Frequently Asked Questions
What is Counselling?
Counselling provides the opportunity and space for you to talk about things that may be difficult to share with anyone else. It enables you to become more effective in your life within and outside of the University. It helps you identify and overcome barriers to achieving your potential, promoting and developing self-awareness and empowering you to make informed choices in your academic, personal and social lives. It is not about giving advice or telling you what to do.
For more information go to /counselling.service/students/
How do I make an appointment?
For Students wishing to make an appointment please contact the relevant campus. Click here for details on how to self refer. /counselling.service/aboutus/
Staff wishing to make an appointment need to ask their Line Manager or relevant Departmental HR Adviser to refer them to Occupational Health in the first instance.
I cannot attend my appointment, what should I do?
When you are unable to keep an appointment we ask that you inform us 24 hours prior to the appointment. This will enable us to offer your appointment to someone who is waiting.
Where is the Counselling Service located?
The Counselling Service is situated in the Palatine Centre in Durham and the Holliday Building at Queen’s Campus in Stockton. For full details see /counselling.service/aboutus/
How long are the sessions?
Counselling sessions and Mental Health Advisor sessions are 50. A telephone review or an appointment with the Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner may be 25 or 50 minutes.
What issues can I bring?
You can bring a variety of issues to counselling, anything that is impacting your capacity to study or to engage in wider University Life. These might include concerns about academic work or relationships at University or at home. You may be experiencing symptoms of distress, for example anxiety or depression, and not have a clear sense of why are are feeling that .
My issues do not seem very important should I still come?
You do not need to be having a major crisis in order to access the Counselling Service. It is better if you come along to see us when you are first beginning to experience problems to avoid them getting worse
Will I always see same Counsellor?
We recognise how important it is to remain with the same practitioner. After we have received your Self-Referral Questionnaire and assigned you to a practitioner you will likely continue to work with that practitioner. However, if your needs change or it would be more helpful for you to receive support from an alternative practitioner it may be possible to change.
Can I change my Practitioner?
Yes. If you feel you are not connecting with the Practitioner you have been allocated you can request a change of Practitioner. To do so you can either discuss with your current Practitioner or contact the Counselling Service and ask for the Duty Senior by telephoning 0191 334 2200 or emailing email@example.com
Are Practitioners qualified?
We have a team of qualified and accredited practitioners (counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health nurses). In addition have some Counsellors on placement who are in the latter stages of their counselling training. They are capable practitioners working under close supervision. You will be offered the choice of whether you wish to work with one of our counsellors on placement.
When should I seek support from my GP?
If you are feeling very anxious or depressed and finding that this affecting your daily living, ability to sleep and/or eat it is vital you discuss your symptoms with your GP.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are self-harming it is imperative that you speak to your GP immediately to access help or call 999
How does counselling work?
Counselling provides the opportunity for you to explore issues that are causing you problems, in a safe environment with someone who has no other role in your life. The Counsellor helps you to focus on and understand more clearly the issues that concern you. For more information go to our website /counselling.service/students/
What is it that counselling cannot do?
Counselling is not about giving advice or telling you what to do. Counselling is unable to make changes for you but can empower you to make the necessary changes yourself. Counselling does not provide answers in respect to academic work, housing, financial difficulties as there are specific departments to help you with these issues.
Attending the Counselling Service for support
Strict confidentiality is maintained. No personal information, verbal or written will be disclosed to anyone outside of the service without your consent unless we believe you or someone else is in danger.
However, if you have been formally referred to the Service by your College or Department, we will notify them if you do not attend an initial appointment. If you are attending the Counselling Service for a Mental Health Assessment (either for professional practice, to assess fitness for study or fitness to return to study, the outcome of the Assessment will be communicated to the relevant University department.
More information at /counselling.service/aboutus/
Will any information go on my student records or to my future employer?
No information will be passed to anyone outside of the service (in the University or externally) unless requested by yourself, or unless you are at immediate risk.
Can my Practitioner write a supporting letter to my department?
Letters of support can only be provided by our Service if you currently attending sessions or have previously sought support from us. For more information /counselling.service/aboutus/
Can I make an appointment for a friend?
We require student’s to contact the Counselling Service themselves to make an appointment. We find that if appointments are made on someone's behalf it is less likely that they will arrive for their session. If your friend is reluctant to secure support, speak to their College Student Support staff about your concerns in the first instance. You can also call the Counselling Service to register your concerns, but we will not be able to share any information with you.
How can I help someone I am concerned about?
If you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of someone you can contact their College Student Support Office or call the Counselling Service to speak to a Duty Senior to obtain advice. You could also encourage your friend to come and make an appointment to discuss his/her problems. For more information on how to help someone you are concerned about visit
What do I do if I am not happy with the service I have received?
If you are not satisfied with the service you have received please discuss this with your Practitioner. If this does not resolve the matter you can request to meet with the Head of Service who will endeavour to resolve your concerns.