There may come a time when you experience persistent difficulties or emotional problems that are affecting your University life - talking with a professional counsellor may be beneficial.

Much of the time talking to a friend, family member or personal tutor can help, however there may be instances when talking with a professional counsellor may be beneficial. We want to assist and empower you. 

We are not a crisis or emergency service, if you need immediate or emergency help please see our page for emergency services.

University can be a challenging experience where we encounter a diversity of people, views and demands.  This sometimes may feel anxious making, discomforting or even distressing, but the process is an intrinsic part of developing skills for future life, relationships and employment. As an individual you have personal skills necessary to face these challenges, but you may need some assistance from time to time.

What is counselling?

Counselling gives an individual a chance to explore their thinking, emotions and responses in a non-judgemental, confidential space with a trained professional. We are able to support people with a range of issues such as anxiety, low mood, stress, relationship problems through collaborative exploration of thoughts, feelings and techniques.

Although a more directive approach can be employed by a counsellor (by equipping and empowering you with effective coping strategies), our aim is not to give you advice or to tell you what we think you should do. We are here to support you to explore issues or life events, which may involve challenging unhelpful ways of thinking and develop/find ways/new ways of moving forward and managing change . This process can feel very different depending on the individual, but the commonality is to make changes, whether that be a specific change in your life or change to the way you understand yourself.

How do I get an appointment?

We encourage students to self-refer via email. Please include your full name, student ID, telephone number and availability.

You will then be booked in for an assessment (which may last from 30 to 50 minutes) with one of the counsellors who will meet with you at the arranged time and date, to assess whether the counselling service is suitable to meet your needs, or if alternative support would be more beneficial.

Once you have had an assessment 

One of the following will happen:

  • If suitable you will be seen for a further face to face counselling appointment 
  • If other services are more appropriate for your needs, you will be given information on how to make contact with them.
  • If you decide that the assessment session was sufficient, then you have up to four weeks to make contact with the counselling service for a follow up appointment.

Contact Details:counselling@gre.ac.uk or call 0208 331 9444.

Extenuating Circumstances

We do not  give extenuating circumstances letters unless you have had recent previous contact with the counselling service.

Attendance

It is very important that you let us know if you are unable to attend your appointment, so if possible we can offer that time slot to someone else. Not attending without giving prior notice significantly increases waiting times.

What to expect from your counselling session 

Very often an initial 50 minute appointment gives sufficient help for you to better understand your thoughts and feelings, and to establish a way forward. Your counsellor may sometimes recommend follow up sessions to help you clarify a problem and to begin resolving it.

You can expect your counsellor:

  • to be interested in listening to your concerns and in helping you to develop a better understanding of them so that you deal with the issues more easily and effectively
  • will take you seriously and be willing to openly discuss anything you wish to discuss
  • will want to work with you, but won't do for you what you are capable of doing yourself

What's expected of you

  • you will be doing most of the talking
  • sometimes you may experience painful feelings before you start feeling better

Your main responsibilities in counselling are to:

  • talk about what is bothering you as openly and honestly as you can
  • let your counsellor know if you are unable to make it to a session (at least 24 hours notice)
  • be open for change because most counselling will require you to try something new or try a different approach

You may be contacted a few weeks after your session to find out how you are getting on, and to provide some feedback on how you found the service.

Alternatives to visiting a counsellor

Listening ears

The university has a network of trained staff called listening ears. If your issue is of a more general nature and could perhaps be solved by an informal chat with an impartial member of staff, one of the listening ears team may be able to help.

Telephone helplines and other sources of help