Counseling and Wellness Services

Medical school can be demanding and stressful. There is much to learn, long hours in the classroom and competing demands for your time. The volume of work and the intense pace of your training may require that you make adjustments to your lifestyle. These changes can test your usual coping skills. That's why our counselors are here for you.

Services offered through the School of Medicine's counseling program in Seattle or as part of the WWAMI regional program for you or your partner/spouse are free and completely confidential.


Joanne Estacio-Deckard
Director, Medical Student Counseling and Wellness Services


Our counselors are generally available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will gladly try to accommodate your busy schedule if you need an earlier or later appointment. 

Accessing Counseling Services

Seattle students can call, email, or drop-in to schedule an appointment with the counselor of their choice.  Drop-ins are always welcome if a counselor is available.  First year students at other WWAMI sites can contact the identified WWAMI counselor listed below or inquire with the local WWAMI office. 

Counselors remain available for medical students during the clinical years with evening appointments available.  Clerkship students at one of the clinical centers (Boise, Spokane, and Anchorage) can obtain information on local counseling by contacting the regional WWAMI clinical coordinator or by contacting one of the Seattle counselors for a referral.  Students serving on clerkships in smaller WWAMI communities can contact one of the Seattle counselors to arrange telephone or email consultations. 

MD/PHD students continue to have access to counseling through the SOM while completing their PhD program.

Services available through the Counseling Service

Below is a list of the types of services offered by the Counseling Service in Seattle.  The counselors at the other regional sites are available to provide many of the same support services.  Counselors can provide counseling for you or your partner/spouse for individual or couples counseling.  Counselors are available to discuss issues related to medical school or any other personal concern that may be troubling you.

  • Individual Counseling
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management
  • Test Anxiety
  • Academic Difficulties
  • Anxiety Management
  • Coping with Depression
  • Couples Counseling
  • Managing Relationships
  • Peer Conflicts
  • Referrals for Psychotropic Medications
  • Drop-in Consultations
  • Support Groups
  • Coping with Clerkships
  • Career Counseling
  • Residency Match Stress
  • Workshops and Seminars

Counseling is completely confidential. Limited counseling records are securely kept by your counselor and are not part of your academic file.  Information about students who are seeking counseling is never shared with faculty or administrators unless you sign a release of information and ask your counselor to do so.  If you are having academic difficulties or if personal circumstances might require a modification in your medical education program, you may sign a release of information and ask your counselor to share information with the Student Affairs Dean.

    Counseling in the School of Medicine tends to be shorter term.  If long term counseling or psychiatric assessment is needed, a counselor can refer you to one of our network of community providers who may be able to see you on a reduced fee basis.  Counselors may also help refer you to one of the other programs available to students on the Seattle campus.

    Wellness Services

    Watch for email announcements about weekly yoga classes and weekly massage appointments (student interns from the Cortiva School of Massage).  Counselors offer free health and wellness workshops throughout the year on topics such as stress management, meditation, family issues, etc. Information about these events and other wellness tips can be found in our periodic email newsletter. Other wellness and referral information can be found in the Counseling Service Bulletin Board outside of T-551.

    Seattle Counselors

    All of the medical student counselors are licensed, experienced, mental health professionals who are experienced in providing psychotherapy and counseling to medical students.  In Seattle, Dr. Richard Veith, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, provides psychiatric consultation to the counselors when needed. To protect student privacy and confidentiality, student names or identifying information are never utilized during these consultations.

    The Counseling Service on the Seattle campus is located in the AA suite of offices on the first floor of the UW Medical Center.  Take the BB elevators to the first floor; turn toward "Lab Services"; turn left at the hallway and immediately turn left again into the AA suite.  Signs will direct you to each of the counselor offices.  Appointments can be made by contacting the counselor of your choice in person, by phone, or by email. 

    Paul Barry, LICSW
    AA-111G, 206.616.3022

    Sheri Davis, LICSW
    AA-111B, 206.543.8392

    Joanne Estacio-Deckard, LICSW
    AA-103E, 206.616.3024

    NOTE: This office does not provide counseling for medical school pre-admission.  For that information, please contact or call 206.543.7212.

    Regional WWAMI Counselor Contacts

    To access free, confidential counseling at one of the regional WWAMI sites, please contact:

    Emergency Services

    The Counseling Service does not provide emergency services or after-hours crisis intervention.  Students in crisis may contact the King County Crisis Line (206.461.3222) or seek assistance at the nearest Emergency department.

    UW Seattle Campus and Other Community Resources

    • Hall Health Mental Health Clinic
      Hall Health Primary Care Center
      Provides psychotherapy and psychiatric assessment and follow up.  There are fees for this service, though UW Student Health Insurance may cover part of the fee.
    • UW Student Counseling Center
      401 Schmitz Hall
      Provides psychotherapy as well as a number of group programs.  There may be fees for this service, though UW Student Health Insurance may cover part of the fee.
    • Psychological Services and Training Center
      Guthrie Hall, Annex 1
      Psychological counseling provided by psychology graduate students on a sliding fee scale basis.  This service is NOT covered by UW Student Health Insurance.
    • LEARN CLINIC of the Psychological Service Center
      Guthrie Hall, Annex 1
      Provides testing for learning disabilities, ADHD, etc.  No sliding fee scale is offered and insurance typically does not cover the cost.
    • King Co. Crisis Clinic & Referral Line
      1.866.4CRISIS (1.866.427.4747)