Counselling and personal development
Welcome to the University Counselling Service!
Our service offers emotional support, counselling and opportunities for personal development to all our students. We are pleased to say that 90% of our student service users find counselling to be extremely supportive and beneficial to their studies (Counselling Service survey, 2015-16).
The Counselling Service is a team of supportive and experienced staff, who know what it’s like to be a student juggling with other responsibilities at the same time.
Counselling provides an opportunity, not only to talk about any personal or emotional difficulties that may be concerning you but also to help you lead a more fulfilling and successful life, particularly at university. This process takes place in a space which is empathic, non-judgmental and, within legal requirements, confidential.
The majority of students who have used the service say that counselling is very supportive and valuable. Many students describe counselling as a life-changing experience, which has made their time at university much more rewarding.
To find out more about who we are please watch the service video and visit our Staff webpage.
What is counselling?
All of us have to deal with difficult experiences at various times in our lives, they might be emotional, physical, psychological or social. Talking things through with a counsellor can really help.
Counselling provides an opportunity for you to think and talk in confidence about any personal or emotional difficulties that may be concerning you. It is time and space to examine, clarify and understand your concerns, and explore and develop more effective ways of dealing with them. The role of the counsellor is to provide support and help in this process of exploration, understanding and change.
Issues we work with
Students come to counselling with a number of issues that may affect their ability to achieve their aims at university. Please see below a list of some of these issues we work with:
- maximising academic performance
- loss of motivation
- personal growth and development
- problems with studies and exams
- suicidal feelings
- family problems
- sex and sexuality
- cultural issues
- eating difficulties
- drug or alcohol problems
- life changes
- life crises
- mental health issues
- experiences of abuse or discrimination
The activities and information on our webpage may be used to help you develop your skills in various areas or to manage various difficulties in your life. While most of the information is geared towards students, there are several which may also be used by staff (help with sleep problems and relaxation, in particular).
To gain access to this information please visit our Self-help materials webpage.
Personal development (Certificate and Workshops)
In addition to offering 1-1 counselling, the Counselling Service works with students on personal development issues.
Groups and workshops
Throughout the year the Counselling Service organises workshops on various personal issues, including exam anxiety, relaxation, stopping smoking, stress management, motivation, goal setting etc. For more information check regularly our webpages and/or twitter account @ss_counselling
Personal Development & Emotional Awareness (Certificate)
The Certificate in ‘Personal Development and Emotional Awareness’ is a new programme, which you can complete through a combination of distance learning, occasional workshops and the completion of a creative journal.
Employability - The programme has been developed; in part; as a response to some of the comments being made by many employer organisations, who describe their work forces as very skilled and resourceful but less able to deal with the reflective, emotional and social aspects of the work place. The programme therefore attempts to provide you with some of these skills and aptitudes.
Cost and Awards - The course is free to students currently studying at London Met. Your achievement will be recognised in your Higher Education Academic Record (HEAR) which you receive along with your degree certificate.
Course Ethos – Counselling is not just about helping you to address challenges and problems in your life. The Counselling Service is keen to work with students who are interested in growing and achieving their full academic, creative and personal potential. This is another reason why we have written this short personal development course.
The course is not just attempting to help you in your future employment. It’s bigger and more important than this. You are more than your job, more than a student, more than someone’s mate – so the course aims to help you develop as a valuable person.
In writing the programme, we wanted to move away from the traditional way of learning and assessing. We wanted the course to be creative and to accommodate a variety of learning styles. We also wanted to design a course which would allow you to take your explorations in a variety of directions and outside the core content.
- The course is theoretical, personal, creative, practical and exploratory
- You study in your own way and in your own time
- There are no deadlines, though we advise you not to take too long, because this can reduce your motivation
- Free to students at London Met
- Six 3-4 hour modules, total of 18-24 (plus) hours study time
- Study at your own pace - no deadlines
- Distance learning with email support and, if you wish, opportunities to study with others on the programme
- Supplemented with workshops
- Illustrated ‘Study Guide’ provided
- Assessed by submitting a personal journal
- Designed, delivered and supported by experienced staff in the University Counselling Service
Mini Modules - The course consists of six different mini-modules and each mini-module represents at least four hours of engagement, though you can do more if you wish, and it helps if you do. The mini-modules vary from year to year and those for 2016-17 are as follows:
- Set Clear Compelling Goals: A Journey Towards a Successful Outcome
- The Many Faces of My Learning Style
- Self-awareness: Improving Relationships & Enriching Your Student Experience
- Building Self Confidence: Assertiveness & Self Care
- Calming the Restless Mind: Mindfulness in Everyday Life
- Mental Health, Language and Social Inclusion
Workshops - There will also be a variety of workshops throughout the academic year, some in each term (October to December; January to April and April to July). These are normally about 1 ½ to 2 hours long. You are not compelled to attend these but we hope you will find the sessions supportive, interesting, playful and of use to your personal development. Attending will also enable you to meet other students following the course.
Assessment? – The course ‘will’ and ‘will not’ be assessed. It is impossible and disrespectful to assess your development as a person. We all develop in different ways and at different paces and there is no measure for this. What we are looking for is a full and genuine engagement with the course so, we ask you to keep a “Creative Personal Journal’ for the duration of the course, and you will submit this at the end.
