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Individuals who have never attended counselling before are often unsure of what to expect from attending counselling. The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the counselling process at Deakin University.
During your first counselling appointment, you talk to the counsellor about what is concerning you. The counsellor will listen carefully to what you say, and then check they understand your concern. They may ask some questions to help clarify what the issue is and what it means to you. They will use their training and experience to assist you to manage the issue you discuss. There is no 'magic' involved in counselling, so some students arrange for more than one appointment to help them manage their issues.
Counselling may be helpful in a number of ways. It can help you develop a better understanding of your concerns so that you can deal with them better. Counsellors can offer different perspectives and help you think of creative solutions to problems. Counselling can help you to develop new skills to manage personal and educational issues. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone not personally involved in your life can bring enormous relief. Counsellors are well placed to offer advice and information on university procedures and processes (e.g. Special Consideration), and can refer you to other professionals where necessary.
Our counsellors are experienced Social Workers and Psychologists registered with their professional bodies. They will listen to you and take your concerns seriously. They work closely together as a team to provide you with the best possible support and advice.
Counselling appointments last about 50 minutes. The Counselling Service provides brief, solution focused counselling, which usually means you see a counsellor for a maximum of 6 sessions. In instances where longer term counselling is required or requested, our counsellors can help you with a suitable referral. A lot of students find that one or two sessions are sufficient for their needs.
There is no 'right' or 'wrong' time to have counselling as you can get through many difficult times in your lives with the support of your family and friends. We do suggest you consider counselling if some area of your life is being significantly affected (study, work, relationships, health), or if you are feeling alone with your concern. We would particularly recommend counselling if you are feeling unsafe or are having thoughts of harming yourself or others.
By making an appointment, you are already assuming responsibility for dealing with the impact the problem is having on you, and this is a good start. Your main responsibility during the appointment is to be as open and honest with the counsellor as you can about your concerns. Counsellors rarely tell you 'what to do'; your responsibility is to try something new, or take a different approach that may have been raised during the counselling appointment. If you are running late or need to cancel an appointment, please call as soon as you can and let the service know.
Deciding to see a counsellor can be the most difficult step, but in doing so, you have already set the 'wheels of change' in motion. All change in your life brings mixed emotions, so do changes through counselling. Putting what you think and feel into words for another to hear can be difficult, and you may experience frustration and anxiety as you try out new ways of doing things. With effort and the counsellor's support, the changes will often bring relief and a renewed energy for living and learning.
The counsellor will discuss with you at the end of your first appointment what you would like to happen next. Some students have a single session, while others many arrange for a number of sessions to address a specific concern. Not all issues that students have are appropriate for a university counselling service, so the counsellor will help you find a counsellor or other health professional in your area when required.
Making an appointment with a counsellor - at Deakin University