Counselling Service

We're here to help

How can I access counselling?

If you would like to be referred for counselling, please contact the Student Services Team to discuss this with them.

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:

  • Distress which impacts concentration or capacity to study and submit work
  • Relationship Issues (self, family, friends, partners, society)
  • Bereavement and loss
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Current or past trauma
  • Significant life event
  • Sexuality and identity

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:

  • Self-harm
  • Self-neglect
  • Substance misuse
  • Gambling
  • Eating disorders
  • Avoidance of responsibilities
  • Risk-taking behaviours

For many of us, it isn’t easy to understand our experiences or put them into words.

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.

Meet our counselling team

Susanne Thomson
Student Counsellor,
Arbroath Campus

Caroline Georgiou
Student Counsellor,
Gardyne Campus

Shirley Henderson
Student Counsellor,
Gardyne Campus
 

Pauline Devaney
Student Counsellor,
Kingsway Campus

Vicki Simpson-Price
Student Counsellor,
Kingsway Campus
   

Find out more about our student counselling service:

(please click on "+" for more details)

Details about the student counselling service

What can I expect from the student counselling service?

Dundee and Angus College offers 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 one hour 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, telephone, instant messenger or email and your counsellor shall discuss with you which is the most accessible and appropriate way you can work together.

The service is busy and 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 hour. 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.

What the counselling service needs from you

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.
Next steps
  • 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 to complete a referral form and you shall either 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.

Crisis contacts

Call 999 if you or someone’s life is in danger.

Breathing Space - national listening helpline
breathingspace.scot
breathingspace.scot/how-we-can-help/webchat-pilot-project (web chat support)
0800 83 85 87 (for telephone support)

Samaritans - national listening charity
www.samaritans.org
Jo@samaritans.org (for email support)
116 123 (for telephone support)

WRASAC - Women’s Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre
www.wrasac.org.uk
01382 201 291 (for telephone support)

Rape Crisis Scotland
www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk
08088 01 03 02 (6pm-midnight 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.
thecalmzone.net
0800 58 58 58 (5pm-midnight for telephone support)

Amina – Muslim Women’s Support Centre
mwrc.org.uk
0808 801 0301 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Wed 6-9pm, for young Muslim women aged 16-25)

LGBT Youth
www.lgbtyouth.org.uk
07984 356 512 (text chat)

BEAT - national eating disorder charity
www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk
Helpline – 0808 801 0677 (9am-8pm weekdays, 4pm-8pm weekends)
Studentline – 0808 801 0811
Youthline – 0808 801 0711

Aye Feel | Young Scot
young.scot/campaigns/national/aye-feel
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
www.cruse.org.uk
For help and support with bereavement and grief

Carers Trust
carers.org
Advice and support for carers of all ages