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  1. Student Counselling and Mental Health Service
  2. Counselling
  3. FAQs
Current students

Frequently asked questions

When people come to the Student Counselling Service for the first time, they are often anxious and uncertain about how counselling works. You may have all sorts of questions that you wish to ask and, if you come, you will be able to ask your counsellor about the things you need to know. However, below you'll find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions

What kind of problem can I bring to counselling?

Counselling can help you look at almost any aspect of your life, but here are some quite common issues affecting students at City:

  • Difficult relationships, perhaps with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or with another student
  • Family issues involving relationships with parents or siblings
  • Homesickness
  • Bereavement - the death of a friend or relative
  • Sexual problems, as well as difficulties with sexuality
  • Difficulties with study or work
  • Feeling chronically miserable, demotivated or concerned about your state of mind.

Can counselling deal with every kind of problem?

No, but counselling can very often help you to think about how problems have arisen and how you might change the way that you respond to difficulties. Often you will need to speak to others, in your School, or in another department of Student Services, in order to sort something out. We can help you to identify appropriate sources of help.

Sometimes we may suggest you see a specialist; students with concerns about their course or academic problems should see their Personal Tutors first. Problems with money or concerns about careers are better dealt with by going to see one of the Student Centre's Financial Support Advisers or Careers Consultants, respectively.

Does it matter if I am not sure whether I ought to be seeing a counsellor?

No, not at all. We don't expect you to be certain about that. Come and have an Initial Consultation; discussing your concerns in that first brief session can help to clarify this. And, if counselling is not the appropriate resource, we may be able to point you in the right direction to find alternatives.

Will my counsellor discuss my problems with my personal tutor?

No. Not unless you ask the counsellor to do so. The Student Counselling Service is confidential.

When might I need to give my counsellor permission to tell someone something about me?

In general, everything that you discuss in the Student Counselling Service is treated as confidential; we don't disclose to anyone else the fact that you have been to see us, nor do we tell anyone what you have told us.

However, sometimes counsellor and student agree that it would be helpful for the counsellor to communicate with, say, a tutor, or someone else in the student's academic department, or a GP or other medical professional. Such communications only take place with the student's agreement.

Will it go on my records that I have had counselling?

No, not on your records, your degree transcript or anywhere else. If anyone telephones the Student Counselling Service to ask whether a particular student is seeing a counsellor, they will not be given this information. The exception is if the student has given express permission for that information to be passed on to someone.

Can I choose my counsellor?

In general, you are not able to select an individual counsellor. However, if you have a strong preference regarding something like the gender of the counsellor you see, or have a clear idea about the sort of approach that you are looking for, then please let us know, so that we can do our best to accommodate your preference.

Will I have to pay?

No. Counselling is part of Student Support Services which are funded out of government grants and student fees.

How many counselling sessions will I be offered?

This is something that will come up during the assessment process. We generally offer short-term individual counselling - up to four sessions after the assessment - and longer-term work in groups.

What if I need to talk to someone at night?

The Student Counselling Service is open from Monday to Friday, between 9:00 and 17:00. Outside these hours you can contact:

  • The Samaritans - A nationwide charity providing confidential emotional support to anyone in crisis. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. T: 0845 790 9090.
  • Nightline - Confidential listening and information for students by students. Open 18:00 to 8:00 each night of term. T: 020 7631 0101.