Counselling is a free service available to all matriculated students.

We offer short-term counselling, normally up to four sessions, to help you with any personal problems which might be affecting your academic work or your general health and wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why come for counselling?
Counselling offers you the opportunity to talk in private about anything that’s troubling you. It is a completely confidential process where the counsellor will listen carefully to what you have to say and will not judge you or tell you what to do. The aim is to help you understand things more clearly so that you can see for yourself how to deal with things more effectively.

When is counselling a good idea?
The Counselling Service aims to be welcoming and friendly and it is a good idea to make contact if you feel you’re not coping very well. Counselling is often seen as a last resort and can even be perceived as a sign of failure, but it isn’t. Knowing how to look after yourself is an important life skill, part of which is knowing when you need some extra support or help accessing available resources.

You can also use counselling for personal development, to increase awareness of who you are and how you relate to others, to build self-esteem, and to help resolve issues which might be preventing you from fulfilling your potential.

What do people talk about?
In counselling you are free to talk about yourself and any issues which are affecting your wellbeing. Some common topics raised by students are:

  • Relationships
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss
  • Low self-esteem
  • Eating problems
  • Sexual identity
  • Abuse
  • Self harm
  • Academic concerns

You can also get self-help information by looking in the self help section of this page.

Who are the counsellors?
The Student Counsellor is Dr Rhiannon King, an experienced Counselling Psychologist accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). She is also a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Sometimes Trainee Counsellors have placements with the Counselling Service. All counsellors work within the Ethical Framework of BACP.

Confidentiality

Counselling is part of Student Services and works within the Student Services Confidentiality policy.

Counsellors in the service also work within the Ethical Framework for Good Practice of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Counsellors have a professional duty to discuss casework with external supervisors. Your identity is not revealed in this process.

Counsellors will not discuss you with anyone outside the Student Services team except in the following circumstances:

  • When you have given your consent
  • When we believe there is substantial risk of harm to you or another person
  • When there is a requirement in law to disclose information

Record Keeping
The service works according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act.

Counselling records are stored securely in the counsellor’s room. No-one else has access to them.

A counselling record comprises the factual data you give on the registration form and the dates on which you attended. A code letter will indicate your main reason for attending.

Records will be stored for the duration of your time at University.

 

Policy revised September 2016.

Information for Staff

Staff Consultation
The Student Counsellor is available for confidential consultation if you are concerned about a student in difficulty or distress.

Distressed Students
If you become aware of a student in difficulty or if a student asks you for extra support, the following guidelines give advice on how to respond within the boundaries of your role and how to refer appropriately to specialist services.

Helping Distressed students - a guide for University Staff


Referrals
If you wish to refer a student to the Counselling Service, the Welcome page gives the information you and the student will need about making an appointment. It is best for students to make appointments on their own behalf. Staff in the Counselling Service will not confirm a student is attending the service, or enter into discussion with you about the student, without getting the student’s permission first. If you want to know that the student has followed your advice, the best approach is to ask the student.

Staff counselling
All employees of QMU have access to an independent, free and confidential, Employee Assistance Programme. To ring the helpline for advice and information please call 0800 072 7 072.  If you should have any queries regarding this service then please do not hesitate to contact Human Resources.

Self Help

There are many websites which offer support and guidance. Those listed below are some of the best sources of help and advice for students:

Podcasts

Stress Control Classes

Free classes delivered by NHS Lothian in various locations throughout the city. www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/stresscontrol

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation which is becoming increasingly popular as a stress management tool. Growing research evidence shows that it can be beneficial in reducing stress, increasing concentration and improving relationships. Many universities now offer mindfulness courses to students.

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the here and now, using simple breathing and meditation techniques. Anyone can learn it. Through practising mindfulness you can become more aware of thoughts and feelings and can learn to manage them better, instead of feeling overwhelmed by them.

Mindfulness Resources:

  • A site aimed specifically at students, with some easy introductory mindfulness exercises see http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk.
  • A website of a book, ‘Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World’, written by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, which is an eight-week mindfulness course developed at Oxford University - http://franticworld.com. The book has an accompanying CD. The website has lots of information about mindfulness and some free meditations.

Mindfulness and Contemplation at QMU

For information on courses and drop-in lunchtime sessions see our Mindfulness section.

