How it works

What’s involved in a face-to-face counselling appointment?

During your first counselling session the counsellor will explain how the service works, in terms of procedures, confidentiality etc. You will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire; your answers to this will help us understand what it is that has brought you to counselling. Without judging you, the counsellor will gently explore your situation more fully with you, so that together you can establish what support you need, what your hopes are in coming to counselling, and what the possible ways forward might be.
For some people this one session is enough, but you can also, at this time, discuss whether further appointments would be beneficial.

I’ve heard there is a waiting list. How long would I need to wait?

The counselling service no longer operates a waiting list system. Please see Counselling Appointments.

How many times can I see the counsellor?

After the first session we currently offer up to a further 5 weekly sessions in the first instance and ask you to attend those sessions on successive weeks (excepting vacations and other unavoidable breaks). However, at certain times during the year, it may not be possible to have more than 3 further weekly sessions, but your counsellor will discuss this with you during the initial appointment. In fairness to those people who may be waiting for an available counselling appointment, your counsellor may be unable to keep your counselling place open if you cannot attend regularly – for example if you did not arrive or repeatedly appointments.

Some people will have just one or two sessions and feel they’ve had all the support they need; others will have all six sessions and feel they have progressed, but that that they could benefit from further support. If this applies you can discuss your situation with your counsellor and they will explain what you need to do next.

Do I need to be registered with a local GP?

Yes: you will need to be registered with a local GP.

Meeting your needs

As a service we encourage a culture of feedback via ongoing dialogue with you about how counselling is helping you and by using Outcomes Measures questionnaires. It is really important for you to let us know if counselling is not meeting your expectations, and talking about that will help us try to ensure we are meeting your individual needs.

Keeping counselling appointments

A counselling appointment is part of a counselling contract. Counsellors take these seriously and will not cancel or change appointments except in unavoidable, extreme circumstances. If such a situation arises we will make every effort to contact you as soon as possible before the appointed time.

We also ask that if you use the service, you take your counselling time seriously. At times during the academic year there is a heavy demand for counselling and missed appointments make it difficult for us to run our service efficiently.

If you need to cancel an ongoing appointment please give us at least 24 hours notice.

You can cancel an appointment online or by contacting the Advice Zone on 01443 482 540.

PLEASE NOTE: if you cancel your appointment you will need to rebook your next session within 24 hours of the cancellation time by contacting your campus Advice Zone. If you cancel at the weekend, you will need to rebook on the next working day.

Please note you cannot book ongoing counselling appointments using emails; you must phone or visit your campus Advice Zone in person.

To facilitate the availability of the Counselling Service, and to minimise waiting times, we have to operate the following system:

Any ongoing session that is not attended, without 24 hours’ notice, will be counted as 'missed’. This will count as one of your overall 6 sessions, and if you miss an appointment and do not contact us within 24 hours, you will not be able to rebook automatically.

If you cancel or do not attend a First Appointment, you will be asked to book a new First Appointment, if you want to return to counselling.


If you arrive more than fifteen minutes late for your First Appointment it is unlikely that you will be seen as that would leave insufficient time for you to fully explore if counselling would be beneficial.

What if I have a complaint?

The Wellbeing Service, of which the The Counselling Service is a part, has a complaints procedure in place.