Counselling provides a confidential and non-judgmental space with an experienced counsellor to explore what’s going on for you, to help you gain clarity and to make connections. Your counsellor won’t give you advice or tell you what to do but they will listen carefully to support you in getting a clearer understanding of your difficulties.
Counselling can support you with a range of issues including stress, anxiety, study problems, feeling low or depressed, relationship difficulties, self-harming or suicidal thoughts, worries about sexuality or gender, or perhaps simply not knowing what’s wrong.
Our service offers short-term counselling online via MS Teams or in-person on the Mile End campus. The number of sessions you have is agreed between you and your counsellor when you meet. Sometimes students can find a one-off session is sufficient. We are flexible in tailoring counselling to the individual’s needs.
We offer one-to-one talking therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) informed therapy, group therapy, supportive groups, and referrals for psychiatry appointments. Sometimes we recommended longer-term counselling or a specialist service. Your counsellor may support you to access this.
Counsellors adhere to the standards of professional organisations, working in line with their ethical frameworks. Counsellors are members of organisations including the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Health & Care Professions Council and the British Psychological Society.
We understand and recognise that we have a diverse student population who experience a range of challenges that might bring them to our service. We aim for all our team to be a culturally informed and sensitive however recognise that some of our students would feel more comfortable working with a counsellor who aligns with their identity and experiences.
If you would like to see a counsellor from a specific background or gender, please do request this in your form. Although it is not always possible we will try our best to accommodate you within the capacity of the service and/or assist with an external referral that may be better placed to meet your request.
Please note during very busy periods, specific requests may unfortunately result in a longer delay in being seen so you may wish to instead request the first available appointment and discuss specific requests/ onward referrals during that meeting.
You will meet a counsellor for an initial session where you will be invited to talk more about what is troubling you. The counsellor may ask questions to help build a picture of your life, your experiences and how your difficulties are affecting you.
After your initial session, your counsellor will discuss the options for counselling support with you. If you are offered one-to-one counselling with us, they will book you in with themselves or a colleague depending on the type of therapy that is most suitable.
Counselling is a mutual commitment between you and your counsellor and it’s important to attend regularly to get the most out of this resource. Sessions are 50 minutes in duration and may be offered at a regular time each week or be offered more flexibly with session times agreed each time you meet.
This type of therapy takes place in a group of between four to seven students, including the group therapist. The groups are open-ended and you may remain in the group for as long as it seems useful while you are studying at Queen Mary.
Therapy groups provide the opportunity to develop trust, gain insights into patterns of behaviour that can then be modified over time, and can have a positive impact on relationships outside the group.
Find out more about Group Therapy at Queen Mary.
Where a counsellor feels that there may be a diagnosable mental health difficulty that may require a referral for specialist NHS treatment or medication, they can arrange for a psychiatric assessment within the service.
In some rare situations we may need to break confidentiality. We will always try to discuss this with you first. Where this is not possible, we might pass on the information, but only in these exceptional circumstances:
You will need to complete our referral form in MySIS to book an appointment for counselling. Click the Contact us box below to complete the form and find out more information about appointments.
If you are currently living outside the UK, we are offering wellbeing checks and shorter support calls via MS Teams. You will need to provide an emergency contact within your country.
*Please note: The referral form closes at 16.00 Friday and reopens 9.00 Monday. Please see Help in a crisis for out-of-hours support.
If you need to cancel a session for any reason, please let us have more than 24 hours’ notice. Late cancellations will be counted as part of your allocated sessions. We will normally try to reschedule if you miss a session due to illness or extenuating circumstances.
If you miss two appointments in a row and we don’t hear from you, we’ll assume you don’t wish to continue with counselling for now. You are always welcome to get back in touch later during your studies if you would like to see a counsellor again.
If you appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at an appointment, we will need to reschedule your appointment.