Carleton University is making its counselling program more accessible for graduate students. Alisa McClain is now available for walk-in counselling appointments on Thursday afternoons from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in 512 Tory, with booked appointments available in the same space on Tuesdays.

Graduate students are welcome to drop in on Thursdays through the end of the Winter term. They can also book an appointment with McClain by calling Health and Counselling Services at 613-520-6674.

Alisa McClainExplains McClain: “As this is a pilot project, we are open to shifting the timing based on the needs of the graduate students as we get a better sense of what works best.”

McClain graduated from the Bachelor of Social Work Program in 2012 and then worked as the HIV educator at Youth Services Bureau where she did community development, health promotion, crisis counselling and worked as the adult ally supporting youth-to-youth community education on LGBTQ+ issues before returning to Carleton to complete the Master of Social Work program in 2016. Wanting to deepen her direct clinical experience, McClain has since provided case management services for people with serious and persistent mental illness. Most recently, she worked as a system navigator at the Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre providing short-term support through resource referral, advocacy, and short-term coaching related to anxiety and stress management.

“I am deeply committed to anti-oppressive practice and social justice work,” shares McClain.  “I have particular interest in trauma recovery, self-care and community-care for caregivers, activists, and for those who simply have too much to do in too little time.”

McClain points out that many people need an empathetic and active listener who really understands where they’re coming from. “I’m excited to be back on the University campus working with grad students, learning about all their projects.”

She says that, in addition to the concerns that so many students and community members have, she thinks that graduate students will have increased concerns related to multiple demands on their time, the pressure of producing unique research, the precariousness of applying for grants to continue research, and the interpersonal challenges that sometimes arise in small communities that are over stressed.

Re. confidentiality, McClain says she never shares information with anyone outside of the health team without explicit written consent, “I absolutely respect that the university is where many graduate students work and they deserve to be in complete control of their own stories.”

Graduate students are also welcome to book appointments with Alisa over at Counselling Services (2600 Carleton Technology and Training Centre Building), or use their drop-in service offered Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last client at 3:15) Check details here:  https://carleton.ca/health/counselling-services/