The Counselling Service
Life at university can be challenging. While we hope your experience here at Queen’s University will be free from any major difficulties, we at the Counselling Service are here for you anytime you would like to talk in a confidential, non-judgmental and supportive environment.
Counselling will give you the time and space to explore issues which are having an impact on your ability to study successfully, such as adjusting to University life, personal growth, bereavement, relationships, family concerns, anxiety, and depression.
Counsellors can work with you on a range of issues, aimed at helping you to identify and manage issues affecting your ability to progress with your studies. Student counselling is provided on a short-term, brief solution focused model, normally up to 4 sessions. The service is not a substitute for longer term psychological or therapeutic support which should be accessed through your GP and to which your counsellor may refer you. The Queen's Counselling Service is run in partnership with Carecall, a local counselling organisation. Working with Carecall gives Queen's students access to a range of different clinical skills and helps meet demand for counselling at particularly busy times of the year. You can visit their website here.
Queen's students can access a counsellor 24 hours a day, 7 days per week via our freephone telephone service on 0808 800 0016.
Counselling staff are all trained, experienced, and extremely committed to the work they do. Your allocated counsellor will support you to cope with whatever issues are causing you distress and disrupting your life. You will be gently challenged to face your problems, to set goals on how to achieve solutions to your problems and actively work towards those goals.
Counselling sessions usually last 50 minutes, and can be arranged to fit your schedule. Your counsellor will discuss your options with you, and help you to access other types of support, for example through the Students’ Union or Student Guidance Centre, or for longer term support needs, through your GP to access NHS support.
Availability of Apppointments
Our capacity to deliver counselling appointments can be limited, which means that we try to schedule an initial conversation as quickly as possible, and then schedule future appointments on the basis of clinical need. After an initial appointment, you may need to wait for further sessions, particularly at peak times. After speaking to a counsellor or our Wellbeing Advisor at the University, you may also be made aware of the wider range of support options. Counselling is only one of a number of options which students access and find helpful.
We also ask that you be considerate to other students, and contact Carecall at least 24 hours before your appointment if you know you will not be able to make it. Unexpected situations come up which do not always make notice possible, but more notice allows the session to be used by someone else.
What else is available to me?
There are a range of options available to students, in addition to one to one counselling support. Please do come and speak to a Wellbeing Adviser if you would like more information or help in assessing which may be of benefit to you and your situation:
- Check out the workshops and sessions delivered by the Student Resilience and Wellbeing team, our Mind Your Mood student-led mental health campaign, and Graduate School (for postgraduate students).
- Look at self-help resources on the Student Resilience and Wellbeing website, or stop in to the Wellbeing Zone, behind the information desk on the first floor of the Student Guidance Centre.
- We have recently updated our resources to include a video about dealing with loss or bereavement.
- Watch the Student Guidance Centre video and look at the SGC website to find out more about the other support services that may be able to provide assistance, including as speaking to a Careers Advisor or
- If you are managing a long-term condition, speak to a Disability Officer to see if there is additional practical support to help you in the learning environment.
- If experiencing money or academic difficulties, speak to one of the advisors in the Students’ Union Advice Centre.
- We offer 24 hour telephone support from a counsellor, free from mobile and landline, on 0808 800 0016
- Talk to your GP (doctor) about options and whether he / she can refer you for talking therapies through the NHS.
- You can look into options for private therapeutic support through the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, or the Irish equivalent, IACP.
- Speak to your Personal Tutor or Advisor of Studies about the impact of a situation on your academic studies. They do not need to know the details, but can advise you of options relating to your studies, and how to use the exceptional circumstances procedure.
- There are 16 Chaplains and religious representatives recognised by the University, and frequently provide support and advice, spiritual and otherwise, to all members of the University community.
If you are concerned about the way that you are feeling, experiencing suicidal thoughts, feeling very low or anxious, please contact your GP (general practice doctor). All GP surgeries should have details of out of hours support. Your GP is also the first point of contact if you are dealing with an ongoing or long term difficulty, as they can help you to access the range of services through the NHS. You can also contact Lifeline, a free 24 hour helpline on 0808 808 8000.
How to Make a Counselling Appointment
You can make an appointment in any one of the following ways:
Tel: 0808 800 0016 (24hr Freephone)
If you are a member of staff and have a general query about counselling or would like advice on supporting students please call the Student Affairs Office on 028 9097 2893 to speak to a member of the Welfare team.
Cancellation of Appointments
If you have to cancel your appointment, please contact Carecall on 028 9024 5821 (Mon-Fri 9.00am-5.00pm) at least 24 hours before. If cancellation is within 24 hours of your appointment time (during the working week), the University will be charged for the session and it may be taken from your entitlement. Repeated failure to provide sufficient notice may affect the number of session of counselling available to you. If 2 appointments are missed or cancelled we may need to allocate the time slot to another student who may be in need.
We aim to provide you with the highest quality of service and work closely with our counsellors to ensure that they provide a professional service. If you have any concerns about your counselling or counsellor, and feel unable to resolve them directly, please contact Carecall's Clinical Service Manager on 028 9024 5821 or make student support staff aware.