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University Counselling Service

Student Counselling

The University Counselling Service (UCS) supports students who are experiencing personal, relational or academic concerns. 

Who can access individual counselling at the UCS?

This service is available to all students currently registered at the University, including:

  • undergraduate students
  • postgraduate students
  • students of the theological colleges
  • students on a year abroad* or undertaking fieldwork  
    *(due to regulatory limitations, we offer 30 minute emotional support sessions for students who are currently abroad. The purpose of these sessions is to help you to consider ways of managing your current situation).

Unfortunately, the service is not able to support:

  • students who are intermitting from their studies 
  • visiting students from other universities
  • University and College staff, who can access counselling from the Staff Counselling Centre

What to expect from individual counselling

We offer therapy that aims to help you to discover strategies, insights and behavioural changes that can support you to overcome your most pressing concern. A concern can be anything that is having an adverse effect your wellbeing and studies.

Our counsellors/therapists will help you to discover strategies, insights and behavioural changes. That can support you to overcome your most pressing concern.

How to access counselling

Making an initial appointment

To access our service, complete our online referral form. You only need to complete this form once per academic year.

We aim to offer every student an initial 75 minute appointment within 10 working days. 

We will offer you the next available appointment slot. If you cannot attend this appointment, please let us know as soon as possible. We can only make two initial appointment offers, so please prioritise counselling appointments as healthcare appointments.

After each session

Your counsellor will ask you to engage in a five-stage process:

  1. Reflect - upon the content of the session
  2. Digest – and assimilate your learning and experiences from the session
  3. Act – upon your learning/experience
  4. Wait -  two weeks, or more, so change can take effect
  5. Decide – whether you require a follow up session

This model of counselling is called ‘One at a Time Therapy’. The aim of this model is to provide therapeutic support at the point of need, rather than having to wait. 

We may also signpost you to other forms of practical, emotional or psychological support:

  • therapeutic groups and workshops
  • support from other Student Services teams or Academic teams
  • support from wellbeing/ mental health services external to the university
  • or you may decide you need another One at a Time Therapy session.

Making follow-up appointments

If after two weeks, or more, you decide that you need another session, please email your counsellor/therapist directly to book. Follow-up sessions are usually 50 minutes long.

To change your counsellor/therapist, please email

After four sessions, your counsellor will review if longer term support or treatment is required, and signpost appropriately.

Where will my counselling session take place?

You can access either:

  • Online counselling sessions via Zoom
  • In-person support on the 3rd floor of the Student Services Centre

While we will try to accommodate all In-person requests, in order to limit your waiting time you may be offered a remote 1st appointment.   

Can I request a specific counsellor?

Yes, you can request to see the counsellor you've seen before. You can also request to see a female or male counsellor, or request a BAME counsellor.

What if I need psychological treatment or long-term therapy?

If you need specialist treatment, your GP can refer you to NHS/specialist services. We can also provide you with information about how to find a private counsellor or therapist.


We are a confidential service. We will not share information with anyone outside of the Student Support team unless you have given your consent for us to do so. 

However, confidentiality is not absolute. In extreme cases the UCS may share relevant information if a student/other is at significant risk.

Counsellors record an overview of each session/contact. All records saved on a secure database. This database is only accessible to Student Support staff. For more information please see our confidentiality policy.

Liaison with Academic Departments or Colleges

It may sometimes be helpful for us to share information with college staff, with your consent. If you decide not to provide consent, your support may be limited.

Liaison with GPs and Mental Health Services

All students should register with a doctor in Cambridge. It is also be helpful to inform your GP if you are seeing a counsellor.