Counselling appointment
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Making an appointment

The Counselling Service is here to help you address personal or emotional problems that can impact your time at Oxford and help you realise your full academic and personal potential through a focussed and brief therapy.

Making a Counselling Service appointment

To request an appointment, contact the Counselling Service in person, by phone or email. After you have made this initial contact, you will be sent a pre-appointment form to complete. You will also receive information about the service and what to expect from an assessment, please do read this.

The pre-appointment form has the following two parts:

Part 1: Briefly summarize the problem(s) bringing you to counselling, along with some background information. If you do not feel able to complete Part 1, please let the Service know. It is hoped that you are able to complete the form, but it should not be a barrier to accessing counselling.

Part 2: This part of the form is optional, and includes questions about family, identity and significant life experiences. Doing the thinking required to complete this can help you to get much more from your initial counselling session. However, if the questions in part 2 do not feel relevant, or are too difficult to complete, you may choose not to answer them.

Please note, you are eligible to refer yourself to, and use, the Counselling Service during a period of suspension. If you are already engaged with the Counselling Service at a time when you suspend you can continue with your counselling until an appropriately agreed ending. If you are living away from Oxford you can arrange to have on-line counselling support with the Service.

It can be most useful to have contact with the Counselling Service at the point when you are suspending to work out how you can be best supported over the period of suspension. This can help you address such issues as finding appropriate therapeutic or medical support back at your home. It may also be helpful to access the Service before you return to your studies to help you re-engage with your academic work and college life.

If you access the Service during your period of suspension you will be offered the same level of therapeutic support as all other students. The Counselling Service offers brief and focussed therapeutic interventions. This can be negotiated with the clinician you are working with to decide how the Service can best support you. If you need longer or more specialised therapeutic treatments to help you address psychological difficulties then you will need to be referred to the appropriate NHS medical, psychological or psychiatric services.

Waiting times

You will be seen as soon as possible after you have returned your completed pre-appointment form. Waiting times can be longer in busy periods so we would encourage you to request an appointment as soon as you are likely to want one. If there are special circumstances which mean you need to be seen more urgently please indicate this when requesting an appointment. If you are unable to attend an appointment, please let us know as quickly as you can.

Emergency situations

Please be aware that we are not an emergency service. If you feel the situation is an emergency crisis rather than urgent, then please contact your college GP or out of hours GP in the first instance. An emergency crisis is when you might present with immediate risk to yourself which could include attempted suicide, serious self-harm or harm to others or where you might find yourself in situations where you feel you lack a sense of self-control, personal responsibility and safety. If the situation is life threatening then please go to Accident and Emergency. A talking therapy could be helpful when the immediate crisis is over and there is space to reflect and explore.


All personal details and the content of all counselling sessions are confidential. Under normal circumstances, nothing will be revealed to anyone outside the Service without your express permission. The Service will only break this rule if you are no longer in a position to take responsibility for your own actions and the therapist is significantly concerned about you or someone else that you are talking about.  The Service may also be required to share the content of counselling sessions with third parties such as the Police where it is required by law or where it is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.

There may be times when it is to your benefit for the Service to liaise with others - whether this is with other health professionals or academics. The Counselling Service will only do this if you are in agreement that it would be helpful and you have given your written consent. This can be openly discussed with your therapist as part of a collaborative working relationship.

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