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 94% of our student service users are highly satisfied with the Counselling Service whilst 85.5% stated that working with a counsellor helped them with their life in general (Counselling Service statistics, 2017-18).
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 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.
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 (25+) students.
Update! Our new recruitment for the following academic year 2018-19 has now been completed! If you'd be interested in joining our team please check our placements webpage for more information on future recruitments and/or contact our placement coordinator, John Mackessy, on: firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about our scheme.
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.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Once you have made contact with the Counselling Service we need to collect and process certain data about you. We require this information for to be able to provide you with counselling or other support and to collaborate with other university services when appropriate. This notice explains how we collect your personal data, how it is stored and processed, who gets access to it, and what your rights are under the 2018 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Consistent with the GDPR, personal information collected and used by the Counselling Service must be:
- Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner.
- Collected and used only to facilitate counselling and other support of students using the Counselling Service.
- Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary.
- Accurate and kept up-to-date.
- Stored for a limited time period (no longer than 7 years after students last contact with the Counselling Service).
- Processed and stored in a secure manner in two Counselling Service locations (Learning Centre, Holloway Campus and Calcutta House Campus, Aldgate) and encrypted when necessary.
What information we hold about you
When you make contact with the Counselling Service prior to your first appointment we access your personal data from the University student record system. At your first appointment (Pre-counselling meeting) we then need to collect additional information about you, such as:
- Your name
- Your contact details
- Your date of birth
- Your ethnic origins
- Your academic department and course information
- Details of your emergency contacts
- Your GP name and contact information
- Any disabilities which you have disclosed to us
- Factual information on your mental health and wellbeing, personal circumstances, and background, as disclosed by you during counselling appointments.
How we use your personal information
Only Counselling Services staff who need access to relevant parts of your data will be authorised to do so. Information about you in electronic form will be password protected and encrypted when necessary, while paper files are stored in a secure manner.
Information about you will be processed using London Metropolitan University software systems. The University has contracts with the providers for their cloud services to safeguard your data.
Sharing your personal data
Further GDPR requirements, the Counselling Service abides by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions (2018). The information you provide to the Counselling Service is confidential and we will only share information about you with your consent. This means that we will not share information about you to other University services, academic departments, relatives, health professionals, or external agencies without your expressed permission.
Staff within the Counselling Service may discuss aspects of your circumstances with their immediate colleagues, or in a few cases where relevant, with the Head of Student Services and/or the Student Services Multi-Agency team. If such discussions take place it will usually be for the sole purpose of seeking information, confirming the best course of action, or helping the member of staff to reflect on their work with you. Whenever possible, any such discussion between staff in Student Services will take place without identification of you personally.
However, there are certain circumstances where disclosure without your consent is required or permitted by law:
- When a counsellor has significant concerns that a student presents a risk of harm to themselves or others.
- When a counsellor has serious concerns about the wellbeing of a student under the age of 18 (The Children Act 2004).
- When a counsellor is made aware of a child who is being abused or is at risk of abuse (The Children Act 2004).
- When a counsellor is informed of terrorist activities (The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005)
- When we are asked by external agencies to disclose information and there is a legal requirement to do so (e.g. The proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Children Act 1989, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, Social Security Fraud Act 2001, Immigration Act 2016, Special Needs and Disabilities Act 2001)
- When we may be required to do so by a University regulation, The Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) or the UK Research Councils (although this would not automatically apply in the case of any information held by the Counselling and Wellbeing Service)
If it becomes necessary to share your personal information without your consent, we will do our best to discuss this with you before that happens. Information to third parties is only provided on a need to know basis and all such conversations will be respectful.
How long we keep your information
We will only store your personal data for as long as is necessary. For the purposes described here we will store your data for a period of seven years following your last appointment the Counselling Service.
Consistent with the GDPR, you have the right:
- To find out if we use your personal information and how we process it;
- To view your personal information with your counsellor and receive copies of your personal record;
- To request that we correct and update inaccurate or incomplete information on you;
- In certain circumstances, to have your details deleted, or anonymised, from systems that we use to process your personal data subject to University Legal Responsibilities and Liabilities;
- To object to certain processing of your information;
- To withdraw your consent to the processing of your personal data at any time, if we have already obtained your consent to do so;
Under GDPR you are entitled to request a copy of the personal data we hold on you. This involves completing our subject access request form, and sending it to the Information Compliance Officer with proof of ID.
If you wish to make a subject access request for your personal data, please refer to our Subject Access page.
If you require further information on how London Metropolitan University handles student data, please contact the Data Protection Officer at the following address;
Data Protection Officer
University Secretarys Office
London Metropolitan University
166-220 Holloway Road
London, N7 8DB
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.