Or email: CapAdmin@qmu.ac.uk

If you are feeling suicidal please seek help. Call one of the following numbers:

  • Samaritans: 0131 221 9999 or 08457 90 90 90
  • Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87 (6pm - 2am every day)
  • NHS 24: 08454 24 24 24
  • Or email jo@samaritans.org

Mental Health Mentor Support

Specialist Study Support for Students with Long Term Mental Ill-health

What is Mentoring Support?

Mentoring is a specialist one-to-one support for students who have long term mental ill-health. Mentors focus on helping students to study and meet their potential. it is particularly useful for students who are finding it difficult to meet the demands of their course because of their mental ill-health

Who is it for?

Any undergraduate or postgraduate student of the University, whose studies are or could be affected by long-term mental ill-health.

What help is available?

  • Support with motivation and morale
  • Living and coping with mental health issues
  • Liaison with medical services where appropriate
  • Managing academic workload
  • Advice on study skills strategies tailored to individual needs
  • Time management organisation and planning for study
  • Balancing academic work with other day-to-day activities

Who are Mentors?

Mentors are typically academically well qualified with teaching and mental health related training and qualifications.

How does it work?

  • Contact the Disability Adviser or Student Counsellor to arrange an appointment to talk about mentoring.
  • If it is felt that the service will be helpful to you, you will meet with the Disability Adviser to arrange a needs assessment and make an application for Disabled Student's Allowance. You will need to supply medical evidence of your mental ill-health.
  • Meetings with your Mentor will start as soon as your funding becomes available. Please be aware that this process can take some time.
  • Funding for students who do not qualify for DSA can be negotiated with the Disability Adviser.

Confidentiality

The Mentors will reach a clear agreement with you about confidentiality at your first meeting.

Contacts

Disability Advise Service
Email: disability@qmu.ac.uk

Dr Rhiannon King , Student Counsellor
Email: counselling@qmu.ac.uk

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Bibliotherapy

Bibliotherapy is the term used to describe the prescribed reading of self help books to deal with a range of psychological and personal problems.

Recent research in the UK has shown it to be an effective way to improve your mental health. It is now established in Universities and local libraries throughout the country.

The Student Counselling Service and the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) have joined together to develop this scheme to support students who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, irritability etc.

How will it help you?
There is good evidence that reading self help books can help specifically with most emotional difficulties. The beneficial effects can be experienced as soon as you start reading the book. You will also find that you are not the only person with this difficulty.

Self help books are about helping you to gain a new perspective and are only effective when you are motivated to reflect on your own behaviour and make these changes. Most of the books are straightforward to read, containing useful exercises and questionnaires for you to follow. They have been specially selected for their accessible and helpful approaches. This could be seen as a
starting point as different approaches will suit
different people.

How the scheme will work
These suggested books will be stocked in the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) and can be borrowed by any matriculated student or member of staff. Books can be borrowed for 6 weeks.

Further help
Reading a book may be a first step in identifying a problem and can sometimes lead to strong emotions being experienced. You may feel at this point that it would be helpful to talk to someone about this and you could consult the Student Counselling Service, email counselling@qmu.ac.uk, or your GP.

Bibliotherapy Book List

Abuse

  • Breaking free: Help for survivors of child sexual abuse - Crolyn Ainscough and Kay Toon. (Sheldon Press)
  • Overcoming Childhood Trauma - Helen Kennerley (Constable & Robinson).

Alcohol

  • Alcohol Awareness Manual - Gaylin Tudhope (Haynes)

Anger

  • Overcoming Anger and Irritability - Will Davies (Robinson)
  • Managing Anger - Gael Lindenfield (Harper Collins).

