About counselling

GCU Counselling Service

Our qualified and experienced counsellors/therapists are here to support all University students as part of the Student Wellbeing Service. 

Key Activities

We support all matriculated students by providing;

  • Signpost to self-help resource
  • Signpost to other University based support or Community based support
  • Access to short term confidential one-to-one counselling. Counselling is offered in English and on request in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
  • Therapeutic Groups and Workshops
  • Awareness raising of Good Mental Health through collaborative activities on campus and on-line
  • We offer to help students work through their difficulty, understand themselves better and find their own way to better manage.
What's Counselling?

Counselling involves a series of confidential sessions where the counsellor/therapist and student will explore the student’s issues or concerns. These sessions take place at a regular, mutually agreed time.  Counselling is not about giving advice or opinions, nor is it a friendly chat with a friend. The counsellor /therapist will help the student to understand themselves better and find their own solutions to cope with or resolve their situation.

Counselling may involve talking about life events, feelings, emotions, ways of relating, of thinking, and patterns of behaviour. The counsellor/therapist will offer the student a safe, non-judgemental relationship to explore whatever concerns they may bring. 

The service is staffed by a team of qualified counsellors and psychotherapists working with a variety of approaches. Most students meet with their counsellor or therapist for a series of anywhere between 1 and 6 weekly appointments.

Some of the most common issues which students ask for help with are low mood, anxiety, and relationship problems.  Many students benefit from exploring their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours in the confidential counselling setting.

Counselling Sessions

The Student Counsellors/Therapists within the Wellbeing Team provide short term counselling, usually a maximum of 6 sessions.

Some issues students bring to counselling include

  •  Life transitions
  • Ways of relating to others; relationship concerns
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Fears
  • Personal Growth
  • Lack of self-confidence/worth
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low mood
  • Sexuality
  • Personal experiences causing distress e.g. victim of crime
  • Experience of abuse
  • Concerns about anger, mood changes
  • Physical health changes/impact
  • Disordered eating
  • Self Harm concerns
Languages we offer Counselling in

In addition to English we can offer counselling sessions in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu. Please let us know if you would like to have counselling in one of these languages.

Therapeutic models

We offer short-term counselling or therapy of up to six sessions, however we find that need varies greatly from student to student – some attend for one session while others choose to meet for six. Our service aims to help students work through their difficulties, understand themselves better and find better ways of coping in their academic or personal lives.

The experienced team includes qualified counsellors and qualified psychotherapists offering either Person-Centred Counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 

Person-Centred Counselling

Person-Centred Counselling is a process that aims to help you focus on and understand more clearly issues that concern or trouble you. Counselling can help you explore your feelings in a safe environment;  it can help you gain a better understanding of your concerns or anxieties and how these impact on the choices you make.  Counselling offers you a space to explore these issues that may help you feel more confident in making decisions or changes that are right for you. More information on Person Centred Counselling can be found here.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a short-term psychological treatment. You will work with your therapist to identity and understand your problems in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour. CBT is typically based in the here-and-now and has been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment for a variety of problems from anxiety and panic attacks, to low mood and poor self-esteem. More information about CBT can be found here What is CBT.


Service Record Keeping 

When you contact the Service, a record is created. The purpose of this is to record your contact with the Service and appointments with your counsellor/therapist.

This is held securely in electronic form and paper file within the Service in line with the University’s Records Retention policy. 

For more information, please see our University Records Management Pages. /


Confidentiality is a very important aspect of counselling and psychotherapy, enabling people to feel they can talk freely about their concerns in a safe environment.

Staff working in the Counselling Team will not pass on personal information about clients (including information on attendance) to anyone outside the Service (including academic staff). However there are a very few occasions when we would consider it necessary to break confidentiality.

These are:

  • when you have given us your consent to disclose information.
  • if we believed you were in serious danger of harming yourself or another person.
  • where we have been given information which would render us liable to civil or criminal court procedure should it not be disclosed.

In such situations we would normally encourage you to disclose the information to the relevant person/agency. If there is no indication that this has happened, or is likely to happen, or if the crisis or danger is sufficiently acute, the counsellor/psychotherapist may pass on the information directly.

Consent to disclose information will be sought from the client, if at all possible.

Access to Records

Under the DPA you have the right to see records that are kept about you.   For information on how to access your record please see GCU's Data Protection Webpages.

If your record includes a letter or additional information from a third party, consent will need to be obtained before the contents of this are disclosed as data protection is also granted to third parties. 

Access to counselling/therapy notes

 Your counsellor/therapist may record background information and key issues worked on in the counselling sessions.  If you ask to see these notes, it is important that these are discussed with your counsellor/therapist as they may be in code or abbreviated and may need explaining.  

If you wish to see your record please speak with your counsellor/therapist, please be aware that one week’s notice is normally required.

Supervision and Professional development

Counsellors/therapists within the Service adhere to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

If you would like to access a copy of this, please see BACP's Ethical Framework Webpages.

As part of continuing professional development all counsellors/therapists in the Service receive supervision from a supervisor who is independent of the University.   During this supervision the counsellor/therapist may talk about the work that they are doing with you in your sessions.  The primary purpose of this is to facilitate and develop the counsellor/therapist therapeutic practice.  Your identity is protected in this process. 

Sometimes your counsellor/therapist may ask you if they can tape-record counselling sessions for the purpose of professional development.  If you have any objections to taping please let your counsellor/therapist know.  You have the right to withdraw your permission at any time.

Course requirement for personal counselling

The Counselling Team is unable to provide counselling to students who are compelled to engage in personal therapy as a course requirement. We recommend that you contact your course organiser for details of counsellors within the Glasgow area.

The Counselling service offering is informed by the Ethical Framework of British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy