University counseling centers are turning toward online surveys to gather information on their clients, according to a USA Today report. Counseling and Psychological Services at Penn is no exception.

The centers are seeing an influx of students, and are often unable to meet demand. CAPS, too, is unable to meet its demand in an expedient manner. Due to a spending freeze, it is unable to hire more counselors. But there are other ways to take the pressure off. CAPS is underutilizing its available technology.

CAPS currently uses its online questionnaire to track students’ progress during therapy. It should also be used as a diagnostic tool, to be used even before students ever see a counselor.

This will allow at-risk students to be fast-tracked to see a counselor. But this survey can also be used to provide information to students while they are waiting, sometimes up to a month, to see a counselor.

During April’s mental health week, CAPS held workshops, including one for de-stressing techniques. It should provide these workshops year-round.

The surveys should match students to these workshops. Not only will students appreciate the immediate feedback, but also those who are less in need of one-on-one counseling may wind up not needing extra therapy, alleviating some of the pressure on CAPS.

Although technology is not a substitute for personalized therapy, it can be used to the advantage of counselors to better help students.

How do you think CAPS can be a better resource for students? Send us a letter to the editor to share your thoughts: letters@thedp.com.

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