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Staff Counselling FAQs

Who can use the Staff Counselling Service?

The Staff Counselling Service is available to all staff with a University contract of employment: academic, academic-related, assistant, research and technical. [We regret that temporary workers on assignment through the Temporary Employment Service are not eligible to use this service.]

Senior members and staff who are employed by the Colleges but are not University employees may consult the Student Counselling Service for a free initial assessment and then be referred on for private or NHS counselling or psychotherapy. Please follow this link or the one on the left.

[NB Staff at institutions such as UCLES, Cambridge Assessment & CUP, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, cannot be seen for counselling, as these are separate employers.]

Do I have to pay?

No, the Staff Counselling Service is available free of charge to all staff who hold a University contract of employment.

How long will I have to wait for an appointment offer?

The answer will depend on your stated availability to attend appointments, the current waiting list, which varies during the year, and also your particular situation.  Our current waiting time is accessed via this link. Please let us know if your availability changes in any way.

Can I request a specific time or day for my counselling?

Yes, but bear in mind that you will be seen more quickly if you can be more flexible. Evening counselling appointments are in limited supply and most in demand, followed by lunchtimes. We do our best to accommodate work and domestic commitments.

Can I change the appointment time offered to me?

You will be offered a specific appointment time, according to the availability you have given to us on your Pre-counselling form. If you cannot make this time, in most cases your name will return to the waiting list. We organise our work by offering each client an appointment 'slot' (e.g. 9am on Monday) with a particular counsellor, which remains the same for the duration of the sessions. The waiting list is for one of these 'slots'. It is important to complete the availability chart on the Pre-Counselling Form to indicate times when you will be able to consistently attend. We will offer a second appointment when a suitable one becomes available.

How long are the appointments?

Counselling sessions last 50 minutes. If you arrive late for your session, your session will be for the time remaining.

Do I have to fill in a Pre-counselling form?

No. It helps us to allocate you to a counsellor as quickly as we can, but we understand that sometimes a difficulty is too personal and sensitive, or distressing to write about. We are happy then to offer a Pre-counselling session when you can talk to one of the counsellors, and then wait for a regular appointment. You can email or phone to request one of these sessions, or fill in Part A of the form [the basic contact and statistical information], and request a Pre-counselling session in Part B.

Does my problem have to be about work?

No. If work is affecting your emotional or psychological health or if your emotional or psychological health is affecting your work,you may find counselling helpful. Staff come with work issues such as stress, bullying, work block or difficult relationships with colleagues. Or they come with personal issues such as bereavement, relationship difficulties, or for support with questions relating to their sexual orientation or gender identity. These are just a small sample.

Does my problem have to be a serious one to see a counsellor?

No, many personal, relationship or identity problems can be helped through counselling. Seeing a counsellor is about making a positive choice to get the help that you need. Please don't wait until a problem has grown very serious - we would much rather you came when something is relatively minor, so that it can be resolved more quickly.

Will my counsellor tell anyone about my problems?

The counselling we offer is confidential, which means we will not discuss your situation with anyone outside the Service, unless we have your consent to do so. For more information about our confidentiality policy and professional code of ethics please click on this link.

If your work is being affected by personal problems it can sometimes be helpful for your counsellor to have a liaison role with others on your behalf. We would only make contact with your University Department, Human Resources Business Manager or Advisor, or Occupation Health with your express agreement.

Will records be kept about my counselling?

Yes. In accordance with professional practice, the Service keeps statistical information on clients and individual counsellors make notes about what happens during sessions. These records are strictly confidential and do not go outside the Service. You also have the right to request your counselling records. For more information about our record keeping and data protection matters, please see our section on Data Protection.

What if I am worried about someone else?

If you are worried about a friend, partner, colleague or relative, you are welcome to arrange a single consultation session to discuss your concerns. We may not be able to respond immediately, but we will do our best to see you quickly.