Counselling Service Information
Some students find enough support in our Resources pages to resolve their difficulties without counselling. (https://www.universityofgalway.ie/counsellors/resources/self-help/)
You can also join Togetherall, a safe, free, moderated and anonymous online community for mental health support available to all students 24/7.
Student Counselling provides a free hybrid service of in-person and online one-to-one counselling. Seeking counselling is normal here and is not a sign that you are unable to cope, but of strength and resourcefulness. Any problem, large or small, if unresolved, is welcomed here.
What to Expect When You Contact Us
Speaking with a counsellor can help you gain perspective to respond more effectively to your difficulties. Counselling begins here with an initial assessment session where you and your counsellor explore the impact of what you bring and your goals for counselling. Some challenges can be fully addressed in this initial session, but those that are more complex may require further sessions. However, the aim of our service is to keep counselling focused and efficient, with most students in our service availing themselves of up to 4 sessions.
We can also connect you to other support services, both internal Student Services and external professional services. We encourage students to use online supports such as Togetherall post counselling to maintain positive mental health. Our waiting time is usually within 2 weeks but can be longer in the peak times. The service is confidential unless you or someone else is at serious risk. If you are experiencing an emergency that cannot wait, please let us know and we will try and provide a same day appointment where possible.
Where are we located?
Our therapy room is Room 56 in Wing 4/5 on the Shannon Campus. Our opening hours are 1pm–6pm Monday to Wednesday. During term time, we also offer emergency appointments outside of these hours where required. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Do I need to pay for counselling?
No. Students are not required to pay for this service.
Is counselling completely confidential?
Yes. As a general rule, counsellors will not divulge any information about you outside the service, without your permission. The only exceptions to this are if there is clear and imminent risk to someone’s life or if there is a child safeguarding concern.
Who is counselling for?
Counselling is available to all full and part-time undergraduate and post-graduate students registered with University of Galway.
Will the fact that I attended the counselling service appear on my record?
How soon can I be seen?
This depends on the time of year. We aim to offer everyone an appointment within 10 working days. However, the wait time can be longer during peak times. Because of the high demand, we ask that you let us know, as soon as possible, if you intend to cancel.
How many sessions will I have?
Student Counselling is a short-term service with students generally being offered up to 4 sessions. If longer-term support is more appropriate, we will explore this with you during your sessions. Where appropriate, we will help you to identify and connect with relevant external services.
Will the counsellor contact other people on my behalf, eg. academic, doctor?
In some circumstances it may be desirable or necessary to liaise with a third party outside our service (e.g. an academic adviser, course co-ordinator, doctor). In the case of emails/letters, the client will agree the contents and, wherever possible, have read the letter before it is sent. In the case of telephone calls, the purpose of the call and the nature and extent of the information disclosed will be agreed with the client prior to the call being made.
Clients will be informed of any contact with the service made by a third party as soon as it is possible for the counsellor to do so. The counsellor will only communicate with a third party about a client between appointments where the client has given explicit permission, subject to the previously noted exceptions of risk or child protection concerns.
Can a staff member arrange an appointment on behalf of a student?
If you believe the student needs to see a counsellor, you should suggest to the student to make direct contact with the service, however, it is not uncommon for staff to email the counsellors introducing the student to the service (cc’ing the student in the email). All communication thereafter is between the student and counsellor and remains confidential.
Is the service open throughout the academic holidays?
The service is open throughout the calendar year except between Christmas and New Year when the University as a whole closes. During term time, face to face sessions are offered, however, during summer time, online sessions are offered to students to facilitate those on placement
One to One Counselling
One-to-one Counselling offers you a safe and supportive space to explore difficulties you are experiencing. Counselling can help you gain a new perspective on an issue that you may feel stuck with, help you to cope with an unexpected crisis, and help you to develop healthy strategies to manage ongoing difficulties.
Some common issues that students seek support for include academic stress, anxiety, low mood, self-esteem and identity, coping with transitions, gender identity, family and relationship difficulties, loneliness, bereavement, sexual trauma, eating difficulties, alcohol/drug misuse and more.
The Student Counselling Service operates a short-term counselling model – students are generally offered up to four sessions when they register. If longer-term support is needed, we will explore this with you during your sessions. Where appropriate, we will help you to identify and connect with relevant external services.
If you believe you could.
In situations where online assessment and counselling works best for you, we proceed on the same basis as in-person counselling. In your initial online assessment session, we talk together about your challenges, specific needs and what you would consider a good outcome. The best outcome sometimes involves connecting with local one-to-one services and continuing with them rather than online sessions, or it may well be to continue with online sessions. As with one-to-one sessions, the aim is to keep counselling focused and efficient.
We are unable to provide online counselling if you are actively suicidal, engaging in serious self-harm or if you have severe or enduring mental health challenges. In situations like this, it is important for you to access face-to-face support through your own GP and other psychological services locally. Online counselling cannot provide an emergency service for clients. In you do experience an emergency whilst engaged in online work your counsellor will explore appropriate support with you that you might access. If you do find yourself in a major crisis and considering serious self-harm, it is vital to get immediate help. This would include contacting your GP, or your nearest Accident and Emergency department.
