Student Counseling Centers  
on the Internet:  
A Directory for Counseling Center Professionals

The Original Idea

Here's a memo I sent to our Center's Director, Diane Gale, Ph.D., drumming up support for the basic concept. (My enthusiasm, and naiveté, is fairly obvious!)

To: Diane
From: David
Date: January 5, 1994
Re: Electronic Clearinghouse

Our GOPHER site works.  That is the key, I think, to something that could
be pretty big: UB's Counseling Center becoming an electronic clearinghouse
of counseling center/mental health information.  Here is a fantasized
progression of events.  What do you think?

1.  January 1994: Distribute to the UB campus information about
            our material on GOPHER (i.e., post announcements on the
            mainframe, send out press releases to Spectrum, newsletters,
            etc). (This is already planned).

2.  Contact other counseling centers to see if a coordinated
            effort would be possible:  They make available to use their
            materials to include on our site.

3. Locate mental health software (e.g., Scott Meier's If You Drink
           program) and make it available through our site.  (GOPHER is
           not just limited to reading documents, we can also include
           software that a user could download to their computer and keep.
           Such software could be distributed under the Shareware
           approach, which would allow the distribution of copyrighted

4. Post requests on the psychology discussion groups (an
           international forum on the internet) asking people to send us
           material that would be useful on our site.  This would be a
           request read by people all over the world.  (see Note below).

5. Mass mailing to other Counseling Centers informing them about
           our site.

NOTE: And we do not need to stop there.  We could open this
        Clearinghouse to the entire world -- anyone, not just Counseling
        Center staff, with internet access could use our site.  We could
        post announcements on the internet, letting THE WORLD know about
        our site. Students, faculty, business-people, politicians,
        gas station attendants, could all access our material.  (If we
        went this route, however, we will need to decide if we should
        limit what material we make available: is there some of this
        material that is only appropriate for psychologists?  My feeling
        is "no", it is all appropriate for anyone).


Here is an email posted to a professional email list. I had posted something to this effect to several lists, resulting in quite enthusiastic responses:

From: David Gilles-Thomas
Subject: CC's on the internet
To: (outreach list)
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 1994 15:27:28 -0400 (EDT)

Greetings all.  The more I talk to colleagues around the country, the
more I hear about Counseling Centers that are using the internet
in various ways.  Here at UB we have set up a collection of
documents on our gopher covering a variety of mental health topics.  My
guess is there are a lot of other centers doing things with the internet
as well.  It seems to me we should let each other know about
our efforts.

So, if no one else is already doing this, I'd be willing to compile
and maintain a list of resources on the net that are set up by
Counseling Centers.  If your site has something that you would
like others to know about, send me the information.  I'll compile
the information I receive and post it back on to this mailing list.
This includes gophers, mosaic, ftp sites, muds/moos, and mailing

Such sharing of resources can be invaluable -- we can combine our
efforts to provide much more effective services to students (and
others) than if we each work separately.  For example, if there is
information that you would like to include on your local gopher that
is already currently available on ours, you can easily and seamlessly
make a link to one or more of our menu items, placing the entries directly
in your menu.

Please email me directly (address is below in my sig). 
David Gilles-Thomas, Ph.D.          
      Counseling Center, State University of New York at Buffalo   
  Gopher: 'gopher' >Student Life >Counseling Center