Please see below for a list of FAQs, with everything you need to know about your appointment with the Counselling and Wellbeing team.
How do I book an appointment?
First, you need to register online. The administration team will contact you to offer an appointment usually on your university email. In that email they will explain how the service works and how you can be supported. They will book an appointment for you to be assessed in the next available appointment.
How long will it be before I am seen?
The waiting times depend on many factors. For example: time of year and your availability. Your assessment will be held within 2-3 weeks, and is booked when you register.
Can I book an appointment for someone else?
Due to confidentiality, it is not possible to book an appointment on behalf of a student – even if you are a family member or close friend. Appointments must be booked directly by the student.
Cancelling your appointment
Cancellation/ missed appointments:
If you need to cancel, please give us 2 working days’ notice and we will attempt to reschedule as soon as possible. If you miss an appointment or cancel it in under 2 working days, you will forfeit that session. If you miss or do not attend two consecutive appointments, we will assume that you no longer wish to receive support and cancel any future meetings.
We will always try to re-book your appointment as soon as possible – but there may be a delay in offering another appointment during busy periods.
The Counselling and Wellbeing service adheres to the ethical framework of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the University Mental Health Advisors Network (UMHAN).
An assessment can be 1-1.5 hour, this is so that we can fully assess your needs and make the right decisions for your support needs. We are a solution focused support team, and so our aim in that first meeting is to try to help you to resolve the issues you are presenting. If you are referred to counselling support, those sessions are up to 50 minutes. Sessions with a Mental Health Advisor can be from 20-50 minutes.
How many appointments can I have?
Appointments depend on needs. Students can register and access the service for short term counselling, once per academic year. We offer short term support with a key aim of access to learning. Our support can be one assessment session with a follow up appointment or a few sessions to help get you through your time here. On average students who are allocated to a therapist/mental health advisor have four sessions.
Are the appointments confidential?
We will not disclose use of our service to anyone, without your explicit, written consent. Except, in the instance of serious risk of harm.
What is a counselling session like?
Therapists in the C&W Service come from different training backgrounds but we all work in a similar way. You will be listened to calmly and non-judgementally. Depending on why you've come to C&W, you're likely to discuss a wide range of topics, from your relationships, your childhood, your emotions, your thoughts and behaviour, to situations that you find currently find difficult. You may be offered some suggestions about a way forward. There will be no pressure to do anything, the main emphasis is on thinking about you. Counselling usually take place at the same time weekly until the completion of the sessions.
What is a mental health appointment like?
Mental Health Advisors similarly come from different training backgrounds. Some are mental health nurses while others are social workers. A mental health advisor appointment will typically include some exploratory work around your current difficulties, perhaps discussing the past if necessary to look at patterns of behaviour. They will suggest tasks and practical suggestions to help you manage with your difficulties. They also have a more flexible approach to appointments allowing you to spread the agreed sessions over the year.
How am I likely to feel after my first session?
It's quite common to feel relief at having managed to speak openly perhaps for the first time. Not surprisingly, you may also feel that a lot has been stirred up inside you. Working on ourselves can mean confronting anxieties and difficulties that we have previously avoided. This may feel uncomfortable, but please persist and don't be put off. Although at times therapy can be difficult the outcome at the end of the agreed number of sessions can be very rewarding.
Location of appointments
Where are the appointments held?
Due to the current situation Counselling & Wellbeing are offering both Microsoft Teams video appointments and in-person appointments.
The Counselling Service is located in Carrington Building.
Since 2017 C&W has been recording information electronically. We restrict access to those members who are directly in the team and ensure that our data is secure. Students have the right to request their data at any time, we keep records in accordance with the UoR Data Protection Policy. If you wish to have your personal data and you are a current student, please contact the service on email@example.com. If you are a former student, please contact the IMPS team on IMPS@reading.ac.uk they will seek confirmation of your identity and process your request accordingly.
Staff counselling support
At the University of Reading we acknowledge that some students may also be staff. Where this is the case we strongly advise that you seek counselling through the staff counselling support function, your GP or local counselling agencies. We adhere to the BACP ethical framework which explicitly mandates that mental health practitioners and counsellors can’t provide counselling to colleagues, friends/family members, or people who have relationships with colleagues, friends or family. This is because it creates a conflict of interest in the relationship and can potentially cause harm to clients we work with.
•Please be on time for your appointment. Your appointment will finish at the scheduled time, so being on time is important.
•Try not to miss your appointment as you will forfeit that session. After two missed appointments you will not be offered a third.
•No mobile phones inside the Counselling and Wellbeing area or in your Video sessions.
•Abusive and violent behaviour will not be tolerated - you will be asked to leave, or the Video/Call appointment will be ended.
•Smoking including the use of electronic cigarettes (vaping) is prohibited during your sessions, video/calls or in person.
•If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will not be seen and will have to forfeit your session.
Can I choose who I see?
When you register, we ask for any preferences. Any special requests may result in longer waiting times, however we will do what we can to accommodate. It is important to note, after your assessment we match you with the practitioner we feel will best support your needs.
Will I see the same person each time I come for an appointment?
The Head of Service and Senior Counsellor match a student to the practitioner that best meets the needs of the student so in some instances you will not see the original assessor. Once you have been offered the sessions allocated you will see the same practitioner.
What if I don’t like my Therapist?
Therapeutic input can be very difficult. We recommend that you tell your practitioner how you feel, as there may be something that needs more focus. We can only support you if you are fully open and honest. If you still feel unhappy or unable to address these difficulties with your practitioner, we will place you back on the waiting list for the next available appointment for your remaining sessions.