Frequently asked questions

What do I say on my first appointment in the Open Door?

Whatever you like. Often, it is difficult to know where to start and there are no right and wrong things to say. Sometimes, you may find you want to remain silent. At other times, you may find yourself saying things that surprise you and which the counsellor will help you explore. As the initial appointment for the assessment in the Open Door is 45 minutes, you may want to write down or think about the things you may want to say. You can always e-mail the counsellor afterwards with more information if that feels appropriate.

What does the counsellor do?

The counsellor listens to you carefully in a supportive and respectful way, without judging you. The counsellor helps you explore and clarify issues and develop more constructive ways of dealing with them. This may mean developing an 'Action Plan' to tackle the issues.

Is counselling a free service?

Yes. Counselling is a service made available to students free of charge by the University.

How many counselling sessions will I need?

This will vary. People come to counselling with a variety of concerns. Some want a single appointment to talk about what is troubling them. Others prefer coming regularly for a longer period of time.

What if I need more help than the service can provide?

Some issues might best be dealt with by more specialised services. If you need more help than we can provide, we will refer you to the appropriate internal service within the University, or we will help you find an appropriate outside agency.

What is the counselling service's policy on providing letters in support of mitigating circumstances?

Sometimes, students may feel that their ability to perform academically is impaired by their personal circumstances and may ask counsellors to support their application for mitigation. In order to support client's claims for mitigating circumstances, counsellors need to have a clear awareness and understanding of the client's difficulties. Counsellors will normally consider writing mitigating circumstances letters when clients have attended a minimum of three consecutive counselling sessions (i.e. 50 min weekly) during a period prior to the mitigating circumstances submission deadline. However, we do appreciate that there may be some exceptions to this.

What if I don't get anywhere with counselling?

There may be many reasons why counselling may not be for you at this time, but don't give up straight away or stop attending without talking to your counsellor about other options.

Doesn't going to counselling mean that I am weak or that I am a failure?

No. It can take a great deal of courage to come to counselling and to face the difficulties you have been struggling with. We do not see this as a failure or weakness, but as a positive step towards making changes or finding different ways of coping. Sometimes we do not have the skills, strategies and awareness which enable us to deal with difficult situations. There is no fault, weakness, or failure on your part in this case. Counselling may be about learning a different skill set, acquiring greater awareness or simply talking things through that may add a better perspective, enabling you to move forward.

If I don't get on with my counsellor, can I see someone else?

Yes. Establishing a counselling relationship with a client is important. Each counsellor has slightly different ways of working that may or may not suit you as an individual. If you feel it's not working, talk to your counsellor and explore the possibility of seeing another member of the counselling team.

More information

Our confidential counselling service can support you through any personal or academic difficulties and develop constructive ways forward.

Contact us

T: 01642 342277
E: counselling@tees.ac.uk