Our mission is to improve the mental health and well-being of our campus community. In the effort to provide a positive learning experience, we help students address issues of stress as well as helping them to focus on personal and academic goals, thereby contributing to improved motivation, performance and success.
Our services are guided by our respect for individuals and their culture and by our commitment to confidential and professional excellence. PAWS is committed to maintaining an atmosphere of openness and trust. We encourage the free exploration and discussion of attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors that are similar to and different from those of other people. We are a Safe Zone for LGBTQ+ students. We are dedicated to promoting respect for all persons, and to providing culturally relevant psychological services.
PAWS staff consult and collaborate with faculty, staff, administration, and other university departments to promote student development, build community, and enhance the quality of university life. PAWS employs evaluation and research to develop more effective services for students, contribute to our profession, and create new knowledge.
PAWS is staffed by four full-time clinicians who are licensed as psychologists. As of November 2021, all will have been licensed for at least two years, and thus will be eligible to provide primary individual supervision to interns. Our leadership structure includes the Director, Training Director, Groups Coordinator, and Outreach Coordinator. A full-time Program Coordinator provides administrative support services. Each clinician is highly invested in our training program and is eager to support trainees’ personal and professional growth throughout the year. Our staff have a variety of theoretical orientations, work from a developmental perspective, and share a commitment to diversity and social justice.
PAWS is located on the third floor of the Mattress Factory (MAT), a flatiron-shaped (triangular) brick building originally designed in the early 20th century for the manufacture of furniture and mattresses.1 The building became LEED Silver Certified at the time of its renovation for university use in 2004. The preservation of historical architectural materials is evident throughout the building in exposed brick and wooden beams; even the Chicago Safe & Lock Co. vault remains to adorn the PAWS waiting room, too heavy and massive to be removed. Some students affectionately call it the “safe room.”
The Mattress Factory houses many of the offices and services of the Division of Student Affairs, of which PAWS is a unit. All PAWS providers have private offices with standard office equipment (e.g., desk, seating, locking file cabinet, computer, phone, lighting, internet connection, video recording equipment) and each office has a window. PAWS offices are situated together along one side of the suite. PAWS shares some space with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), whose main office recently relocated to the second floor. Students who have ADA course accommodations take their exams in a quiet testing area located in the back of the PAWS suite, and the DRS Program Coordinator maintains a workspace opposite PAWS offices. Printers and office supplies are available to staff in a common area within the suite. A group room is available for group therapy, staff meetings, and other purposes. It is equipped with a white board, flat screen TV, computer, sofa and chairs seating, and a small table. Training seminars may be held in the group room or in nearby offices or buildings that have conference tables and audio-visual capabilities. A private waiting room is located just inside the PAWS entry, and the front desk is staffed by the PAWS Program Coordinator.
The Mattress Factory is wheelchair accessible from both front and back entrances, and the third floor restrooms and PAWS suite entry have automatic doors. Single stall all-gender restrooms are located on the first and second floors of the building. Designated women’s and men’s restrooms are located just outside the PAWS suite along with water fountains and a water bottle filling station. Just down the hall from the PAWS suite is a kitchen available for staff use, with a full-sized fridge, sink, two microwaves, toaster, coffee maker, electric kettle, seating area, and plenty of natural light. The PAWS staff also informally stock the suite with a variety of teas and snacks – both healthy and indulgent – throughout the year. The building participates in composting and recycling. Vending machines for snacks and beverages are located on the first floor near the Dawg House, a student lounge space featuring tabletop and video games and an eating area. When you need a break, consider taking in a view of the Tacoma Dome and Mount Rainier (on clearer days) from the third floor hallway.
1 University of Washington Tacoma. (2019). Mattress Factory (MAT). Accessed August 23. https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/campus-map/mattress-factory-mat