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.
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.
- Clarify your goals
- Arrive on time
- Don't miss your scheduled
- Be open and honest
- Let your counselor know if you are
- 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
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
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
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.
Dr. Todd Pietruszka [English]:
Student Center, 3rd Floor, Room 3205
Nabil Salibi [English, Arabic, French]:
Student Center, 3rd Floor, Room 3204
Eva Kosel [English, German]:
Student Center, 4th Floor, Room 4213
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.
note this number is only answered after business hours and is only for mental
If no answer, please call Dr. Faizi Ghodsi, Director of Graduate Development and Services: 054-470-0017.
- 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
- Try to avoid making any major
decisions or changes in your life while you are in a very distressed or
- 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
- Call 911 [0128080911 from mobile phone] or go to the KAUST
Medical Clinic Emergency Room
Outreach & Programs
Health, Wellness &
Counseling regularly offers outreach and educational programing for
students and their spouses. Popular topics include:
- Stress Management
- Relaxation Skills
- Health Habits
- Sleep Hygiene
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
What is the cost of counseling? Free. There is no charge for our
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.