What is counselling?
Simply put, counselling is a process whereby you can talk freely through an issue or concern that is troubling you with a person trained to facilitate understanding. The process helps things to become clearer, provides new insights that would have been inaccessible when thinking alone, and often releases energy that can lead to change. Some clients come to counselling simply to grow as a person.
What is the aim of the counselling?
Counselling is used for therapeutic purposes and to enhance the potential of the client. Using counselling for matters such as court proceedings, etc... are not part of the aim of counselling because in some cases, this can defeat its purpose.
How does it help?
Exploring an issue increases your awareness of it, and counselling helps by providing you with a safe environment in which to carry out this exploration. A counsellor can help uncover patterns, causes and symptoms attached to a problem. Through the counselling process you can discover new options and choices, and are then free to choose what changes, if any, you wish to make.
Do I have to have a serious problem to go for counselling?
No! If something is weighing on your mind, however trivial it may seem, it is given weight by your counsellor. If something is bothering you, blocking you or preventing you from making the most of your life, then it is important.
Does visiting the Counselling Unit mean I am too weak to deal with my own problems?
A common fear! On the contrary, it takes courage to realise and admit you have a problem or difficulty. It is a sign of maturity and intelligence to seek outside help to resolve a problem when you have reached a dead end through your own efforts.
What sort of problems do people bring to a counsellor?
The list is endless! However no concern is too trivial or too serious. And practically nothing can shock a counsellor. People consult a counsellor for many reasons. Some of these include: adjustment problems such as feeling homesick, relationship/family problems, loss or bereavement, addiction, an unplanned pregnancy, a present or past abusive situation, confusion over sexual issues including sexual identity. Other more general concerns centre around academic work, exams or finance, abuse of power, or feeling that it is hard to cope.
What happens in a counselling session?
This depends on the style of the counsellor. Generally, the counsellor will work with whatever issue you bring to the session. The methods used will be decided between you, and depend in part on the particular training of the counsellor, but the overall aim is to help you resolve the issue that is troubling you. The counsellor will discuss possible ways of proceeding but you are free to accept or refuse any specific technique or intervention. This is your right and your counsellor will understand and accept it.
How long does a session last?
Generally a session lasts between 50 and 60 minutes.
How many sessions do I need?
The Counselling Unit usually offers around 10 to 15 sessions per academic year to its clients.
Is it confidential?
Yes! Both the fact that you see a counsellor, as well as the information you give the counsellor, are confidential. This information will not be divulged to anyone else without your specific permission. The exception to this rule is if you are considered by your counsellor to be at risk of harming yourself or another. In that case a medical doctor will be informed, after you have been consulted. Part of the professional duty of counsellors involves seeking supervision. Your situation may be discussed in supervision but your particulars (and name) will never be mentioned.
Can I change my counsellor?
If in anyway you feel there is no fit between you and the counsellor, preferably talk it over with your counsellor first. If thi s is too difficult, contact the Intake Officer to discuss the matter and schedule another appointment with another counsellor. It is not possible however to go to a counsellor with whom you have another relationship i.e someone who teaches you or will do so in the future, who is a relative or friend, who is (or will be) your dissertation supervisor.
What can I expect from counselling?
You can expect confidentiality, a non-judgemental attitude and complete respect from your counsellor. You can also expect to be taken seriously, challenged if necessary, and that the counsellor will make every effort to help you. The counsellor will be available at mutually agreed times and if she/he needs to change this appointment you will be contacted 24 hours in advance. The counsellor is bound by their Professional Code of Ethics which is available for consultation at your request.
What do we expect from you?
We expect you to make a serious commitment to the counselling process, taking responsibility for your growth or change. You are expected to be punctual, keep appointments and to inform us (at least 24 hours in advance) if you are unable to do so, becasue the demand on the counselling services is great.
What can't counselling do?
It can't make change happen for you. Unfortunately, we have no magic wand or quick fixes! At times making changes requires hard work and commitment. Counselling provides the framework and support to allow the changes, but you have to provide the energy and effort.
Who can use the service?
All members of the University are entitled to use the service. This includes all staff and students, full-time and part-time alike.
Do I have to pay?
No! The service is funded by the University and is available free of charge until the time you are a member of the University (until graduation in the case of students).
What happens if the counsellor is not the right person to help me with this particular problem?
In this case the counsellor can supply you with or refer you to the appropriate service. These include both individuals and organisations such as doctors, lawyers, priests, agencies or support groups concerned with relationship counselling, drugs, HIV/AIDS, support groups etc.
What happens if I feel dissatisfied with the service?
We welcome any feedback, comments, complaints and suggestions about our services, because these are very valuable for us to keep improving and providing the best service possible. Refer to this section of our website for further information.
Does the Counselling Unit provide any other services or activities?
Occassionaly, we offer group sessions. Some are topic focussed and involve skills training, while others are focussed on personal growth or support.