Our Counselling Service is here to try and help you gain understanding and insight into what you may be experiencing.
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In order to keep the Goldsmiths community safe during Covid-19, we are providing our counselling sessions remotely via Microsoft Teams.
While in the majority of situations online counselling will be appropriate, we recognise that some of our students may not be able to access counselling when it is not delivered face-to-face.
The Counselling Service service is free and confidential, but it is not an emergency service. It aims to build your resources and to promote change that will enable you to fulfil your academic and personal potential.
What counselling is
Short term counselling is available for students who are experiencing problems such as anxiety, depressed feelings, and emotional difficulties that may or may not be connected to student life.
Talking and thinking collaboratively with a professional counsellor often allows for more clarity and new perspectives which can lead to viewing and dealing with things differently.
Benefits of Counselling
Counselling can help with longstanding concerns, new difficulties or if you simply have a feeling that something ‘isn’t right’.
Counselling can be useful in reviewing strategies which might have previously helped you manage alone, but which may now no longer be working.
It can be a relief to tell someone who is impartial, about difficulties you are struggling with on your own.
A counsellor listens carefully and without judgment, brings objectivity and experience of dealing with problems of all kinds to support you as an individual.
Counsellors won’t tell you what to do but can help you start to make sense of difficulties you are having and work with you to identify ways to cope and live which are more helpful.
Why counselling may not be appropriate
In some instances, Counselling from Goldsmiths may not be possible or the most appropriate support for you. It could be that:
- Longer-term and/or more specialised therapy is indicated from the initial assessment
- Medical issues need to be prioritised and referral to medical services is warranted. For students residing outside of the UK, this will involve signposting you to local emergency services or support networks
- You are based in a country with specific counselling licensing which regulate the provision of counselling and which are incompatible with the UK legal and regulatory requirements
If counselling provision is not possible or appropriate, alternative sources of support from Goldsmiths will be explored with you. These may include:
- Wellbeing Team support
- Mental Health Adviser support
- Referrals to other relevant, external services, such as NHS-based services (if UK based)
- Help with signposting to local services in the country where you are currently based (outside of the UK)
Difference between short-term counselling, CBT, mentoring and a Mental Health Advisor
The Counselling Team is staffed by professionals who offer a range of different types of support.
All of the counsellors in our team offer short-term support and work integratively, which means that they draw on tools and strategies from a variety of counselling approaches.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
We can also offer CBT therapy, which is also a time-limited intervention, but which offers a more structured and present-focused approach. See our 'What is CBT' video for more about this.
Mental Health Advisor (MHA)
Our MHA works with students who have a complex or longer-standing mental health diagnosis or need linking in with NHS services such as GP, Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) or South London and Maudsley NHS trust (SLAM).
The Mental Health Advisor can see students whose support needs cannot be adequately met by short term counselling or longer-term low-cost counselling as a form of support. The Mental Health Advisor can work with the student to determine what other form of mental health support is appropriate and help that student access it.
Specialist Mental Health Mentor via DSA / Wellbeing Mentoring
Mentoring and counselling have similarities: both offer one-to-one support designed to support your emotional wellbeing.
A mentor will be more focused upon practical strategies to address present-day difficulties and barriers specific to your university experience
A counsellor will work with you therapeutically on any aspect of your current experiencing and distress which may or may not relate to your experiences of being at university.
Students can see a mentor and a counsellor, what is most important is that any support accessed feels clear in purpose and distinctively helpful in its own right
For information on Mentoring, email wellbeing (@gold.ac.uk).
How it works
Step 1 - Meet with a Wellbeing advisor
During this meeting, we can discuss whether counselling would be the most useful resource and if so, wellbeing advisers will refer you directly to the counselling service and you will be added to the waiting list for a counselling assessment.
Step 2 - Book a counselling assessment online
The counselling team will then email asking you to book a counselling assessment online. You can pick the time and date that works for you, and choose the format this assessment will take e.g. phone or MS Teams.
Step 3 - First session with your counsellor
The experience of counselling will begin with an assessment session in which you will meet with a counsellor and discuss the contents of your Self-Referral Form in more detail.
It is an opportunity for you to talk through your current circumstances, including the issues you are dealing with, so that you and the counsellor can think together about the support that will be most helpful for you at this point in time.
The counsellor will be interested to hear about your history including any previous support you might have had and whether you found this helpful or not.
They will also ask about your current support and the strategies you may already be using to take care of yourself.
You can then go on to have a maximum of four sessions with your counsellor.
If you need more help than the service can provide
Counselling sessions are always short-term with a maximum of four sessions.
More complex and enduring difficulties may require more specialist or longer-term support than we are able to offer and we will talk through different referral options with you and can signpost or refer you to the support that is the best fit for your current needs.
The Counselling Service can also provide information and advice about how to find a private counsellor or therapist, although we can't arrange appointments with private therapists. Your counsellor can discuss these options with you if is seen as what is best for your needs.
Requesting a specific counsellor (race / gender / sexuality)
We always endeavor to meet the requests of students who would prefer a specific counsellor. However, please keep in mind that this may at times delay your appointment offer.
If we are not able to accommodate the request, we will inform you and either offer an alternative or signpost you to external services.
Who will know you are receiving counselling
Communication and sessions with the Counselling Service are treated in the strictest confidence.
Academic departments are not informed about the support you are receiving.
Where relevant and helpful we may discuss referral to services within or external to Goldsmiths for additional support.
Limitations to confidentiality are outlined in our confidentiality statement.
Why we ask for your GP's details
Your GP is the pathway to support for your physical and mental health from the NHS.
Counsellors are ethically required to provide a ‘duty of care’ to their clients and in the event that you needed more specialist support than we could offer or if we had more significant concerns for your wellbeing, we would speak with you about you making contact with your GP. See our confidentiality statement.
As we are currently working remotely and speaking with students who may be located far from where our counsellors are based, it is even more important than usual for us to be satisfied that you have access to local medical care, should you need to access it urgently.
What records are kept
We store all the information you provide us with on our secure database and this includes any notes that your counsellor takes while they are working with you. This database is only accessible to the Counselling team.
Records are kept in accordance with professional practice.
These records are confidential and are not shared or accessible outside the Counselling Service. You have the right to request your counselling records.
The Service also keeps anonymized statistical information on counselling clients, as counsellors are required to keep session notes.
For more information about our record keeping and data protection matters, please see our confidentiality statement.
Exam attendance only and 'interrupted' students
You can access Goldsmiths Counselling Service however, if you are living away from campus it may be easier for you to access counselling support closer to your current place of residence
We would usually recommend your local GP as a starting point for accessing counselling support.
Waiting for other counselling
Our counsellors are not able to offer counselling sessions if you are already seeing another counsellor or are about to start working with one very soon.
If you are not sure whether you are on a waiting list for another service, you can discuss your situation with a Wellbeing Adviser.
In some situations, it may be most appropriate to request that GPs make referrals to specialist organisations.
All counsellors are fully qualified Members of BACP or UKCP, and adhere to BACP ethical guidelines.
All counsellors are committed to practising counselling in ways that are inclusive, accessible and affirming to students from all backgrounds, cultures, races, beliefs, sexualities, abilities and gender identities.