Terms and Conditions
Confidentiality and Limits to Confidentiality in University of Galway Student Counselling Service
Any personal data which you provide to Student Counselling & Wellbeing will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, in accordance both with Irish and European Data Protection legislation and with codes of ethics and practice for psychologists (PSI) and psychotherapists (IACP, IAHIP). It is necessary for us to collect and process your personal data and data related to your wellbeing and mental health for us to provide you with counselling, consultation and group interventions. We store your information securely and retain counselling records for a period of seven years following termination of counselling in keeping with professional codes of practice.
Apart from necessary liaison with the Student Health Unit and the Disability Service, the only other situation in which the Counselling Service may share information is if your counsellor is concerned about a serious risk to life either to you or to someone else and in instances of child safeguarding as detailed below. Sharing of information outside our service is done in full collaboration with the student concerned unless in exceptional circumstances.
We maintain electronic case notes on all clients. These are kept on a confidential, secure system. The notes are there to help the counsellor reflect on your situation and offer the best possible help. Your details are also kept anonymously on a database for statistical purposes only.
Disclosures of Current or Historical Child Abuse in Counselling
What happens when an adult client tells a counsellor that they have been sexually or persistently physically abused or experienced wilful neglect or emotional abuse in childhood?
As well as considering all aspects of the adult client’s safety, wellbeing and recovery, the therapist will have to take into account the child welfare and protection concerns that may arise in relation to the alleged perpetrator (Children First Act 2015). There are circumstances in which this may impinge on client confidentiality.
Under the Children First Act 2015 a therapist is required to report any knowledge, belief or reasonable suspicion that a child has been harmed, is being harmed, or is at risk of being harmed. If a client discloses the identity of an alleged perpetrator who is alive, no longer living in Ireland, or deceased and the therapist is aware that the alleged perpetrator has posed or continues to pose a risk to the safety of children or young people the therapist will report their concerns to Tusla using the standard reporting form. The client will subsequently be contacted by Tusla's child protection social worker who will be tasked with investigating the reported concern. The therapist will offer advice and support to the client throughout the process.
In some circumstances the therapist will need to consult with a Tusla Social worker in the first instance to ascertain if an allegation meets the threshold for reporting and the potential next steps.
OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Student Counselling is a short-term service. The standard offering is one set of counselling sessions per semester, except in exceptional circumstances.
If you do not attend an appointment without contacting the service to cancel 24 hours before the appointment, we will assume that you will not be returning for counselling and your time slot will be offered to another student on our waiting list.
The Student Counselling Service will liaise with the Student Health Unit and the Disability Service, where necessary, in the interest of the student.
Counselling is a confidential service but there are some limits to confidentiality where there is risk to life or children protection concerns. Please read information on confidentiality above.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the service you receive in Student Counselling, please let us know by discussing it with your counsellor or by asking to speak with or emailing James McCormack, Head of Counselling firstname.lastname@example.org
In very exceptional circumstances, the Service may need to contact your next of kin in order ensure the safety of yourself or others.
Information for Staff
Students in Distress Information Booklet
From time-to-time members of staff may encounter students who are very distressed. Quite often the distressed student may be under performing academically. Some students may try to mask their distress by attributing academic under performance to some other cause.
Irrespective of whether the case is minor or severe, dealing with the distressed student requires some simple skills, and a knowledge of where you can refer the student for specific help.
The health and welfare of students is everyone's concern. It is important to be prepared for emergencies, but you should be aware that they occur very rarely and expert help is available.
Please view the Students in Distress Information Booklet (Appendix 1) for more information.
Making an Appointment
We offer both face to face (in person) appointments to students as well as online appointments.
Contacting the service can be difficult for some students in distress, therefore we invite staff, with the consent of the student, to email the counsellors introducing the student to the service (cc’ing the student in the email). All communication thereafter is between the student and counsellor and remains confidential.
if you wish to access this service you must use you University of Galway email address.
Support Contact Details
Shannon College Services
• Associate Head of Student Welfare: Orla Cullinane email@example.com
• Disability Officer: Cory Newbigging firstname.lastname@example.org
• College Counsellor: Karen Gillespie email@example.com
• College Counsellor: Genny Harrington firstname.lastname@example.org
• College Counselling Service: email@example.com
• College Doctor: Dr. Peter Flynn, 9 Killian Park, Shannon, Co Clare: 061 364 274
*(Students should email Imelda O’Connell firstname.lastname@example.org before 9am to make app).
• Accident & Emergency Limerick: 061 301 111
• Mid-Western Regional Hospital Ennis, Gort Road, Ennis, Clare, V95 HN29: 065 682 4464
Ennis Injury Unit: Mid-Western Regional Hospital Ennis, Ennis, Clare, V95 HN29: 065 6863121 *(Quicker for small emergencies than A&E Limerick)
• Acute Psychiatric Unit 5B, University Hospital Limerick, Dooradoyle, Limerick: 061 482 354
• SHANNONDOC out of hours 24 hr medical service: 0818 123 500 or 00353 61 459 500
• Social Worker: Clare Dedicated Contact Point, Child and Family Agency, Tusla Building, St. Joseph’s Campus, Mulgrave Street, Limerick: 061 588 688
• National 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline: 1800 77 8888
• The Samaritans: 116123
• Pieta House: 1800 247247
• Together All: Download App or https://togetherall.com/en-ie/
• Speak Out: Anonymous Report and Support - https://unigalway.speakout.ie/
• Text ‘Galway’ to 50808 to access 24/7 crisis text support