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University Counselling Service

Student Counselling

Do I need to see a counsellor?

Many people sort out problems by talking to friends, family or staff in their College or Department. For others it is a matter of looking up information about things that concern them, and we have a large section of self-help information on this website - follow the Self Help link here or on the left. But there are times when this isn't enough and it makes sense to come to the Counselling Service.

Who is the Service for?

The Service is free and available to all undergraduate and postgraduate students currently registered at the University, including students of the Theological Colleges.

Please note that the Service is not funded to see students who are intermitting from their studies or to see visiting students from other Universities.

(Staff of the Colleges are seen by the University Staff Counselling Service, please follow this link.)

Individual and Group Counselling

The Service offers brief counselling, with the majority of students seen for an average of four sessions or fewer. As well as individual counselling, we provide Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and access to guided self-help, where appropriate. Brief counselling and CBT both involve an active, collaborative process, with sessions or follow-ups scheduled at weekly, fortnightly or longer intervals. This therapeutic approach can be effective for help with a wide range of personal, developmental and academic-related problems.

In some cases we are able to offer some longer-term support, often, this is through participating in a therapeutic group.

The Service also offers a variety of topic-specific workshops throughout the year, as well as short-term and longer-term CBT and counselling groups. You can find out more about our groups and workshops at this link

Applying for Individual Counselling 

Counselling Provision at UCS 

  • We are currently offering remote appointments for students via (audio or video to suit your preferred option). From the start of Easter Term 2022, we will be offering in person appointments at the UCS, 3rd Floor, Student Services Centre alongside our existing remote service. Please note that we will do what we can to accommodate your preference to be seen in person, but are not able to guarantee in person appointments will be available for all requests.
  • The appointments will usually last for 50 minutes.
  • Your counsellor will send you an invitation for remote appointments in advance, usually on the morning of your appointment.
  • We can arrange remote emotional support appointments for students who are on their year abroad or undergoing fieldwork, which usually last for 30 minutes.
  • Where appropriate we can also signpost you to other sources of support.

To arrange an appointment with UCS (including College-Based Counselling, see above) please complete the 'Student Pre-Counselling Form' on our secure website.

The form is intended to be thought-provoking, but you do not need to give detailed answers; you can also put "I would prefer to talk about this in person" if it is difficult to write about. The information you give us will remain confidential within the Counselling Service, and helps us to place you with an appropriate counsellor.

The form can be submitted securely online; you will need your Raven password to use this facility. Please click on the link below:

Please be aware that the online form requires completion within a 3hr time frame for security, after which it automatically shuts down (you may want to save your data in case the session is close to expiring).  We also recommend, that you do not send the form from a mobile phone.

If you are not able to maintain stable access to the internet, we can accept downloaded copies of the form via email: 


Receiving an appointment offer for counselling 

After receiving your form, we will send you an email acknowledgement.
Your details will then be placed on our waiting list. 
When a suitable appointment becomes available, your appointment will be offered by email and you will be asked to confirm within a stated time period.
We may offer you a short notice appointment if one becomes available and you are the next person waiting to be seen. In this case, we will email you and call or text you if you have indicated that we may do so.

We will normally make up to two first appointment offers, based on the availability shown in your timetable.

We do our best to accommodate personal and academic commitments, but the more flexible you can be in terms of availability, the more likely you are to be offered a timely appointment. It is accepted by the University that you prioritise counselling appointments as you would a medical appointment.

If you are no longer available for your appointment, please let us know as early as possible.

For more information about appointment offers and waiting times, please see our FAQs page

Liaison with Academic Departments or Colleges

If your work is being affected by personal problems, it may be helpful for your counsellor to liaise with your Tutor, Director of Studies or other person within the University. Because the Service is confidential, we would need your consent to do so - please let your counsellor know if you would find this helpful.

Liaison with GPs and Mental Health Services

All students should register with a Cambridge doctor and it can be helpful to inform your GP that you are seeing a counsellor at the UCS. We can also arrange mental health assessments within the Counselling Service either via our Mental Health Advisor (see below) or through a referral to a Consultant Psychiatrist, who attends the Service one day a week in term time. Your counsellor would discuss this with you if this seems appropriate.