This article explains what counselling is and how it works.

The Student Wellbeing Service offers confidential help with a wide range of personal and emotional concerns and is available to every student at the University, free of charge. All kinds of students find their way to us from all over the University and for all sorts of reasons.

The service has three strands: wellbeing advice, counselling, and mental health advice. They are all linked together so when you apply you only have to approach us once – we will sort out which one is most likely to meet your needs.


Counselling is a collaborative process which requires commitment, motivation and active involvement. The Student Wellbeing Service has a number of experienced counsellors who help students with a whole range of problems. Counselling:

  • often happens face-to-face but can also work well using email (see below) e-counselling)
  • consists of a private, purposeful conversation with someone who can listen to you carefully, think with you about your concerns, help you gain clarity and find your own way forward
  • is not so much about giving practical support and advice but more about giving some shared and confidential time and space to think through tricky issues that have been bothering you and that you want to sort out
  • is a collaborative process, with you at the heart of it; the counsellor is there to help you understand better what is happening and get into a position where you can make the changes you want
  • respects your values and your life choices
  • may be a single session for some, while others will want to meet more regularly for a little while
  • is time-limited, so we suggest that you agree with the counsellor on a focus for your counselling in order to achieve realistic goals


Email counselling follows the same fundamental principles as face-to-face counselling but uses a different medium. Instead of a weekly face-to-face appointment in the counsellor's room, a weekly email is exchanged between counsellor and client.

Some students may find it difficult to attend face-to-face counselling for a variety of reasons:

  • being on placement or away from the University for other reasons
  • being a distance learner
  • juggling family and/or work/study commitments
  • hectic or irregular timetables
  • having a disability or illness that prevents you from attending in person
  • finding face-to-face meetings stressful or embarrassing

When you register for our service there is an opportunity to indicate if you are interested in online support and your reasons for this.

Email counselling may not be suitable for all students, and may not always be available, but we will take your preference into account when considering what support we can offer.

Making an appointment

Please read this article on how to access support from the Student Wellbeing Service and complete the online registration form. The information is entered on a secure, separate server and is confidential to the Student Wellbeing Service.

University of Portsmouth Student Wellbeing Service Contact Details:

Phone: +44 (0)23 9284 3466


Location: The Bateson Centre, The Mary Rose St, Portsmouth, PO1 2BL

Facebook: UoP Student Wellbeing Service

Twitter: @UoPWellbeing