We introduce “Open Ear” – a counselling service for students, by students.
Plagued by self-doubt? Overwhelmed? Stressed? The four Master’s students of the “Social Work: Psychosocial Counselling and Health Promotion” programme are no strangers to any of these issues. Corinna, Barbara, Annalena and Sophia have experienced these problems themselves and learned on their course how to deal with them. As a result, the four students are able to offer you extensive advice and lots of valuable tips within the “Open Ear” project, run by students. In an interview, they tell you all about this service and the reasons for offering this type of counselling.
Incidentally, if you want to find out more, you can do so on 25 May, when the four Open Ear counsellors will be present to talk to you in the foyer between 11:00 and 14:00.
Who can attend Open Ear counselling?
Barbara: Actually, any student from our university, whatever their subject or faculty! There are no minor problems that we would ignore – we have an open ear for everyone. First of all, there are issues of time pressure or motivation. But we also address matters such as family conflicts, insecurity, and physical impairments. After all, we have experienced many of these problems ourselves.
Corinna: Students get a reply within two days – we don’t have a waiting list! What is more, the service is independent and free of charge. The advice we provide is more neutral than that given by your friends. Everything that is said remains between us!
How does Open Ear work?
Sophia: Students from SRH University Heidelberg can easily find us on Moodle and chat with us there. The video also gives instructions on how to find us. Our online counselling is initially a low-threshold option. After that, you can of course obtain telephone or personal counselling.
Barbara: Sometimes people feel embarrassed to talk about their problems. Online counselling via chat makes it easier to cross that initial hurdle. And if the worst comes to the worst, we can always confer with Professor Bösel, who runs and supervises the project.
The Open Ear project is traditionally taken on by students in their final year of the Master’s programme in Social Work – on a voluntary basis and without it being relevant to exams. Why did you consider it important to support the project?
Sophia: Three of us are already fully qualified social workers, and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Management. So of course we already have a lot of experience and are able to offer professional counselling. I think it is important to share this experience.
Annalena: Some of us also work during university, such as in family assistance or migration counselling. The project supports and expands these experiences. But what I find particularly exciting is the peer-to-peer approach. Being students ourselves, we have a good idea of what other students are going through. We can reach out to people who need us.
Corinna: We are aware of the typical weak spots, and can talk to our fellow students at eye level. Open Ear lets us practise our psychosocial counselling skills. My participation in the project also enables me to substantiate my scholarship for gifted students. I basically find it very important to get involved and to help others.