Counselling service

Counselling at Churchill

The College Counsellor, Veronica McDouall, provides a confidential counselling service for all students and staff. Veronica is a registered counsellor and psychotherapist with a wide range of experience, especially with young people. She is available to see anyone who is experiencing personal problems or difficulties.

People come with many different issues, ranging from immediate concerns such as talking through a difficult decision or help with settling in, to more serious and ongoing problems. These may include anxiety and stress, depression, problems with relationships, sexuality, family difficulties, bereavement, homesickness, sexual harassment or abuse, eating disorders, self-harm or suicidal feelings.

Although it can feel daunting or challenging to come and see a counsellor, it is often helpful to talk to someone who is outside your normal circle of friends, family, or university life. Counselling offers people a relationship which is non-judgemental, and a safe space to talk through and think about the things that are troubling them. Through this process, they can gain more understanding and clarity, and discern whether, or in what way, they might wish to make changes.

The counsellor will listen carefully, and help you to explore different aspects of your life and feelings. Counselling is a way of enabling choice or change, rather than giving advice or direction. It is always a good idea to come before problems become serious, as things can be easier to resolve at this stage, and if you feel that the difficulties you are experiencing may interfere with your academic work, it is helpful to mention them also to your Tutor and/or Director of Studies.
You can come for as many sessions as are helpful: most people come for between one and ten, but it is always possible to come for longer if necessary.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

All contacts with the counsellor are 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 serious and imminent risk to safety).   This information is kept according 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 counsellor@chu.cam.ac.uk.   

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


Appointments

The College Counsellor is normally in College two days a week (generally Tuesdays and Wednesdays), throughout most of the year, not only in Full Term. 

Appointments to see the counsellor can be made by email or T: 01223 336179

counsellor@chu.cam.ac.uk 

Drop-in sessions

There is also a Drop-In session on Tuesdays in Full Term between 1.30pm and 2.15pm when you can just come along.


Location

Room 1H (at the top of staircase 1)


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.

Linkline offers a helpline run by students for students during full term only. It operates nightly between 7pm and 8pm. T: 01223 367575

Cambridge Samaritans provide a 24-hour telephone service to provide confidential emotional support to people in distress or despair. T: 08457 90 90 90

Rape & Sexual Assault: Information for students.