What is Counselling?

Why Come to Counselling?

You may be feeling under pressure because of the demands of the new University term, or because of other challenges in your life. You can come to talk through any concerns you have – you will find an impartial, confidential, non-judgemental space where you will be supported to explore your options for addressing or managing your situation.

How Can Counselling Help?

Having the opportunity to be heard and understood by someone who is not personally involved, or telling you what to do, can in itself be very helpful. In addition, counselling helps people focus on and clarify their thoughts and feelings so that they can arrive at their own solutions, or even make major changes in their lives.

For some people, counselling brings greater self-awareness and understanding which can be enough to move on from feeling held back. For others, it may lead to working in greater depth with your counsellor on long-standing issues which may be affecting your ability to study effectively now.

In addition, or as an alternative, you may be more interested in developing coping strategies.

A counsellor can:

  • help you recognise the early signs your body gives you about your emotional and mental health.
  • support you in devising strategies for preventing issues escalating to an unmanageable level.
  • offer you ways of calming yourself down again if stress has got the better of you.
  • support you in promoting a greater sense of relaxation so that anxiety states are not so easily triggered.
  • help you feel more resourceful in the present moment.
  • teach you that there is an alternative to the downward spiral of automatic negative thinking which we can unwittingly escalate when feeling overwhelmed.
  • work with you to increase your self-esteem and confidence.
  • help you tap into the inner resources we all have but don’t always recognise, and develop a sense of trust that you can cope with the challenges that life throws your way.

We encourage people to talk to a counsellor as soon as they are experiencing difficulty in their lives and not to leave things to the last minute.

Just talking isn’t going to help me, is it? Surely I just need to get on with it?

Talking can really help. Through exploring the situation in this sort of setting, both the difficulties and the solutions become more apparent. The counsellor will then be a supportive partner as changes are put into place.

This is my problem – I need to work it out on my own.

That’s your choice. Counselling only works if people really want to engage so it is important to come when the time feels right. It’s worth noting that a counsellor wouldn’t take your problem away from you; they would however be someone to bounce ideas off and to offer encouragement to you as you make your own way.

Does it mean I have something wrong with me, if I come to counselling?

We don’t think so. In fact we think it is quite normal to find life difficult at times and that talking things through can really help.

How confidential are the appointments?

Confidentiality is obviously very important and is taken seriously by the counselling team. Your counselling will remain confidential except in extreme circumstances. Details of the full policy are available on the Confidentiality page and will be explained by your counsellor.

Working in partnership with your counsellor

Counselling is a purposeful relationship, a partnership that you enter into of your own choice. People may encourage you to attend a counselling appointment, but it is only you that can decide if you are prepared to make a specific working partnership with your Counsellor.

What can I gain from counselling?

Each person has their own experience of counselling but the aim is that you will develop self-awareness, skills and insight along the way. See our feedback comments.