In this section...
is an overview of the different services we offer.
The Student Psychological Service is dedicated to helping UCL students with personal, emotional and psychological concerns.
- The Initial Consultation
- Short-term Individual Counselling
- Individual or Group Psychotherapy
- Individual or Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Personal Development Workshops
- Psychiatric Consultation
- External Referrals
- The Student Psychological Service Team
- Keeping Appointments
- Other Resources
- Statement of Service Standards
On this page we outline what you can expect when you seek help from us, the kinds of help available, and the cooperation we need from you. Of course, your counsellor or therapist will also be able to answer any other questions you might have about the therapeutic process.
The Initial Consultation
Your first appointment with us is called an initial consultation. During this appointment, you will be able to explore your concerns with one of our team and decide together which therapeutic option best meets your needs. This meeting will last up to an hour and a quarter, and where possible, will be arranged to fit in with your departmental time-table. At the end of the initial consultation, you will be given an appointment for one of our other services, put on a waiting list for the first available appointment, or referred to an external therapist or therapeutic service.
Short-term Individual Counselling
Short-term individual counselling is appropriate for working on immediate problems, developing healthy coping techniques, gaining understanding of underlying issues and, if necessary, developing a longer-term treatment plan. It usually works best when you and your counsellor can identify a specific focus for your work together. The number of sessions you will receive will depend on the severity of your difficulties and will each last 50 minutes.
Individual or Group Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is appropriate for working on current or past relationship difficulties and for gaining an understanding of the underlying issues which led to them being problematic. In therapy you will learn from your relationship with your therapist and/or other group members, get support and feedback as well as gain skills and new perspectives. Psychotherapy can take place on an individual or group basis. Which type you will be offered will be discussed with you at your initial consultation. The number of individual sessions will depend on the severity of your difficulties and will each last 50 minutes. Groups are facilitated by a group psychotherapist and have up to 8 members in them. They meet weekly for 90 minutes during term time.
Individual or Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is appropriate for working on how you think about yourself, the world and other people, and how what you do affects your feelings and thoughts. Cognitive Behavioural therapy can help you make changes in the way you think ("Cognitive") and the way you act ("Behaviour"). Making changes in what you think will affect what you do and feel, and changing what you do, will affect the way you think and feel. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can take place on an individual or group basis. Which type you will be offered will be discussed with you at your initial consultation. The number of individual sessions will depend on the severity of your difficulties and will each last up to 50 minutes. Groups are facilitated by a Cognitive Behavioural therapist, have up to 8 members in them and may focus on a specific theme such as anxiety. They may take place over several weeks for two to three hours or a full day each week.
Personal Development Workshops
Personal development workshops are appropriate for working on specific issues such as Confidence, Assertiveness or Procrastination. In a workshop you will share experiences with others in a similar situation to yourself, learn from each other and gain new skills to help you address your difficulties. Each workshop is facilitated by a therapist and has up to 14 participants. They may be as short as a half day in length or take place over several weeks for two or three hours each week.
Click here for a list of current workshops.
A psychiatric consultation is appropriate if you need medical/psychiatric advice regarding your mental health concerns, or to discuss medication or a referral to an NHS service. Your initial consultation appointment might be a psychiatric consultation if it is thought that there is an underlying psychiatric problem. However, it is more usual that a psychiatric consultation would be discussed between you and your counsellor or therapist before an appointment is made to see one of our psychiatrists.
A referral to an external therapist or therapeutic service may be appropriate if your problems have existed for a long time, are particularly troubling, or require specialist care. Once you and your counsellor or therapist make a decision, it is important to follow up with the treatment plan as soon as possible to ensure the best outcome. If you are having difficulty with the plan, please let your counsellor or therapist know.
The Student Psychological Team
The Student Psychological Service team is diverse and consists of a variety of highly trained and experienced professionals. We currently have two psychiatrists, and ten therapists with varying kinds of psychological training and expertise.
