Counselling for Research Graduate Students

Asmae (pronounced Ess-maa) El-Bouhali is our new embedded counsellor, specifically available to support research graduate students in the Faculty of Medicine!

Starting October 13, Asmae will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays, with some virtual appointments on Thursday afternoons.


Asmae is a clinical counsellor with graduate degrees in Counselling Psychology and Human Development from the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia. She is available for single-session appointments, wellness advising, or short-term individual counselling, depending on a student’s needs.

How can I make an appointment with Asmae?

You can phone UBC Counselling Services at 604-822-3811, specify that you are a research graduate student in the Faculty of Medicine, and request an appointment with Asmae (keeping in mind her general availability of Mondays and Wednesdays). The staff member will guide you through next steps. As a Faculty of Medicine grad student, you have the choice of requesting to see Asmae or accessing another type of Counselling Services appointment, such as a same-day, single-session appointment or Wellness Advising appointment.

For now, Asmae will be working out of Brock Hall on the Point Grey Campus; she can see students in-person at Point Grey or via video/telephone sessions. We are in the process of arranging for Asmae to offer some appointments on-site at our hospital campuses in the coming months.

Why might I make an appointment with Asmae?

If you’re feeling persistently stressed, anxious, or sad, it can help to speak with a counsellor. Grad students can struggle with issues related to self-doubt, perfectionism, work-life balance, strained supervisory relationships, worry about the future, motivation, isolation, and juggling multiple roles and obligations – as well as with mental health problems and crises that anyone can experience, such as depression, anxiety, grief/loss, relationship problems, identity questions, addictions or substance use, etc. Talking to a professional can help you work through these problems and take steps toward your goals, in line with yourvalues, strengths, and priorities.

Will anyone know I have used this service?

Counselling is private and confidential, and no information about you (or even the fact that you contacted Counselling Services) will be shared with your supervisor, graduate program, or department. Information about you and your health can only be shared with your permission, except when safety concerns or legal requirements arise.

What is Asmae’s approach to counselling?

Asmae is a clinical counsellor with graduate degrees in Counselling Psychology and Human Development from the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Clinical Psychology and Communication at the University of Amsterdam. She offers a collaborative, safe, compassionate therapeutic space in which students can explore self-awareness, mindfulness, and personal growth. She uses a trauma-informed lens and research-based methodologies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. Asmae also has extensive experience in cross-cultural therapy and is able to offer services in Moroccan-Arabic and Dutch.

Can Asmae help with questions related to my graduate program?

Asmae is a clinical counsellor, meaning she provides support generally related to mental health, wellness, and stressors/crises of that arise in daily or student life. For academic questions, please instead contact your graduate program director, advisor, coordinator, or administrator – find their contact info here: https://grad-postdoc.med.ubc.ca/about/contacts/. That said, you can certainly reach out to Asmae to discuss stress or coping related to aspects of your graduate studies (e.g., supervisory or other interpersonal relationships, fears, pressures, etc.).

Please note that if you have been mistreated or witnessed mistreatment (disrespectful or unprofessional behaviour including abuse, bullying, harassment, and discrimination), you can find information about support and reporting options through the Learner Mistreatment Help portal: https://mistreatmenthelp.med.ubc.ca/

The Graduate & Postdoctoral Education Office welcomes student feedback as we implement this new embedded counsellor program. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please email med.research@ubc.ca.