What is Counselling?

Counselling is a Psychological therapy: 

"Counselling and Psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their well-being. In the counselling sessions the client can explore various aspects of their life and feelings, talking about them freely and openly in a way that is rarely possible with friends or family. Bottled up feelings such as anger, anxiety, grief and embarrassment can become very intense and counselling offers an opportunity to explore them, with the possibility of making them easier to understand. The counsellor will encourage the expression of feelings and as a result of their training will be able to accept and reflect the client's problems without becoming burdened by them”. (BACP)

What to expect when you arrive for counselling

Needing help is a normal part of being human and asking for support shows courage and strength in taking the difficult step in resolving a problem.

Counselling is a talking therapy based on psychological theories which usually focuses on emotional or psychological needs and problems. The role of the counsellor is facilitative rather than directive and you will be encouraged to freely express your feelings, thoughts and actions. By discussing your concerns, the counsellor can help to gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, as well as identifying ways of finding your own solutions to problems.

The counsellor will:

  • Provide emotional support

  • Facilitate emotional healing

  • Facilitate emotional growth

The counsellor will not:

  • Have any relationship with you other than a counselling one

  • Be a permanent support or friend to you

Appropriately Trained

All our counsellors are professionally trained and are registered with professional bodies. They work to a set of ethical standards such as the BACP Ethical Framework and are subject to their procedures for complaints and sanctions.

There will be an agreement between you and your counsellor which will cover:

• The time and day you will meet
• How often you will meet
• The length of each session
• Number of sessions 
• Confidentiality and its limitations
• Record keeping
• Non-attendance
• Arrangements for cancellations
• Arrangements during holiday periods

Joint Experience

Counselling works best if you engage with your counsellor. The relationship you develop with your counsellor is an important part of the process and the focus is on you and your needs. The counsellor works with you to explore how you can progress towards living in a way that is more satisfactory and resourceful for you.

What do I say?

Counselling takes place in a private setting so that you can feel free to share your concerns in confidence and say whatever you like. You can bring any difficulty which is affecting your life, health or ability to study. Sometimes you may find yourself saying things you had not expected to say and sometimes there may be silence. The counsellor will help you to explore and keep referring to you, to clarify his/her understanding.


Anything you share with your counsellor will not be revealed to your academic department unless you request it. There are limitations to this, please see our page on confidentiality

Will the counsellor give me advice?

Counsellors don’t give advice such as ‘I’d leave university if I was you…’ The purpose of counselling is to help you make your own decision, to encourage empowerment and autonomy.

Your counsellor will not make a moral judgement about any decision or course of action that you choose to take but will support you in finding your own way forward.

Counsellors will draw from their training and their experience of what has helped others and may offer suggestions such as ‘Have you considered/thought of ...’

Does counselling work for everybody?

No, but it does offer help to the majority. Your counsellor will check out with you to see if talking is helpful - and if not, will help you look for something else.

Some student comments:

" . . . I felt normal for the first time in my life and it has truly changed me forever"

" . . . The setting of a university is challenging for me and counselling helped me feel a bit more comfortable."

" . . . Due to difficult home situations and my struggles with mental health I did consider dropping out and going home. But counselling gives me a place to open up and talk about what I normally wouldn't."

" . . . Talking to someone about my feelings and difficulties in every day life helped me a lot."

" . . . Thank you for all you have and are doing for me. You are the only person who has actually ever helped me."

" . . . It made me see myself in a different light"

" . . . My therapist was understanding, prompted me to really explore my own emotions and allowed me to sit and feel things, something I had been denying myself. He really helped me to understand how I actually felt and was very genuine."

" . . . one of the best counsellors I’ve seen! … feels like she is very up to date and knows what she’s doing."

" . . . has helped me in ways that I didn't think were possible."

" . . . helped me understand my emotions and has listened to how it is affecting me…has helped me feel more settled and less anxious, allowing me to continue with my studies."

Do I have to pay?

No. Counselling is offered free of charge to registered UCLan students in line with the majority of universities as part of the support system designed to help them achieve their academic potential. If you require more intensive support than the university service can provide, you may be referred to an outside service. Some of these are free of charge, others may charge.