Please attend all scheduled sessions and come promptly at your appointment time. This is extremely important, as late or missed appointments interfere with your own treatment, and prevent us from assisting other students in need. If you have to cancel an appointment, please call at least 24 hours in advance. We cannot guarantee future appointments to students who repeatedly miss appointments or fail to cancel appropriately. To cancel an appointment, please contact our departmental secretary on 020 7679 1487, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no cost to UCL students for treatment at the Student Psychological Service. However, there may be costs involved in your recommended aftercare plan. You and your counsellor or therapist can discuss any financial implications during your initial consultation.
Students who come to the Student Psychological Service often have concerns about the private information they share with a counsellor or therapist. Everything you put in your Registration Form as well as what you say to your counsellor or therapist is confidential within the service. This means that while all counsellors and therapists attend supervision and staff meetings where they may discuss their work, these procedures are also bound by confidentiality. Your counsellor or therapist will not communicate with anyone in or outside the university about you unless it is with your explicit permission. You and your counsellor or therapist may agree to speak to your GP in the event your GP can be helpful in your treatment process. The only circumstance under which information might be shared without your explicit permission is in the event that the counsellor or therapist believes you are in danger of harming yourself or others. Even in these circumstances, we would normally seek to speak to you first before contacting anyone else.
Your personal details and sessional notes are stored on computer for the sole use of service staff. All records are strictly confidential and are kept securely. If you have queries about any aspect of confidentiality and/or record keeping, please discuss this with your counsellor or therapist. The Student Psychological Service adheres to the code of ethics set forth by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.bacp.co.uk).
If you feel dissatisfied with your therapeutic experience at the Student Psychological Services the first step is to discuss this with your counsellor or therapist and try to work out a solution. If after this you are not satisfied, please contact Catherine McAteer, Head of Service, or Barry Keane, Deputy Head of Service, to discuss your concern.
If you think your concerns need to be addressed before your appointment at the Student Psychological Service, please discuss with your GP.
• Emergency Support:
For support during an immediate crisis, the following webpage www.ucl.ac.uk/support-pages/crisis_support has information that you may find helpful.
• Student Counselling Service Library:
If you are interested in doing some reading, the Student Psychological Service has a well-stocked library of self-help books which address many common student issues. Any UCL student can borrow from this library. Link www.ucl.ac.uk/student-psychological-services/library.
Finally, the Student Psychological Service maintains a website that offers online self-help information for common student problems such as exam anxiety, procrastination, concentration, etc. The website is at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/support-pages.
Statement of Service Standards
All staff are qualified counsellors, psychotherapists, psychiatrists or counselling psychologists, registered with UKCP, or BCP, GMC, BACP, BPS, BCP and are covered by professional indemnity insurance. Honorary counsellors with appropriate clinical experience may also contribute to the services, when a senior member of the Service will supervise them.
Continuing Professional Development:
All staff are expected to keep up-to-date with developments in student counselling and therapy.
No information regarding a student’s contact with the Service will be released to family, other university staff, medical staff or anyone else, without the student’s prior consent, unless exceptional circumstances prevail, such as a student being at risk of harm, or at risk of harming another person.
Self-referral is preferred and encouraged. However, with the student’s agreement, referrals are also accepted from other sources, such as via the students tutor or general practitioner.
Making an appointment:
In order to organise an appointment the student needs to first register with the Service. This involves completing an on-line registration form which can be obtained via our website. Link. On receipt of this form, one of our senior therapists will read it in order to determine how soon the student should be seen and who they should see for their initial consultation.
An initial consultation appointment will be made no later than two weeks after the student has submitted their registration form. The student may be given an appointment for one of our services immediately after this appointment, be put on a waiting list for up to 4 weeks for the first available appointment or referred to an external therapist or therapeutic organisation.
Type and length of treatment:
The type and length of treatment offered to students will depend on their problem, how long it has existed and how severe it is. The student may be offered individual counselling, individual or group psychotherapy, individual or group cognitive behavioural therapy, on-line cognitive behavioural therapy, psychiatric support or a place on one of our personal development workshops.
Self-help books on a range of topics relevant to student life is available for short-term loan to all UCL students. Link www.ucl.ac.uk/student-psychological-services/library.