Counselling service

Counselling at Churchill

The college provides a confidential counselling service for students and staff. You can talk to the Counsellor about any issue that is troubling you. People come with a wide range of issues from immediate concerns to longer-term problems. These may include, abuse, anxiety, bereavement, depression, eating disorders, family difficulties, procrastination, relationship or social issues, self-harm, settling in, sexual harassment, sexuality, stress or suicidal feelings.
While talking to family, friends or other staff can be helpful, there may be times when you want to talk to someone outside your normal life and who is professionally trained. It can sometimes initially feel daunting to go and see a Counsellor, but these feelings usually dissipate fairly quickly.

Counselling offers a safe and non-judgemental space to talk about your problems. The Counsellor will listen carefully and help you to explore aspects of your life and feelings. This can relieve your distress, increase your personal understanding and perhaps assist you to make helpful changes in your life.

The Counsellor, Tim Ellis, has a wide range of experience, especially in working with students. If the College Counsellor judges it appropriate and likely to be helpful, it may be possible to arrange to see another, female, Counsellor.

The sessions are usually 50 minutes long. Most people come for between one and ten sessions, typically once a week. However, there is no fixed limit on the number of sessions and it is possible to come for a longer period.


Appointments are available in the morning and afternoon usually on Mondays and Thursdays. The Counsellor will try and offer you a convenient appointment time.

Appointments to see a counsellor are best made by email:

Taster sessions

If you’re not familiar with counselling, you’re welcome to arrange a 15 minute informal, taster session to see if counselling is for you or to ask any questions you may have before booking an appointment. Please email to ask for one of these sessions. 


Room 1H (at the top of staircase 1)

Out of hours support

The Sanctuary is an NHS service providing a safe place for people experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis. It offers practical and emotional support in a warm and welcoming environment in central Cambridge.
Open: 6pm–1am every day
Tel: 111, option 2 

Nightline offers a helpline run by students for students in Cambridge. You can phone, instant message, email or Skype.
Open: 7pm–7am in full-term only
Tel: 01223 744 444

Saneline is a national mental helpline providing specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by a mental health issue or crisis, including friends and family.
Open: 4.30–10.30pm every day
Tel: 0300 304 7000

Cambridge Samaritans local branch of national helpline providing confidential emotional support to people in distress or despair.
Open for phone and email contact: 24 hours, every day.
Open for visits: 10.30am–10pm every day
Tel: 116 123

And remember, the Porters Lodge is open 24 hours a day.

Useful Resources

Students can also access counselling through the University Counselling Service. The website includes a large number of self-help leaflets with information about a range of common difficulties. It also provides a comprehensive list of other sources of help and advice.

Staff can also access the Staff Counselling Service

Confidentiality and Data Protection

All personal information provided to the counselling service is confidential and private, and no information will be passed on to anyone else without your consent. The only exception to this is if you, or someone else, are at risk of significant harm; or when the College is legally obliged to do so.

Minimal confidential and anonymous case notes are kept, stored separately from a list of names and Email addresses.  The information is securely stored on the Churchill College IT system, or in a locked filing cabinet.  This information is not shared (unless you request it to be shared) and used only to facilitate ongoing counselling work (the only exception, as stated above, if there is a serious and imminent risk to safety).   This information is kept according to the Records Retention Schedule of the College for 7 years and then deleted.  The counsellor’s personal and more detailed case notes are shredded at the end of the work with you.   You can request to see or have a copy of the data that is held or withdraw your consent at any time by contacting   

You will be asked to sign a form confirming your understanding and consent to these arrangements when you first come for a counselling session.

Welfare support at Churchill