What does a counsellor do?
Both students and staff at VUB have access to qualified counsellors. The counsellors are all VUB staff members who will respond within 48 hours to an email, telephone call or Teams message. Whether it’s an incident of inappropriate behaviour, bullying, discrimination, racism, sexism, verbal and/or physical aggression at VUB, or a personal conflict with a fellow student or VUB member of staff, you can talk to a counsellor about your problem in complete confidence.
What happens next?
The counsellor will provide you with support both in coming to terms with what has happened, or if you wish to take the matter further.
The counsellor will act as a mediator between students or between staff members, or between a student and a staff member. The counsellor will bring all the parties together in order to try to resolve the matter, or to find workable compromises and agreements.
The counsellor will inform you of the further steps that you may wish to take, and how to lodge an official complaint. With your approval, the counsellor will contact another VUB staff member or advisor for additional follow up of the incident.
The counsellor will discuss with you what additional support you feel that you need (medical, psychological, legal, police,…). If necessary, they will provide the required reference so that you can get the help you need, either within or outside VUB.
Why should you contact a counsellor?
- They are accessible first point of contact.
- They are bound to exercise total discretion and will treat everything they hear with complete confidentiality.
- The counsellor will only undertake further steps with your express agreement, or if you request them do so; thus ensuring you remain in control at all times.
- The counsellor will act in the best interests of all parties, and is a neutral and independent party who will listen objectively to the versions of events of all concerned.
What should you not expect?
- There is no psychological help or support provided.
- There is no legal follow-up provided.
- The counsellor will not lodge a complaint somewhere or make a report for you on your behalf, unless in consultation with you.
- The counsellor will act in the best interests of all parties. This means that the counsellor will not act in your defence, but will try to find a constructive resolution of the matter that takes the impact of the incident on all parties into account.
- The counsellor is not an ombudsperson. For study-related problems or conflicts you should take contact with the faculty or central ombudsperson.