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Referral from GP


Q&A Information for students referred by their GP to the University Counselling Service (UCS)


Q: Why might the GP refer me to counselling?  

A: Your GP will explain to you why they have suggested counselling. Approximately 20% of those using the University Counselling Service are referred by their GP. People use counselling for different reasons. Some examples include:

  • To help work out why they feel low or depressed


  • To understand why they behave in the ways they do so they can choose to change


  • To manage their anxiety/stress better


  • To work through a trauma or bereavement


  • To improve their self esteem and confidence


  • To look at how they relate with others


  • To explore how they could function better


Q: What can counselling do?  

A: Counselling can help you to focus on and understand more clearly issues that concern you. By respecting your values, choices and lifestyle, the counsellor can work together with you towards making choices or changes that are right for you. Counselling can enable you to help make sense of events or experiences and explore options for change. 94% of people who used the University Counselling Service would recommend it (from the Service Evaluation 2013-14).


 Q: Where is the University Counselling Service?  

A: The UCS is based in Westwood House on the Westwood Campus. The UCS reception is staffed by the Departmental Secretary, Trudy during working hours. They can be contacted by email to or by telephone on 02476 523761. For more details, see the UCS website homepage.


 Q: If the GP has referred me for counselling, what happens next?  

A: If you decide you are ready to take up the option of counselling, you need to register with the University Counselling Service. Go to the UCS website and click on the ‘registration form’ link. Once submitted, your form will be processed by the UCS and when an appointment is available you will be emailed with the date and time, and the name of your counsellor. It is important to confirm (within the specified time limit) whether or not you can attend your appointment.


 Q: Does a referral from my GP mean that I am an ‘urgent case’?  

A: The UCS does not give priority to individuals referred from any one source. All persons who register go on the same waiting list and are offered an appointment in due course. The UCS cannot offer a comprehensive service for ‘urgent cases’, which are more appropriately referred elsewhere.


 Q: How long does it take to get an appointment with a University Counsellor?  

A: To help you gauge a time frame, there is a counter on the counselling service website homepage which indicates the approximate number of days between registration and a first appointment being offered.


 Q: What can I do to prepare for counselling?  

A: Being clear about the reasons you are choosing to undertake counselling can help you prepare for a useful counselling experience. Before your initial appointment, you may want to consider

  • what you want to get out of counselling – what are your ‘objectives’? What do you want to achieve? Try to be realistic and specific – wanting ‘to be happy’ or ‘to never feel down again’ need to be defined.


  • how might you achieve your goals? Counselling is time set aside for you to work at getting what youneed to improve your mental wellbeing (within the parameters of ethical therapeutic practice)


  • what do you need to talk through/ think aloud about/ understand better?


To check you are prepared to engage in counselling, you may think about

  • your willingness to engage in the process of counselling. Sometimes it can be challenging, sometimes cathartic, sometimes revealing, sometimes demanding - sometimes its a combination of all of these and more. You may wish to consider whether you are ready to undertake this work.


  • your desire to change something to improve your mental well-being. What challenges your wish to change? What encourages your wish to change?


  • your willingness to talk about yourself, your feelings, your life-experiences?


To prepare to undertake counselling it may be useful to

  • develop your ‘emotional literacy’ ie practise thinking about what you’re feeling and finding a way to describe it


  • read ‘self help’ books to get you thinking about your issues (there is a selection in the Learning Grid, 1stfloor, on the shelf marked ‘Education’)


  • write things down either in a journal format or a thought-scatter diagram.


  • practice defining how muchyou feel something, for example, on a scale of 1 to 10 how happy/sad/anxious/depressed/etc do you feel at any given moment?


  • monitor your thoughts and behaviours closely to prepare yourself for undertaking counselling as this will develop your self awareness


None of the above are necessarily pre-requisites to starting your course of counselling, but they might help you to prepare and get the most out of your counselling.


 Q: What if I feel my need becomes urgent?  

A: Your GP will refer you to different resources if your need is immediate or urgent. If your need becomes urgent, you may need a different type of mental health intervention. Contact the University Mental Health Co-ordinator for information.

Coventry Single Point of Entry Team This service will take referrals for students experiencing mental health difficulties who are living on campus or in Coventry. Telephone: 0300 200 0011 24 hours.

Leamington Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team This service will take referrals for students experiencing mental health difficulties who live off campus in the Leamington Spa area. Telephone: 01926 450660 office hours 01926 406789 evenings and weekends.

Coventry Walk-in and Healthcare Centre This is a GP-led service available in the heart of Coventry open to registered and unregistered patients, with or without an appointment, between 8am and 10pm. Telephone: 0300 200 0060 For more information, including directions, visit:


 For more information  

University Counselling Service 

Royal College of Psychiatrists

NHS Online:

MIND and 

Student heath and

Samaritans 24/7 confidential listening service 08457 909090 They can also be emailed at: minicom 08457 90 91 92 or visit a branch to arrange a face-to-face meeting  

Saneline is open from 12noon to 2am daily tel 0845 767 8000 for support and information.

Mental Health Help and Advice Line – freephone 0800 616171 available 24 hours. This is a helpline which can advise how to support an individual until an appointment be made for assessment or treatment.  


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