Counselling FAQs

What is counselling?

Counselling offers an opportunity to talk with someone in a supportive setting about anything that is affecting your emotional and psychological wellbeing. The Counsellor will not tell you what to think, feel or do in relation to your situation. But they may suggest information that might be helpful for you, or who else or which service might be helpful for other support, if needed.  However, the emphasis will be on offering you non-judgmental support and trying to understand, with you, what you are experiencing. We hope that through counselling, you will be able to develop your own answers and ways of managing or overcoming your difficulties, enabling you to focus on your studies and enjoy your time here at Staffordshire University.

Can I see a Counsellor about any type of difficulty?

As a general rule - yes.  Whatever the reason, if you are finding it difficult to get on with your studies or engage in University life more generally, counselling may be of some help.  Some examples of the sorts of things students come and talk about are: relationships (with friends, partners or family); self-harm; eating difficulties; study problems; loneliness; suicidal thoughts; depression; self-confidence; sexuality; bereavement; anxiety; gender; cultural issues; and self-esteem.

We have a staff team of professionally trained and qualified Counsellors who are used to working with students experiencing a wide variety of difficulties.  However, there will be circumstances where counselling from us will not be appropriate.  In such circumstances we can signpost you to, and sometimes liaise with, other professionals and organisations.

Is my counselling confidential?

Please see our Privacy Statement, which provides information about confidentiality.

Do you keep records about my counselling?

Yes. Please see our Privacy Statement, which provides information about what information is stored.

Will the Counsellor advise me about what to do?

The Counsellor will not tell you what to think, feel or do in relation to your situation, and so will not advise you as such. But they may suggest information that might be helpful for you, or who else or which service might be helpful for other support, if needed. However, the emphasis will be on offering you non-judgmental support and trying to understand, with you, what you are experiencing. We hope that through counselling, you will be able to develop your own answers and ways of managing or overcoming your difficulties, enabling you to focus on your studies and enjoy your time at Staffordshire University.

Will I see the same Counsellor for each appointment?

You will usually be able to choose whether you see the same Counsellor for each appointment but this will depend on the circumstances and sometimes may not be possible.

How do I make an appointment?

To make an appointment to see a Counsellor at Stoke or the Centres of Excellence at Stafford or Shrewsbury please contact our admin team by phone or email, or at Stoke in person via the Student Hub.  For further details see appointments.

If you feel you need support urgently, please phone us during opening hours, so that we can arrange an appointment with a Counsellor or one of the Mental Wellbeing Advisors as quickly as possible. 

(Also see Emergency Support for other options, particularly if you are seeking support outside our opening times.)

How long do appointments last?

Appointments usually last for approximately 50 minutes but we may offer a shorter appointment if you have asked to be seen urgently. Occasionally, appointments can last longer, particularly if it is your first (assessment) appointment and we are helping organise a referral for you to other sources of support.

How many appointments can I have?

Your first counselling appointment will be an assessment session, during which the Counsellor will discuss with you whether counselling from us is appropriate and if you would like further appointments, as well as what other support is available. If counselling from us is appropriate, you will initially be offered up to 5 further appointments, although students sometimes prefer to make occasional, one-off appointments, rather than attending regularly. (There is usually a waiting list for students wanting regular appointments.) There may be the possibility of a limited number of further appointments after this in any given academic year and the Counsellor will discuss this with you. You can re-access the service in any future academic years whilst you are still a student here.

How quickly can I arrange an appointment?

We can usually offer an assessment appointment within 1 - 2 weeks but this can sometimes be longer during busy periods. However, sometimes you may be able to book an appointment within a few days or even the same day.

If you feel you need support urgently, please phone us during opening hours, so that we can arrange an appointment with a Counsellor or one of the Mental Wellbeing Advisors as quickly as possible. (Also see Emergency Support for other options, particularly if you are seeking support outside our opening times.)

If you would like further, regular counselling appointments after your initial assessment, there is usually a waiting list, although students sometimes prefer to make one-off, occasional appointments, rather than attending regularly.

Can I change an appointment once it's booked?

Yes - you can cancel or rearrange any appointments that you book. Please try to give us at least 24 hours notice of this where possible, so that we can make the appointment available for another student. Please note: missed or cancelled appointments will be counted as part of your agreed number of appointments unless you give us at least 24 hours notice (or are unable to attend due to illness or other exceptional circumstances).

What should I do if I'm concerned about someone else's wellbeing?

If the person you're concerned about is a Staffordshire University student, you could contact one of the Mental Wellbeing Advisors about your concerns. This may be something that you would also like to talk about in counselling, so you could also make a counselling appointment.

I'm a Staffordshire University student studying at another college - can I access counselling with you?

No - if you are a Staffordshire University student studying at one of our partner institutions, you would need to access counselling at that institution. For a list of partner institutions, please see UK Partnerships and International Partnerships.

Do you offer workshops?

Yes - we offer a number of different workshops each year and you can find details of what's available here: Workshops. You do not have to be receiving counselling from us in order to attend the workshops.

Do you help with Extenuating Circumstances?

The Counsellors are usually able to provide a supporting statement for Extenuating Circumstances if you have been or are coming for counselling during the period that you feel your studies have been affected. But we cannot usually provide a statement if this is not the case, and suggest you speak to one of the Student Guidance Advisors or the Students' Union Advice Centre for advice on who might be able to provide a supporting statement for your claim, if this is needed.

Are you open over the summer?

Yes - we're open all year round but we are closed on public holidays and other occasional days.

Are you open at weekends or in the evenings?

No - we do not currently open at weekends or in the evenings. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8.45am - 5pm.

What should I do if I need support when you're closed?

Various other services are available outside of our opening hours including Emergency Support options.

Alternatively, you could also find Self Help resources.