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An overview of Counselling and Psychotherapy

The aim of therapy is to support you to thrive and help you understand how you can make some positive changes.

Some facts about therapy

  • Talking with a psychological therapist offers a unique space that friends or family cannot provide.
  • The ‘severity’ of a problem is relative; if something feels difficult for you then therapy is valid whether a concern feels small or large.
  • People who engage in the therapeutic process often find it useful, although sometimes challenging. Talking with a trained professional can help.
  • Therapy can enable you to help make sense of events or experiences and explore options for change by providing a specific opportunity where you will be heard and respected.
  • Psychological therapists don’t normally give advice and therapy is not necessarily a cure-all, but it can be very useful.

Students use therapy for different reasons. Some examples include:

  • To help work out why they feel low or depressed so they can feel better
  • 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

Therapy can help you to focus on, and understand more clearly, issues that concern you. By respecting your values, choices and lifestyle, the psychological therapists can work together with you towards making choices or changes that are right for you.

A therapy appointment is a chance to look in depth at your concerns, think about the cause of your difficulty, consider the feelings and emotions you may be experiencing as a result, and explore different ways to improve your situation, by drawing on your inner strengths and resources.

The Counselling and Psychotherapy Services CAPS- FAQs

The aim of CAPS: The service provides an opportunity for all students at the University of Warwick to access professional psychological therapy so that they may better develop and fulfil their personal, academic and professional potential.

Who are the staff in CAPS? There is a team of Psychological Therapists working to provide a comprehensive therapy service within Wellbeing and Student Support for the University of Warwick.

Who goes to CAPS? People from all the different academic departments use our services.

Will it go on my student record that I am seeking help? No. It is a confidential service. No information will go on your academic student records and the Psychological Therapists will not communicate with your academic department.

How many sessions do CAPS offer? We offer brief psychological intervention. There is no set number of sessions but our experience indicates that most students require between three and five appointments, but this is not an absolute. Appointments are generally spaced at two or three week intervals to give you time to process and activate changes discussed. Your therapist will discuss your needs and devise a session plan with you that suits your needs. People generally over-estimate how many sessions they will need to make changes, in fact, through 2022-23 the feedback shows that 80% students felt the number of sessions they had was about right for them.

Once you have agreed a session plan with your therapist, you will not usually be able to reschedule any appointments which you cancel or do not attend without incurring longer wait times, but we always endeavour to be helpful with rescheduling where we have capacity.

The aim for all our interventions is to support students to develop the personal resources and skills necessary to navigate the challenges and opportunities of student life. The emphasis is on effecting changes so the therapy will be generally solution focussed rather than on-going, regular 'befriending'.

How do I access CAPS? Go to the portal at and submit an enquiry. You'll get details of the times you join a virtual queue for a brief online consultation with one of our Wellbeing Advisers, who will talk to you to work out your next steps, which may include arranging an appointment with a Psychological Therapist in CAPS. The portal also gives details of how to access email therapy. NB this brief consultation may not be with one of the therapists but will be with a qualified wellbeing professional.

What's the wait time to get a face to face appointment with a Psychological Therapist in CAPS? We endeavour to offer you an appointment within approximately 3 to 6 weeks after your consultation with a Wellbeing Advisor, but at busy times it may be a bit longer. We will do our best to meet your needs and when you have your initial brief consultation you will be advised of the next steps and the time frame to anticipate.

Where is CAPS based? We are in Senate House in the centre of campus on the ground floor. We offer face to face, video (via MS Teams) and email sessions. This will be discussed with you at the initial brief consultation session with the Wellbeing Advisor who will arrange your appointment (see above).

What sort of therapy is available in CAPS? There are various theoretical models that influence the way in which the Psychological Therapists may work with you. Some key models currently used include: person-centred, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural (CBT) and integrative using a range of tools and techniques including solution focused work; CFT, EFT, SFT, ACT, REBT, and others. You can discuss this with your therapist.

As well as talking therapies, we also offer a therapy intervention by email - for details and to register, go to Email Therapy Service. We also offer the opportunity for group therapy sessions - talk to your Psychological Therapist for more details and visit the website.

