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Welcome to Health, Wellness, & Counseling. Our mission is to help graduate students enhance their academic and personal well-being. HWC offers prevention, intervention, information, and referral services to all KAUST students and their dependents. In addition, HWC also provides consultation and education to faculty and staff to assist them in addressing the psychological needs of the graduate student community. 


Download your HWC-Flyer​



About HWC

  • Scope of Services

    • ​​The role of Health, Wellness, and Counseling (HWC) is to help graduate students and their dependents enhance their academic and personal well-being. Through confidential personal counseling, educational workshops, and community outreach the team at HWC seeks to ensure the holistic health of KAUST's graduate students. HWC offers free prevention, intervention, information, and referral services to all KAUST students and their dependents. The most common service provided by HWC is individual private counseling. In addition, HWC also routinely provides educational workshops, psychological assessments, crisis support, and referral services. Lastly, HWC also provides consultation and education to faculty and staff to assist them in addressing the psychological needs of the graduate student community.

  • What to expect in Counseling

    • ​Counseling is an interactive process of talking with a trained professional. Sometimes the goal is to help you see and feel more clearly those things which are preventing you from reaching your potential. Together, you and the counselor can identify and practice new strategies to reduce the barriers to your progress. Other times, it simply helps to express yourself about painful or hurtful situations that have been upsetting you. Your counselor is a neutral and experienced person who will not judge or pressure you but will work with you to move towards the goals that are important to you.

      Helpful Tips

      • Clarify your goals 
      • Arrive on time 
      • Don't miss your scheduled appointments
      • Be open and honest
      • Let your counselor know if you are feeling worse
      • Your safety is our priority - Be honest about safety concerns
      • Make time to think about the things you have discussed with your counselor in between sessions​
  • Confidentiality

    • ​​All services of the Health, Wellness & Counseling are strictly confidential.  HWC staff typically will not release any information regarding clients, or the services they receive, to anyone outside of the HWC program without the written permission of the client. This protection of privacy for counseling services is a strict part of the professional code of ethics in all mental health professions and the University has a strong practice of safeguarding students’ personal records.   When you come to HWC for your first appointment, your counselor will discuss with you HWC’s policies and practices in regards to confidentiality and record keeping. ​​​

  • Request an Appointment

    • ​​​​​​Getting connected to the services of Health, Wellness & Counseling is very easy. To make an appointment please stop by the Student Center (Bldg.18) or email us at hwc@​kau​st.edu.sa

      When requesting an appointment, please let us know if you have a specific language or counselor preference.  While every effort will be made to match you with the counselor of your choice, note that in some cases, due to your specific needs or counselor's availability, you may be referred to another HWC counselor. 


      Todd_Pietruszka.jpgDr. Todd Pietruszka [English]:
      Student Center, 3rd Floor, Room 3205






      Nabil 1.jpgNabil Salibi [English, Arabic, French]:​

      Student Center, 3rd Floor, Room 3204





      Eva.jpgEva Kosel [English, German]​:
      Student Center, 4th Floor, Room 4213​



  • Crisis

    • ​If at any time you are concerned for the physical safety of yourself or someone else, immediately call:

            911 [from a campus telephone] 

            012-808-0911 [from mobile phone]

            or go to KAUST Health Emergency Room [open 24/7, located on the south side of the medical clinic building]

      During Normal Business Hours:
      HWC offers same-day appointments between 8 am-5 pm to students and their spouses who are in crisis. If you have an urgent matter and feel it would be important to speak to a counselor as soon as possible, please contact HWC staff or simply come to the HWC offices in the Student Center for a crisis assessment and recommendations. When contacting a counselor, it is important that you let them know that you are requesting a same-day crisis appointment. Note that crisis appointments will be handled by the first available counselor, so that even though you may contact a specific counselor, your crisis request may be handled by a different counselor.

      After Hours Crisis:
      For after-hours mental health crisis assistance, please call 054-027-2519.
      Please note this number is only answered after business hours and is only for mental health emergencies.


      If no answer, please call Dr. Faizi Ghodsi, Director of Graduate Development and Services: 054-470-0017.

  • Self-Care Tips

      • Tell someone who cares about you what your difficulties are, and ask for extra support. Be as specific as you can about what you need and what might help. Reaching out to supportive others can often be very helpful.
      • Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep generally makes stress worse. If possible, try to stick to a sleep schedule and get between 6-9 hours of sleep per night.
      • Keep active and exercise. Physical movement and exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. A good general goal is to exercise 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes. Exercising too much can add additional stress to your body.
      • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other non-prescribtion drugs as these may make anxiety and depression worse.
      • Keep a routine, such as attending classes or work, but reduce stress by eliminating activities that are a lower priority.
      • Try to avoid making any major decisions or changes in your life while you are in a very distressed or emotional place.
      • Make a plan about what to do if your mood worsens and you are unable to function or feel you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else. Some options are:
          • tell your family or a good friend and ask for help
          • go home to family
          • Contact HWC for a crisis appointment
          • Call 911 [0128080911 from mobile phone] or go to the KAUST Medical Clinic Emergency Room​

  • Resources

    • ​Below are some links to useful information related to mental health issues: The listing of these sites and resources does not imply that the University or HWC staff endorses all of the information included in these links. We encourage you to evaluate the materials and use what you find helpful. Some of the resources include brochures from other counseling centers in other parts of the world. Please note that the resources these brochures list will be local to those areas.

      This information is not intended to substitute for help from a qualified mental health professional. For personal assistance, please contact a member of the Health, Wellness and Counseling team to schedule an appointment.

      apa-logo.jpg jed.jpg Psychology_Today.jpgpsychalive.PNGHealthWellnessLogo.jpg

  • Outreach & Programs

    • ​​​Health, Wellness & Counseling regularly offers outreach and educational programing for students and their spouses. Popular topics include: 

      • Stress Management
      • Communication Skills 
      • Relaxation Skills
      • Health Habits 
      • Sleep Hygiene 
      • Procrastination 
      • and many more 


      The format of outreach varies from educational workshops and seminars to creative events like making smoothies, TED talks or movie events.

      The schedule of upcoming events can be found here.​

      If you are interested in requesting a particular workshop or receiving periodic emails from HWC informing you about the different outreach programs, email the HWC team at hwc@kaust.edu.sa. ​

  • ​Self-Assessments​

  • FAQs

    • ​​Is what I say private? All services of the HWC are strictly confidential. HWC staff typically will not release any information regarding clients, or the services they receive, to anyone outside of HWC without the written permission of the client. 

      What is the cost of counseling? Free. There is no charge for our services.

      Are there services for my spouse? Yes, we will be happy to see your spouse by himself or herself, or we can see the two of you together if you are having relationship concerns.

      Do I need to have a major problem to come to counseling? No. Some people who come to counseling are very depressed, feel like they may hurt themselves, or have been subjected to abuse growing up. However, many people come to counseling because their grades are suffering, they can't get along with those around them, or they simply need someone to talk to. HWC counselors have diverse experience working with the range of life and academic issues. 

      How long does it take? Most students who seek counseling at HWC feel they have met their goals in only a few meetings. Some students stay in counseling longer or come back to focus on a different concern. Counseling is a very flexible process, tailored to your needs.​