About e-counselling

What you need to know about e-counselling

Counsellors at Box Hill Institute and CAE are all qualified and registered psychologists or social workers. Your details remain confidential except where a counsellor believes you are at high risk of harm to yourself or others. Under these circumstances counsellors have the option to trace your personal details and will do whatever is required to ensure safety.

You can choose to stop contact at any time and counsellors would appreciate you letting them know. We ask that you not share material from this service with others without our consent.

Counsellors may end your e-counselling if adequate help is not being provided, if there are time restraints on counselling, or in case of inappropriate online behaviour. In this case face-to-face counselling at Box Hill Institute or other services may be provided.

Getting started

E-counselling is not for everyone. If you have doubts about using e-counselling, read 'Advantages' and 'Disadvantages' for further information.

To begin counselling, return to the Home page. Once you have read what you need to know click on the "I agree..." link at the bottom of the page. In the message box, type a brief description of what is concerning you, with any questions you may have and submit your message.

Your counsellor

Once your enquiry has been received you will be allocated a counsellor. The counsellor will reply to you and remain as your counsellor while you need help. If your counsellor becomes unavailable, another will be allocated.

Receiving replies

Please allow 2-3 working days for us to respond to your concerns. Check the e-counselling system regularly for responses. Alternatively, you have the option to be notified of replies via an email message which you can setup by turning on notifications. You can receive replies by logging onto StudentWeb and going into e-counselling the same way you did initially. Once you have accepted the conditions and entered into the e-counselling system, you can read your messages and send replies.

Does e-counselling work?

To date, outcome studies on the effectiveness of online counselling has been positive in showing that it can have a similar impact as face-to-face counselling interaction. This is an area with a growing body of knowledge and further research is still required to establish a better understanding of the variables that may impact the efficacy and effectiveness of online therapies. The biggest concerns with e-counselling are the lack of controls and standards, implementation and ethical issues. Box Hill Institute and CAE counsellors are trained and committed to ensuring ethical standards are met.

When might e-counselling be inappropriate?

  • If you are not capable of giving consent.
  • If you suffer from a serious mental health disorder, such as a borderline personality disorder or a psychosis.
  • If safety is an issue. This could include suicidal feelings or a domestic violence situation.
  • If you need to speak to someone now, call one of these 24-hour numbers:
13 11 14
1300 651 251
Kids Helpline
1800 551 800
Mens Line
1300 789 978
Safe Steps
1800 015 188
Centres Against Sexual Assault
1800 806 292
Direct Line (drug and alcohol)
1800 888 236

Are all students at Box Hill Institute able to use e-counselling?

Students have to be residing in Australia to be able to use this e-counselling which can be accessed both on and off campus.

Are there things I should tell the Counsellor?

Remember that your counsellor cannot see you. Therefore, it is not easy for the counsellor to be aware of your feelings. The counsellor won't be able to tell if you are physically hurt, and may have difficulty reading your emotions. There can also be misunderstandings when using text.

It will be beneficial to tell your counsellor if:

  • you have mental health issues or addictions
  • you have been drinking or taking drugs
  • you are in a domestic violence situation, or if you and your partner have heated arguments which become physical
  • you are in a crisis or fear for your safety
  • you don't understand something the counsellor is saying, or need clarification
  • you have concerns about online counselling
  • you have strong feelings, such as sadness or anger. Remember that your counsellor can't see you.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages of e-counselling

  • Convenience: There is greater flexibility and options in using e-counselling.
  • Time consideration: You don't need to take time off work or travel anywhere and it gives you more time to think and respond.
  • Accessibility: It offers increased access to services from rural and remote locations or to people who are unable to leave their homes or travel to an office.
  • Cost-effective: Travel costs, child-care costs can be eliminated.
  • Anonymity: Some people feel safer and are able to more readily open up.

Disadvantages of e-counselling

  • Misunderstandings: Use of abbreviations and lack of non-verbal communication cues can increase the risk of misinterpretation for you and your counsellor. You may need to take time to describe your experience clearly.
  • Complexity: Sometimes situations are too complex to be conveyed in text messages and therefore the online contact may need to be supplemented by face-to-face counselling.
  • Technology: Sometimes technical difficulties may interrupt your use of e-counselling. Confidentiality is always limited by the security of the technology and the level of encryption. If you experience technical difficulties, contact Student Life on (03) 9286 9891 for telephone or face-to-face counselling.

How does Box Hill Institute e-counselling protect my privacy and confidentiality?


Once you have entered e-counselling, other StudentWeb users (both students and staff) will not be able to read the content of any messages. This is because messages are encrypted (or coded) in transmission. All records of messages remain encrypted.


eCounselling ("us", "we", or "our") uses cookies on the website (the "Service"). By using the Service, you consent to the use of cookies. When you use and access the Service, we may place a number of cookies files in your web browser. If you'd like to delete cookies or instruct your web browser to delete or refuse cookies, please visit the help pages of your web browser. However, if you delete cookies or refuse to accept them, you might not be able to use all of the features we offer, you may not be able to store your preferences, and some of our pages might not display properly.


Counsellors will prefer you to use your normal name. You will be also be given the option to choose a nickname if you prefer not to use your own name. Counsellors will need to know who you are if there is a threat of harm to yourself or others.

The content of all messages is kept strictly confidential. Information about sessions can only be released if:

  • required by a court of law
  • there is a clear risk of harm to yourself or others, in which case we may disclose minimal information to avert risk.

Each counsellor is a registered psychologist or a social worker with a commitment to following ethical and professional standards in relation to maintaining confidentiality and privacy. We aim to have one counsellor per client; however, messages may be read by more than one Box Hill Institute or CAE counsellor.

Record keeping

Transcripts of sessions are kept to refer to what has happened in previous counselling exchanges. Records are kept via encryption to ensure that only counselling staff can access them. Other Box Hill Institute or CAE staff, students, or outsiders will not be able to read them. As with face-to-face counselling we may keep notes in addition to the electronic messages. All notes will be kept in the same way as face-to-face counselling - in a secure, access restricted file.