Anxiety and Stress

  • Overcoming Anxiety - Helen Kennerley (Constable & Robinson)
  • Mind over Mood - Greenberger & Padesky ( Guildford Press)
  • Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness - Gillian Butler (Constable & Robinson)

Assertiveness

  • Assert Yourself - Gael Lindenfield (Harper Collins)
  • A Woman in Your Own Right - Anne Dickson (Quartet books)

Bereavement

  • How To Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies - Therese Rando (Bantam)
  • A Special Scar: Bereavement by Suicide - Alison Wertheimer (Routledge)

Confidence Building

  • Helping Adolescents and Adults to Build Self Esteem - Deborah Plummer (Jessica Kingsle

Depression

  • Overcoming Depression - Paul Gilbert (Constable & Robinson)
  • Dealing with Depression - Dr Caroling Shreeve (Piatkus)
  • I Had a Black Dog - Matthew Johnstone (Robinson)
  • The Way Out of Your Prison - Dorothy Rowe (Brunner Routledge)

Eating Disorders

  • Getting Better Bit(e) By Bit(e) - U Schmidt, J Treasure (Psychology Press)
  • Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa - Freeman & Cooper (Constable & Robinson)
  • Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating - Peter Cooper

Leaving Home

  • The Leaving Home Survival Guide - Nicola Morgan (Walker Books Ltd)

Living in a Different Culture

  • Figuring Foreigners Out: A Practical Guide - Craig Storti (Intercultural Press)

Obsessions and Compulsions

  • Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - David Veale & Robert Wilson (Constable & Robinson)

Panic Attacks

  • Panic Attacks - Christine Ingham (Harper Collins)

Perfectionism

  • Never Good Enough - Monica Ramirez Basco (Simon & Schuster)
  • When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough - Martin M Anthony & Richard P Swinson (New Harbinger Publications)

Procrastination

  • Isn’t It About Time? How to Stop Putting Things Off - Andrea Perry (Worth Publishing)
  • Beating The Comfort Trap - Windy Dryden & Jack Gordon (Sheldon Press)

Relating

  • Relating Skills: A Practical Guide to Effective Personal Relationships - Richard Nelson-Jones ( Cassell)

Self Esteem

  • Self Esteem - Gael Lindenfield (Harper Collins)
  • Overcoming Low Self Esteem - Melanie Fennell (Constable & Robinson)
  • Self Esteem - Mackay & Fanning (New Harbinger Publications)

Self Harm

  • Healing the Hurt Within - Jan Sutton (How to Books)
  • Self-help for self-injury: a guide for women struggling with self-injury - (Bristol Crisis Service for Women)

Sleep Problems

  • Overcoming Insomnia and Sleep Problems - Colin Espie (Constable & Robinson)

Stress

  • The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook - Davis, Eshelman, Mackay New Harbinger Publications)
  • Teach Yourself Managing Stress - Looker & Gregson (Hodder Arnold)

General

  • Manage Your Mind - Gillian Butler & Tony Hope ( Oxford University Press)

Queen Margaret University gratefully acknowledges help from Edinburgh University Student Counselling Service in compiling this list.

Massage Therapy

A massage therapy service is available on campus in the QMU Sports Centre. Massage has many proven benefits which can help to reduce the mental and physical effects of stress. Consider massage therapy if you are particularly stressed at exam times, or any time you feel you need help to relax.

Benefits of massage

Regular massage can:

  • Help the whole body to relax
  • Reduce muscle stiffness and tension
  • Relieve tension-related headaches
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve concentration
  • Improve posture
  • Improve circulation
  • Help the body break down and eliminate toxins
  • Boost the immune system

Therapies offered:

  • Eastern body massage
  • Sports massage
  • Indian head massage
  • Seated neck, back and shoulder massage
  • Leg and feet massage
  • Manual lymphatic drainage

Therapies start from only £10

Contact Laura Burns: lburns@qmu.ac.uk for more information and to make an appointment

Appointments

To make an appointment email counselling@qmu.ac.uk. You will be sent a Pre-Counselling Questionnaire which you should complete, save, and return. You will then be emailed an appointment time.

Appointments are available 9.00 am - 3.30 pm throughout the year.

Cancellation policy

If you need to cancel an appointment please give at least 24 hours notice so that the time may be offered to another student. If you cancel you may have to wait a while for another appointment.

If you habitually don’t keep appointments you may not be able to go on using the service.

Counselling Service

Appointments are available throughout the year: 9.30 a.m. – 3.30 pm.  

To request a counselling appointment please access the online referral form.

Once you have completed and submitted the referral form you will be emailed an appointment.

Show Contacts

Counselling Service

Counselling Service Dr Rhiannon King
0131 474 0000

Request a counselling appointment