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?

If you would like to access counselling here at the University, you can simply fill out our online form in order to arrange an assessment appointment with our Student Wellbeing team. You can find further information and a link to the form here.

At the assessment appointment, you will be able to discuss whether you would like to access counselling and other options will also be explored with you.  We can offer counselling by telephone if you are a Distance Learning student or are unable to visit us in person at Stoke, Stafford, Shrewsbury or London.

 
If counselling from our team is appropriate, you will be offered up to 6 appointments in any one academic year. (There is usually a waiting list for students wanting appointments.)  You can re-access the service in any future academic years whilst you are still a student here.

(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. Occasionally, appointments can last longer, particularly if we are helping organise a referral for you to other sources of support.

How many appointments can I have?

If counselling from our team is appropriate, you will be offered up to 6 appointments, in any one academic year. (There is usually a waiting list for students wanting appointments.)  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?

Once you have completed and submitted your form, we will look at the information you have provided and contact you to arrange an initial assessment appointment with you, or to signpost you to another service if we are not the most appropriate service for you.  We aim to respond to submitted forms within 2 working days (not including weekends) during term-time, and within 5 working days (not including weekends) out of term-time, not including public holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year, when we are closed.

If you are looking for help in an emergency or feel you need support urgently, please see information on our web pages about emergency and 24 hour support.

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).

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 attending counselling with us in order to attend the workshops.

Do you help with Exceptional Circumstances?

The Counsellors are usually able to provide a supporting statement for Exceptional 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.