients.
One area I am looking into is group therapy, which I believe can be a highly effective and efficient means of providing targeted support to students and expanding our access. We are also working on creative ways we can engage with students through outreach programming and skills training.
We recognize that each individual has unique needs and preferences when it comes to seeking support, and we are committed to providing a diverse range of options to accommodate these differences.
Q. What is the core of your work?
A. As a psychologist and director, I strive to embody values of empathy, compassion and collaboration in all aspects of my work. I believe that establishing strong relationships built on trust and understanding is key to achieving positive outcomes for the individuals and groups I serve.
To this end, I prioritize meeting people where they are and working together to navigate any challenges or opportunities that arise. Whether I am interacting with students, staff or faculty, I approach each person as a unique individual with their own needs, perspectives and experiences.
By fostering a culture of empathy and understanding, I hope to create an environment where everyone feels heard, valued and supported. Ultimately, I believe that this approach leads to more effective and meaningful collaborations that benefit everyone involved.
Q. How do any or all of UW Bothell’s strategic priorities fit into your work?
A. In alignment with UW Bothell's strategic priorities, we strive to enhance community and campus engagement and to strengthen diversity and equity by promoting mental health and well-being for all students.
Our work is crucial in helping students overcome challenges that may impede their academic and personal success. By providing evidence-based interventions and supporting skill-building, we aim to reduce symptoms, promote resilience and empower students to engage more fully in their studies and the campus community.
Q. What are you working on today?
A. As a new member of the UW Bothell community, I have been actively engaging with students, faculty and staff to gain a better understanding of their perspectives on mental health and how the Counseling Center can best support them. Through these conversations, I have been gathering valuable feedback and insights that will inform our ongoing efforts to enhance and expand our services.
I am excited to be part of a broader initiative within the Division of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs that is focused on developing a comprehensive plan for health and wellness on our campus. This strategic approach will enable us to take a holistic view of the various factors that impact student well-being and to develop interventions and services that are tailored to meet their diverse needs.
In my work at the Counseling Center, I am exploring a range of innovative ideas to build our services and expand our reach across campus. Some of these ideas include bringing in a mindfulness meditation platform, establishing a light therapy program and developing skills groups to help students build resilience. By pursuing these and other initiatives, we aim to provide students with a broader range of tools and resources to support their mental health and well-being.
Q. How does who you are show up in your work?
A. As a biracial woman, I bring a unique perspective to my work as a psychologist and director. I am deeply committed to social justice and equity, and strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.
To this end, I am constantly working to ensure that our counseling services are accessible to all students, regardless of their background or identity. I believe that everyone deserves to have access to high-quality mental health care, and I am committed to removing any barriers that may prevent students from seeking the help they need.
As a leader, I also place a strong emphasis on building relationships with the people I work with. I believe that collaboration and teamwork are essential to creating a safe and supportive working environment, and I strive to involve others in decision-making and value their input and feedback.
Overall, my commitment to social justice and equity informs everything I do, both as a psychologist and as a director. I believe that by working together and supporting one another, we can create a campus community that is truly inclusive and supportive of all students.
Q. Where is your favorite spot on campus, and why?
A. One of my favorite places on campus is the trail in the North Creek Wetland. This peaceful and serene location offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and provides a much-needed opportunity to recharge and reflect.
I particularly appreciate the chance to disconnect from technology and spend some time surrounded by nature. I am grateful to have such a beautiful and rejuvenating space right here on campus.
Q. What is your favorite thing about working at UW Bothell?
A. For me, the students are the heart and soul of campus. Their unique backgrounds, perspectives and experiences bring a richness and diversity to campus life that is truly inspiring.
It is incredibly rewarding to see students grow and develop over the course of their time on campus, and to witness firsthand the impact that education can have on their lives. Whether they are pursuing specific career goals, developing new skills or simply expanding their horizons, I am honored to play a role in helping them achieve their dreams.
I believe that the students are the beating heart of our campus community, and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to work with and learn from them.