skip to content

University Counselling Service

Student Counselling

Can I have a different appointment time?

An appointment is only available at the time it is offered. If you cannot make this time, in most cases your name will return to the waiting list. We will then offer a second appointment when another suitable one becomes available.

UCS appointments should be treated as medical appointments and prioritised accordingly. Where a conflict arises, students need only state they have a medical appointment (with no further details required) and Supervisors are expected to be sympathetic. Where difficulties arise, Tutors can also be approached to support students in managing their study commitments.

How long are the appointments?

Typically counselling sessions last 50 minutes, but sometimes shorter or longer sessions are arranged. You should allow up to an hour for a first appointment. If you arrive late for your session, please be aware that your appointment will be curtailed or may be re-scheduled.

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

You will be seen more quickly if you can be flexible. Counselling appointments are currently offered between 9.00am - 4.00pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am - 3.00pm on Fridays. Please also note that we are not open at the weekends.

Can I request a specific counsellor?

We allocate appointments based on our assessment of what you have described on your form and the availability indicated on your timetable.  Please let us know if you particularly want to see a female or male counsellor, or if you are specifically seeking a CBT approach.

Students from all backgrounds access counselling at the UCS (last year 25% of the students we saw were BAME students, and over 40% of students came from outside of the UK). Our staff group is diverse, trained and experienced in working with issues of culture and difference including ethnicity. Though we are likely to be from a different background than our clients we are happy to discuss any issues of oppression that they experience, or the impact that this may be have on the therapeutic relationship.

We understand that some students would prefer to be seen by one of our BAME counsellors, and this can be requested on the pre-counselling form. It may however, mean that there is a longer waiting time for an initial appointment.

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

The answer will depend on many factors, including: how busy we are, your stated availability, and whether you have a specific request. It also depends on our assessment of your particular situation. The typical current waiting time is shown on our Waiting Times for Student Counselling page, but individual cases may be much shorter or longer. Please do let us know if you feel your situation is becoming urgent or if your availability changes in any way.

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

No, many personal, relationship or academic-related 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 early on, when problems can be resolved more quickly.

What if more help is needed than the Service can provide?

If longer-term therapy or specialist help is needed, referrals can be made via your GP to agencies within the community, or to services within the NHS. We can also provide information and advice about how to find a private counsellor or therapist (although we cannot arrange appointments with specific individuals). Your counsellor can discuss these options with you if this seems the best way forward. 

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. Exceptions to this rule apply only if there are legal or statutory obligations to disclose, or if there is a risk of serious harm to the client or to others. For more information about this please see our Confidentiality Policy which also refers to our professional code of ethics.

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, 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. Our Mental Health Advisors can also offer advice and information if you have concerns about the behaviour or mental health of another person.