About our service
Useful information for students thinking of making an appointment with Deakin's Counselling service - particularly those who have never attended a counselling session before and are unsure what to expect.
To make an appointment, you can either call Student Life on your campus, or drop into the Student Life office on campus in person. Contact details are found on our home page. The reception staff will arrange an appointment with a Counsellor for you.
If you are unable to meet with a Counsellor on campus, a phone appointment can be arranged for you.
Due to the high demand for counselling by students, appointments may be made up to one week in advance, in peak period there could be a two week wait for an appointment.
Counselling services are free to students enrolled in a Deakin University Award course with a valid student number.
The service provides brief, solution focused counselling, which usually means you see a counsellor for a maximum of 6 sessions. A lot of students find that one or two sessions are sufficient for their needs.
Where presenting issues may require long term therapy or support the counsellor will discuss with you a referral to community based services.
During your first counselling appointment, you talk to the counsellor about what is concerning you. 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.
Each appointments last about 50 minutes. 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 may arrange for a number of sessions to address their concerns.
Not all issues that students have are appropriate for a university counselling service, so the counsellor will help you find an external counsellor or other health professional in your area when required.
Remember, 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.
Counselling can help you:
- develop a better understanding of your concerns so that you can deal with them better
- by offering different perspectives and help you think of creative solutions to problems
- 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.
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.
If you are looking at making changes, you need to start with the basics of what, why and how. The resources on the Health and Wellbeing website can assist, as can a visit to a counsellor. Before you decide which direction you want to go in, ask yourself the following questions. These questions may help you organise your thoughts before meeting with a counsellor.
- What are you thinking, feeling, or doing that tells you there is a problem?
- How are your thoughts, feelings and behaviours affecting your study?
- What have you already done to try and fix the problem?
- Will you need to contact your lecturers to seek extensions or Special Consideration?
- Who else might you seek help from?
- What is going well in your life?
- What are you doing to care for yourself at the moment?
- What do you hope to achieve by talking to a counsellor?
Deakin's 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.
Counsellors follow strict guidelines for professional behaviour and confidentiality. Generally, counsellors will not discuss information about you with other university staff outside the Counselling service, such as faculty staff or general staff, or with others outside the university such as medical professionals or members of your family without your permission. There are important exceptions when confidentiality cannot be maintained:
- when there are serious concerns about your safety or the safety of others
- when counsellors seek legal advice from Deakin's solicitors (who are also bound by obligations of confidentiality)
- when Deakin or the Counsellor has a legal obligation to disclose information
All records are kept in a secure manner and only used by the Counselling service in undertaking normal duties.
Access to your personal record can be obtained through the University Freedom of Information process. You are encouraged to speak with your counsellor before making your application.
The University manages personal information and health information in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic.) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic.)