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What is counselling?
Counselling can help you to make sense of your distress and emotional difficulties, enabling you to find meaningful ways to support yourself through your unique challenges. Although many personal issues can be shared with friends or family, it can be helpful to speak to someone who is neutral and outside of your day-to-day experiences.
Students throughout each campus can access the counselling service, benefiting from a confidential and safe space to talk regularly through emotional concerns, finding solutions to personal obstacles and developing their self-care.
For many of us, it isn’t easy to understand our experiences or put them into words.
Why do students come to counselling?
Hundreds of students seek counselling for a variety of reasons unique to them. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Adjustment/Transition and change to and from college
- Anxiety and stress
- A significant life event
- Bereavement and loss
- Current or past trauma
- Distress which impacts concentration or capacity to study and submit work
- Low mood or depression
- Relationship Issues (self, family, friends, partners, society)
- Self-esteem/body image
- Sexuality and identity
- Substance use
Often, we find ways to avoid our feelings and help our symptoms of anxiety or distress, yet these choices can make our issues worse leading to reduced self-esteem and additional problems. Coping strategies may include, but are not limited to:
- Eating disorders
- Avoidance of responsibilities
- Risk-taking behaviours
Meet our counselling team
Shirley CruickshanksTrainee Student Counsellor,
Michelle DonoghueStudent Counsellor,
Find out more about our student counselling service:
(please click on "+" for more details)]
Details about the student counselling service
Dundee and Angus College offer a free and confidential short-term counselling service to all students. Short-term counselling invites you to make the most of each session, to work with focus and intention. Each campus has a counsellor(s) and, in most cases, students are referred to the counsellor based at their campus. Students are allocated up to six sessions which are usually 50 minutes in length. You may discover you need fewer or more sessions and this will be mutually reviewed with your counsellor.
The counselling service offers a variety of ways to work together such as in-person, online via Microsoft Teams or telephone, and your counsellor shall discuss with you which is the most accessible and appropriate way you can work together.
The service is well-used by students and so you shall be asked to respond swiftly to any communication from your counsellor and to give a minimum notice to cancel or reschedule to enable other students in need to be seen.
The counselling service respects and values you as the authority in your own life, therefore you can guide the direction of the session, deciding what you want to talk about and responding to what arises for you within the session. In sessions, your counsellor will not give you advice or tell you what to do although they will encourage you to ask questions and create opportunities for you to widen your perspectives and deepen your understanding. They will try to understand your experiences as you find them and support your growing self-awareness and decision-making skills.
Counselling is confidential and all notes recorded are stored securely. In exceptional circumstances, your counsellor may be required to suspend confidentiality where:
- There is a safeguarding concern either for yourself or another person.
- If by law, they are required to do so.
- Where you express consent for your counsellor to liaise on your behalf in support of your well-being.
It is up to you what you choose to share with your counsellor and if a disclosure is made which indicates a safeguarding concern that may require action, your counsellor will let you know, supporting you, where appropriate, through the subsequent process.
It is important you understand that counselling is a process which requires a genuine commitment from yourself.
- We ask you to show this by attending each booked session on time and by making space within your life for self-reflection and self-care practices.
- Working creatively with your counsellor, you may initiate or be invited to undertake homework in support of your exploration; this might include writing in a journal or practising a new communication skill. Together with your counsellor, you will co-create a supportive process unique to you and your needs where you feel heard, valued and on equal ground/respected.
- If you have questions or concerns about your process, we encourage you to express them to your counsellor so any issues can be resolved. The service upholds a complaints procedure to safeguard your fair treatment and rights.
- Very often we don’t know how to express our needs, or we hide the parts of ourselves we feel ashamed of or don’t like. In counselling, you are invited to talk about feelings you might have tried to avoid or ignore. This can feel unfamiliar or uncomfortable and your counsellor will support you to work at the pace and depth you feel safe enough to explore whatever comes up for you.
- If you’d like more information about the student counselling service or want a referral for counselling, please contact the Student Services Team to discuss this with them.
- Your allocated Student Support Officer will support you for a minimum of 6 support sessions which includes mental health and wellbeing support and strategies before a counselling referral form could be made.
- If it is felt that counselling is still required, your Student Support Officer will complete a counselling referral form with you and sent to the counselling service team.
- You will then be placed on a waiting list depending on the volume of demand or hear swiftly from one of the counsellors.
- Counselling sessions are held within college hours (8.30am-4.30pm) and are arranged at a time which suits both you and your counsellor.
- The counselling service is not an emergency or out of hours service so if you are in crisis, or you are concerned about someone you know, please consider one of the services listed at the right-hand side.
- If you don’t feel ready to talk but are curious and looking for information, you can visit NHS Inform for general advice on well-being and self-help topics.
Call 999 if you or someone’s life is in danger.
Breathing Space - national listening helpline
breathingspace.scot/how-we-can-help/webchat-pilot-project (web chat support)
0800 83 85 87 (for telephone support)
CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably
A charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the biggest single killer of men aged 20-45 in the UK.
0800 58 58 58 (5pm-midnight for telephone support)
Think Positive Hub
NUS Scotland’s student mental health project. It brings together support services available to students in Scotland. You can also find all of the projects, resources and news relating to student mental health in Scotland together in one place.
07984 356 512 (text chat)
Aye Feel | Young Scot
Information about how to look after your emotional wellbeing, support from organisations around Scotland and tips on how to promote a positive mindset.
Cruse Bereavement Care
For help and support with bereavement and grief
Advice and support for carers of all ages