Cambridge University Counselling Service

Find out more about what we do and some self-care top tips

At a very challenging time for everyone, especially those young people starting higher education in the Autumn, it is more important than ever that we look after our well-being and those around us. The University of Cambridge's Counselling Service guide us through the services they offer to students, and some self-care tips that will be relevant for you, and for those around you.

The counselling team continue to provide audio and video welfare support remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How we help our students...

The University Counselling Service offers a wide range of free confidential help and support to students, ranging from:

  •  Online and hard copy Self-Help Resources
  • A variety of Workshops every term covering topics such as time-management, procrastination, the supervisory relationship, anxiety, self-compassion
  • A variety of Group Courses covering topics including perfectionism, healthy self-esteem, managing low-mood, self-compassion, assertiveness and bereavement
  • Longer term groups spanning two terms; an Undergraduate and Postgraduate group, for students seeking an open-style support group through their time of study
  • Individual consultations with a counsellor, CBT therapist, Mental Health Advisor or Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisor

Students access our service for many different reasons, often a student may complete a referral form requesting one-to-one counselling or CBT therapy and then discover, on completion of their individual support, that they would like to attend a group.  The wide range of experience within the team means that we are always evolving our practice to meet student need, developing new workshops and groups as well as engaging with regular supervision, clinical discussion and Continuing Professional Development to ensure best practice.

With a student’s consent, we are able to liaise with Cambridge College staff to ensure student safety; to support applications for extensions or intermission; or with the Student Advice Service, the Disability Resource Centre and other welfare teams to support referral to other services. 

Many students have found the support they need from the service to enable them to complete their studies, try a new way of relating to others, move on from an eating disorder, develop healthy coping strategies or have found UCS support provided them with a therapeutic space to help them reflect in a different way on their concerns.

During times of national crisis (such as the Paris and London attacks) we have been able to prioritise those most affected, offering short notice, fast track drop-in appointments and referrals for ongoing support to those in need.  We have also been offering College-based counselling to Cambridge Colleges wanting to access in-house therapeutic support for their students.

Do you take care of yourself?
Can you support your students to take more care of themselves?

5 top self-care tips

for working or studying from home

and coping with lockdown...

  • Create Predictability - We are facing much unpredictability in terms of; the physical safety of ourselves and those we care about; economical uncertainty and also; the psychological impact of being disconnected and in lock down, so it is important that we plan a daily routine that works for us.
  • Make time to keep in touch with others - Consider activities it is possible to do together even if physically apart, for example, we could arrange to take our physical exercise at the same time as a friend or colleague and chat on the phone on the way or afterwards over shared online lunch.  In the absence of physical contact we need to find other ways to soothe and recreate the effects of touch, feeling held and hugged. Make time each day for this - whether it be wrapping yourself in a nice, soft blanket, taking a warm bath or even making a hot water bottle to provide a sense of warmth similar to physical contact.  It will be of comfort.
  • Keep active- whether by dancing to music, walking, jogging, stretching, it is important we stay active. This is helpful in managing stress, tension, keeping up our muscle strength and helps us to sleep better and to regulate our emotions.
  • Keep your emotions balanced - Actively plan ways to manage heightened emotions and your need for personal space.  Yoga, tai chi, chi gong, running, going for a walk - all very helpful for helping us to stabilise our emotions and incorporate breathing and stretching.  Discuss how you can respect personal boundaries and know when the other you live with need private time.
  • Try to learn something new - We need a sense of achievement and there has never been greater potential to access online tutorials or take time to develop a new skill or hobby.  Keeping our hearts and minds active and inspired is a great antidote to worry.

Our COVID-19 webpage has further resources that may be helpful during the current pandemic.

The University Counselling Service is part of a wide range of student support here at the University of Cambridge. Find out more about how we help our students to settle in to University and College life in this short video...

Mental Health Awareness Week

18-24 May 2020