Click below to see answers to some frequently asked questions.

Is it confidential?

Yes. As a general rule, counsellors will not divulge any information about you outside the service, without your permission. The only exception to this would be if your counsellor feels there is a serious risk either to yourself or to someone else.

We maintain electronic case notes on all clients. These are kept on a confidential, secure system.  The notes are there to help the counsellor reflect on your situation and offer the best possible help. Your details are also kept anonymously on a database for statistical purposes only.

Disclosures of Historical or Current Child Abuse in Counselling

What happens when an adult client tells a counsellor or a psychotherapist that they have been sexually abused in childhood and that they are aware of specific children with whom the perpetrator is in contact and who may be currently at risk?

As well as considering all aspects of the adult client’s safety, wellbeing and recovery, the therapist will have to take into account the child welfare and protection concerns that may arise in relation to the alleged perpetrator (2011 Children First guidelines, 3.6.1).  There are circumstances in which this may impinge on client confidentiality.

There are 3 possible scenarios:

 1. The alleged perpetrator is no longer alive and therefore poses no risk to other children. There are no child protection issues to consider here.

 2. The alleged perpetrator is still alive, but is currently living outside the state. In this case, the therapist is not required to take any further action around child protection. If the client is aware of specific children or young people who may be at risk of abuse in another jurisdiction, they are advised to discuss with their therapist the benefits of making contact with child protection authorities there.

3. The alleged perpetrator is still alive and the therapist is aware that there may be a risk to the safety of specific children or young people in contact with the alleged perpetrator. In this scenario, the therapist will report their concerns giving as much detail as is available to them to the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, using the standard reporting form. The concern will be investigated and the client will be contacted by Tusla’s child protection social workers.  The therapist will offer advice and support to the client throughout this process.

 

The therapist is also obliged to report cases of physical abuse and willful neglect of  specific children to Tusla, if they are made aware of such circumstances.

Is it free?

The service is free to all registered students of NUI, Galway.

Who is counselling for?

Counselling is available to all full and part-time students, undergraduate and post graduate of NUI, Galway. Each year approximately 1200 students have contact with the service. These include students who have come from school to college, mature students, international students and students with disabilities.

Will the fact that I attended the counselling service appear on my record?

No.

How soon can I be seen?

This depends on the time of year. We aim to offer everyone an appointment for on-going counselling within 7-10 working days. However during busy times the wait can be a  longer. Because of the high demand for spaces, we would appreciate if you would let the administrator know, as soon as possible, if you wish to cancel.  

How many sessions will I have?

Student Counselling is a short term service and the standard offering is up to 6 sessions unless there are exceptional circumstances.

What information is available to take away with me?

We provide self help fact sheets in our waiting area, as well as information on various organisations who can provide help. We also stock a range of free booklets on a variety of mental health topics such as Anxiety, Stress, Depression and others.

Will the counsellor contact other people on my behalf, eg academic, doctor?

The student may request the counsellor to liaise with, or write to, a third party (e.g. an academic adviser, course convenor, doctor). In the case of letters, the client will agree the contents and, wherever possible, have read the letter before it is sent. In the case of telephone calls, the purpose of the call and the nature and extent of the information disclosed will be agreed with the client prior to the call being made. Generally, as the first point of contact with the service, the secretary manages all incoming messages and passes these onto the counsellor concerned.

Clients will be informed of any contact with the service made by a third party as soon as it is possible for the counsellor to do so. The counsellor will only communicate with a third party about a client between appointments where the client has given explicit permission, subject to the previously noted exceptions.

Can a staff member arrange an appointment on behalf of a student?

If you feel the student needs to see a counsellor, it’s important to have their agreement in this. You can then make an appointment for them, provided they are with you at the time.

Can staff attend the service for counselling?

No. A counselling service is provided through Human Resources, with the Employee Assistance Programme. This service is fully confidential and no record of attendance is available to the University.

Can I give feedback on the service I have received?

Yes. We encourage students who attend to evaluate their experience and let is know what aspects of the service they found helpful and what could be improved. This is in the form of an anonymous web questionnaire which is conducted annually. Students who attend the service will be notified of this via e-mail.

Is the service open throughout the academic holidays?

The service is open throughout the calendar year except between Christmas and New Year when the University as a whole closes. Between semesters availability is subject to staff holidays.