How long is each therapy session? Sessions are scheduled for 50 minutes (sometimes on-line sessions can be a bit shorter). It helps to get the most from your session by preparing what you want to discuss - and, a tip from a student who has used the service says 'don't leave the very important stuff to the end of the session!'

What's the difference between/benefits of on-line and in person therapy? Sometimes it may be clinically important to work in person, so the therapist can see and work together with the 'whole person' of you in the therapy room. Beyond that, it is individual choice: sometimes its based on practicalities (eg if you're off campus or have a packed schedule it can be easier to work on-line); some people feel more secure in a therapy room, some people feel more secure in a room of their own choice working on-line via MS Teams. We have the flexibility to offer both according to need. One modality is not necessarily better than the other, they are simply different for different people at different times. You might begin face to face and switch to on-line, or vice versa. Your therapist will guide you in this.

What changes can I expect to happen throughout my therapy? The process of therapy is not magic, but the effects can be very profound. The more you engage with the process, the more you'll get out of it. It is a dynamic process that requires you to participate. The therapist can't 'make you better' without you working at it yourself. That's why we suggest you carefully prepare for therapy and commit to prioritise attending each session fully.

What happens if I arrive late for my appointment? The session time will still finish at the scheduled time (if we run over for one person, it makes all appointments for everyone else that day late too!). However, if you're running late, message via the Wellbeing Portal and it may be possible that the therapist can still see you.

I’m an international student and culturally I have little/no experience of counselling. How could it benefit me? Many students from all backgrounds and a range of cultures engage with - and benefit from - counselling. Read the prepare for therapy information and decide if you want to engage. Feedback from a student said: 'It was nice to know that I had an outlet to express how I was feeling without judgement instead of having to bottle it up'.

What happens in the university vacations? Counselling & Psychotherapy Services are available throughout the whole year. We may be able to offer on-line appointments if that is appropriate when you are away from the university.

I’ve experienced a trauma that I don’t want to talk about. If I go for counselling, do I have to explain my trauma in detail? No, it is possible to work through trauma without discussing the event in detail. Discuss this with your therapist.

How is the CAPS linked in with other support? What you talk about with your therapist will remain confidential within the Wellbeing and Student Support team, unless there is a serious welfare concern.

Wellbeing and Student Support including CAPS works to the University of Warwick's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies and as such we believe that every individual in our University community should be treated with dignity and respect and be part of a working and learning environment that is free from barriers, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex (gender identity), sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership and pregnancy or maternity status.

99.65% would recommend our counselling services to others

99.30% were satisfied or very satisfied

From 2022-23 feedback


"Thank you so much, [the therapy] has improved my self-esteem, made me happier and made me more accepting of myself. [Therapy] was a very good decision for me, thank you for everything"

"I felt like I was able to really see a change in myself and my wellbeing since the start of the counselling sessions"

"I felt like therapy helped me develop self management skills and made me start to think more about myself and others"

"I am incredibly thankful for my time in therapy"

"...rather than a terrible and hopeless person, I can now see myself as someone who makes mistakes but has the possibility to improve. Also, it helps me build connections with my own feelings and value my own thoughts"

"Therapy helped me get over my self-hatred and understand my limits better. It also helped me deal with my trauma and grief. I can finally wake up happy. Thank you"

"I was struggling with grief and therapy really helped me feel better and process some tough emotions"

"Therapy has helped me process difficult situations and improved my ability to make decisions when previously I would avoid hard choices - [the therapist] has been extremely kind, positive and helpful"

"Given me a space where I won’t be judged to be who I am and be comfortable talking about myself without feeling like I am over talking or burdening someone"

"She helped me navigate through some of the most challenging times during my postgraduate studies. She supported me in acknowledging the difficult feelings that my past has brought up and helped me manage them in a healthy way"

"Scheduling was brilliant - definitely worked around my personal schedule very
well, and gaps between sessions were about 2/3 weeks which gave me time to
think over the advice from the previous session"

Quotes from the feedback questionnaires after therapy with CAPS