When you begin the modules, you will notice that each module contains; among other things; lots of questions, exercises and, what we call, ‘life experiments’. We ask you to record your responses to these in the journal. We also encourage you to use your journal creatively and in ways of your own, so that it becomes a central part of your life, enabling you to be more reflective.
Registering - To register for the programme please use one of the registrations cards or send us an email with the following information (Attn: John Mackessy)
- Full Name:
- Student ID:
- Email Address (please write clearly):
- Your main course of study:
Best Wishes - If you participate fully and openly, the programme will be a very demanding and challenging experience, and we hope a fascinating and highly enjoyable one as well. We wish you well.
Mental health support
Many people begin to experience mental health problems in their teens and early twenties. When it happens, it can feel very worrying and you might think you are the only one. However, there are people to talk to and the University Counselling Service, in conjunction with the Disabilities and Dyslexia Service (DDS), can help you. For additional information please consult the Student Mental Health Policy.
Counselling Referral list
Please visit our Referral list page if you'd like to find more information on services that offer support and counselling on a variety of issues.
Our webpage gives web addresses and some telephone members for a number of organisations, national and international. Some of these relate to self-help groups and others to sources of information. Site descriptions are often those provided by the site. The list is not intended to be a recommendation. The Counselling Service would like to hear from you if you have used any of these sites or if you have problems accessing the site.
Health - Emergency contact details
Please visit our Health and Emergency contact details page if you'd like to find more information on external services, such as hospitals, A&E departmens, GPs and many more.
Services for university staff
The Counselling Service provides training, consultancy and others services for staff on a variety of mental health-related subjects.
Consultancy to Departments and Staff
The Counselling Service offers consultancy, advice and information to departments and individual staff on working with students who are causing concern. While the service does not offer individual counselling to staff (staff counselling is provided through the Workplace Options scheme, see below), the team works with departments to explore ways of working with students who are experiencing emotional, behavioural and mental health issues.
Commonly raised issues include:
- How to respond and support a student in crisis or with suspected mental health difficulties, including emotional distress, paranoia, deluded beliefs, anxiety and depression. This might include students whose behaviour has suddenly changed and which is giving you concern for their wellbeing.
- How to respond to students whose behaviour is problematic and /or disruptive to other students and / or staff.
- How to respond to and support students who do not wish to register their mental health problem with the Disabilities and Dyslexia Service (DDS)
- How to support students who register a mental health difficulty with DDS
- Disclosure - if you are looking for more information on what constitutes a disclosure, university policy relating to disclosure, and what you should do when a disclosure takes place, please consult our
- How to respond appropriately (and in line with university policy) to students you think pose a risk of harm to themselves or others. This includes threatening behaviour, any mention of suicide, child protection concerns and self-harm.
- Students who wish to intermit because of mental health difficulties – there are procedures for supporting students through this process and with their return to study.
If you are looking for advice on working with students with mental health difficulties, legal framework and adjustments please check our
Presentations and tailor-made support
Should you request it, staff from the Counselling Service will be happy to give talks or presentations to your team or students within your area, on any mental health-related issues, including all of the above. In the past year the service has worked in collaboration with many departments to meet specified needs. In addition to training sessions the service has designed and delivered workshops, within departments and with students, on the following subjects: listening skills; helping students make use of feedback; finding your own voice; time management; procrastination; relaxation techniques; managing exam anxiety; motivation and goal setting; creativity in your learning. The service is happy to respond to specific requests related to your area.
Trainee and associate placement scheme
The Counselling Service at London Metropolitan University has an established Trainee and Associate scheme, providing a number of clinical placements for:
- Counsellors in the advanced stages of training
- Counsellors who are qualified and wish to gain experience in Higher Education and accumulate hours for accreditation
We welcome applicants from a variety of theoretical orientations and training backgrounds (in counselling & psychotherapy) and from diverse personal and cultural backgrounds. The scheme offers an opportunity to gain work experience in the context of an inner city institution of Higher Education, which has a culturally diverse population and a high proportion of 'mature' (21+) students.
Update! The recruitment process for our counselling placements for the year 2016-17 has been completed! If you would like to be alerted for any future recruitments please email your personal details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information please visit our placements webpage.
Mitigating circumstances, appeals and supportive information
A counsellor may be able to help you with what is called 'mitigating circumstances' and/or with an 'appeals' process. However, such support is usually, though not always, in the context of 'regular and on-going' meetings.
If you are experiencing difficulties which impact upon your studies, then you are advised to discuss these with your counsellor at an early stage, so that arrangements can be made before the mitigation and appeals deadlines. If you have not attended counselling regularly or you have missed appointments, then the Service may refuse to support your application. The Service will consider supporting mitigation and appeal applications in relation to emotional and mental health problems only. We cannot support applications which are based on the following: medical issues, legal issues, transport problems, computer problems or problems which we cannot verify.
In the counselling service, we abide by the belief that asking questions is a significant step towards receiving the right support for you. In order to make this effort more accessible and user-friendly, we have composed a list of commonly asked questions. For more information please visit our relevant webpage.
Please contact us for further information on counselling and personal development issues or to arrange a meeting.