The University Counselling Service

 Frequently Asked Questions

Questions for Students and Staff

What is a counselling consultation?

A counselling consultation with this service offers you the opportunity to talk about your concerns in a way that's different to talking to someone you are close to. Our counsellors are trained professionals who will listen to you with their full attention, without judgement and with empathy. A counselling consultation can help you to think about your difficulties in a variety of different ways and to reflect on your experience in order to achieve a better understanding about what has been happening. It might also help you to express yourself.

Making an appointment to see a counsellor is a decision only you can make, even when someone has recommended it to you.

What is the ‘One at a Time’ approach that the service is using?

We are a short-term, brief intervention University Counselling Service. Our appointments are offered on a one at a time basis. This means you have one appointment with your counsellor to identify the focus for the work, and then together decide if another session, or additional support, is appropriate for your situation. If a further appointment is agreed it will be scheduled for a time that works for both you and your counsellor. You are encouraged to reflect upon the content of each session, and if an additional appointment is not scheduled, to make contact again to request one when needed. On average our students access counselling for between 1-4 sessions with appointments usually being spaced to enable time for reflection between sessions.

Is the Counselling Service accessible for students and staff with a disability?

The Counselling Service at University Park has ground floor counselling rooms and an accessible toilet. If you would like to let us know of any individual needs, please do so at the time of booking your appointment.

We recognise that not all disabilities are physical.  

Inclusivity statement
All our counsellors are committed to practising counselling in ways that are inclusive, accessible and affirming to students from all backgrounds, cultures, ethnicity, beliefs, sexualities, abilities, gender identities and socio-economies.  The Service promotes and enhances inclusivity through ongoing training commitments.

Do you charge for this service?
The service is free for all current Students and Staff members of the University of Nottingham.
What can I expect in my counselling session?

Your consultation will last between 30 and 50 minutes. The time will be used to discuss your situation in more depth to help you gain a clearer understanding of your difficulties and of what might be helpful.  Your counsellor may suggest some self-help resources, groups or workshops that are relevant to you, and provide you with information about other local services.

Many people find that a single counselling consultation will give them the support and insight they need to get on with their lives without further help. In some cases, however, the counsellor may suggest a follow-up appointment.

What can I talk about?

The short answer is: whatever you need to talk about. Issues often brought to counselling include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • family concerns
  • bereavement
  • work and study related problems
  • worries about drugs and alcohol
  • eating difficulties
  • physical or sexual abuse
How confidential is the service?

The University Counselling Service operates under the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and complies with the 2018 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

The Counselling Service takes confidentiality very seriously. All client information is treated in confidence. This means that we do not disclose verbal or written information without your permission or consent.

The only exceptions are where there is a legal obligation to disclose information (which is very rare) or when there is a significant concern that you or other people are at serious risk. In these circumstances wherever possible, we will seek your consent to pass on concerns before information is disclosed.

For more information on how records are stored, confidentiality and data protection see our Confidentiality page. 

How long will I wait for an appointment?

We book appointments a maximum of 2 weeks in advance.  If the available appointments are fully booked we will keep in contact with you until one becomes available and we will then contact you to advise you are now able to go and book your own appointment in Student Life

You can help cut down the waiting times by cancelling unwanted appointments or advising us if you are unable to attend as soon as possible so that we can offer the slot to another person.

What other services other than one to one counselling do you offer?

We offer therapeutic groups and workshops on various subjects throughout the year.  These can be booked via the Counselling Service website.

I think my situation is urgent what do I do?

The Counselling Service is not an emergency service.  If you need urgent help then please contact your GP or one of the following:-

Cripps Health Centre +44 (0)115 846 8888.  

Mental Health crisis line: 0808 196 3779 avialable 24/7

NHS 111- 111 for free from any UK landline or Mobile

Samaritans 116 123

The University of Nottingham Students Union Nightline  +44 (0) 115 951 4985 - (7pm - 8am Only)

Can you recommend any self-help resources available?

There are a number of self-help resources availabe on our  self-help resources pages, including apps, books, guides, leaflets, podcasts, PowToons and links to various websites. 

We also have a small library of books at The Orchards on main campus that you can borrow with a small deposit; which is refundable when you return the book.

There is also the University's HealthyU web pages.

Can I book an appointment on behalf of someone else?
Due to data protection all appointments need to be made by the person who the appointment is for.
How can I support someone I am worried about or who is already seeing a Counsellor? 

Sometimes just allowing someone to talk about what is troubling them can be helpful. If, however, you feel that the issues are affecting you personally or are affecting your studies you can book an appointment with one of the counsellors to talk over the situation and how best to manage it.

Our self-help guides include advice on how to support some else.


I am a staff member who is concerned about a student and would like advice on the best way to support them.

You can email us about your concerns and we will suggest the best way of finding support for the student. 

This link offers some suggestions about what to do and what support is available in the University.


Questions for Parents?

Can I book an appointment for my young adult relative?
Due to Data Protection Act only the person who needs the appointment may book an appointment,

but you may be able to support them to get in touch with us.

Can you tell me if my young adult relative has called to book an appointment?

To protect confidentiality it won’t be possible for us to tell you this or any other information about your young adult relative. We know this can be difficult but it is important for students to know that we won’t pass on information about them without their consent – except if we think they are at serious risk.

How can my young adult relative access the counselling service?

The University Counselling service is now a referral only service.

To arrange an appointment with the counselling service, they will need to meet with a member of staff from one of the following services:

Who is the best person to speak to?
The support and wellbeing team are based locally in the schools and provide wellbeing support to students.

The residential experience (ResX) team provide support to students living in university supported accommodation.

The disability team provide support to disabled students.

The support and report team provide support to students reporting incidents to the university.

Can I join my young adult relative in their appointment?

It is generally better if they attend the appointment by themselves. 

You can accompany them to the service to support them  but would need to wait in the waiting area while they are with the counsellor. If your young adult relative agrees we may be able to invite you to join the session for a brief period.

As a parent of a student at the University, am I able to access the counselling service to talk about my young adult relative?

The service is there for students and staff of the University only.  We may be able to offer some general advice and support over the telephone.

If you feel you need further support you could discuss this with your GP or another service local to you.

My young adult relative has been told that there are no appointments?

We understand that if students have to wait for an appointment it can be frustrating, especiallly if you are very concerned about them.

We do keep in contact with those who have requested appointments and will contact them once an appointment becomes available.

As a parent, what can I do to help?

If you have serious concerns about your young adult relative’s health and wellbeing then encourage them to speak to someone, for example, their personal tutor, Support and Wellbeing Officer, one of the chaplains, or their GP and/or encourage them to contact the Counselling Service. 

Some information for parents of new students is available Starting University - Help for Parents


 I think this is urgent what do I do?

The Counselling Service is not an emergency service.  If you need urgent help then please contact your GP or one of the following:-

Cripps Health Centre +44 (0)115 846 8888

NHS 111- 111 for free from any UK landline or Mobile

Samaritans 116 123

Wellness in Mind - 0800 561 0073.  From 9am - midnight

The University of Nottingham Students Union Nightline +44 (0) 115 951 4985 - (7pm - 8am Only)
What other resources or bodies are available to offer help and advice?

We have a number of  self help resources on our website and there are also a number of website links  to oher sources of support.

Further University resources can be found here.


University Counselling Service

The Orchards
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 3695

BACP Accredited Service logo