After you register with us there will be an initial consultation to determine the best treatment for you. This page will help you understand how you will progress through our service.
This guidance explains:
- the cost of our services
- the registration process
- initial consultations
- priority appointments
- ongoing counselling sessions
- change of counsellor procedure
There is no cost to UCL students for treatment at the Student Psychological and Counselling Services. 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.
In order to arrange an appointment you need to first register with the service by completing an online registration form. One of our senior therapists will then read your form and arrange an initial consultation with the appropriate counsellor. If you would prefer to see a male or female counsellor please let us know your preference when you register with us and we will see what we can do.
The waiting time for your initial consultation appointment can vary according to the level of demand for the service. During peak times, you may be placed on a waiting list until a counsellor becomes available.
Registration is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 11pm during term time, and 9am to 5pm out of term time.
Once you have registered, we will offer you an appointment for your initial consultation. This will be sent to your registration email address as soon as possible. This meeting will last up to an hour and a quarter and, where possible, will be arranged to fit in with your departmental timetable.
If you wish to accept your initial consultation you must respond via email within the time frame outlined in your offer. If you do not respond within the specified time frame the offer will expire and the appointment will be offered to someone else.
Once you have accepted the offer your appointment will be confirmed.
If you do not reply to the initial consultation email, or you do not keep the confirmed appointment, you will receive a further email from the us to ask whether you wish to remain on the waiting list. Please respond to this follow up email promptly. If you do not respond we will assume that you no longer need our help. Your details will be removed from the waiting list and you will be notified accordingly. You are always welcome to re-register at any time.
During your initial consultation you will be able to explore your concerns with the counsellor and decide together which therapeutic option best meets your needs.
There are times of the year when demand on the service can be very high, resulting in waiting times to see a counsellor. We try to minimise waiting times for the initial consultation and then we have a system for prioritising students in urgent need of help, but at peak times you may have to wait some weeks before you can be seen.
Our best advice is to seek help sooner rather than letting things get to a point where you can’t cope. Don't wait till the end of term or the end of your course when it is possible demand for the service means we won't be able to see you.
The type and length of treatment offered to you will depend on your problem, how long it has existed, and how severe it is. You may be offered individual counselling, individual or group psychotherapy, individual or group cognitive behavioural therapy, online cognitive behavioural therapy, psychiatric support or a place on one of our personal development workshops.
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.
You may be given an appointment for one of our services immediately after your initial appointment, or be put on a waiting list for the first available appointment. We try our best to accommodate personal and academic commitments when making follow-on appointments, but the more flexible you can be in terms of availability, the more likely you are to be seen promptly.
It is important that you attend all scheduled sessions and arrive promptly at your appointment time. Late or missed appointments will interfere with your treatment and prevent us from assisting other students in need.
If you miss your appointment you will receive an email offering you another appointment. A time frame will be specified for response. If you do not respond within the time frame specified the appointment will be offered to someone else and a follow-up e-mail will be sent to you to ask whether you wish to continue with your counselling sessions.
We cannot guarantee future appointments to students who repeatedly miss appointments or fail to cancel appropriately.
Students who come to the Student Psychological and Counselling Services 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 and will not be shared outside our 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 else in or outside the university about you (not even to confirm whether or not you are using the service) 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 session notes are stored on a computer for the sole use of service staff. All records are strictly confidential and are kept securely and independently of other university records. If you have queries about any aspect of confidentiality and/or record keeping, please discuss this with your counsellor or therapist. The Student Psychological and Counselling Services adheres to the code of ethics set forth by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Sometimes after they have begun their counselling, students can feel that the therapeutic relationship is not working for them with the counsellor to whom they have been allocated. While this is vary rare, this can happen.
In this case we would strongly recommend that you first discuss your concerns with your counsellor. Our therapists are trained to deal with these matters and this discussion will allow both people to explore what might be going on and to see if you can find a way to resolve the issue.
If after discussions with your counsellor, however, you still think it would be better to continue your sessions with a different counsellor, you can let your counsellor know and you will then be returned to our waiting list for reallocation.