Counselling through the UC Health Centre is a free and confidential service. No information is passed on to the University without your express permission.
Make an appointment
Our highly trained counsellors have varied backgrounds and a wide range of experience. Counsellors can deal with all sorts of problems that you may have, e.g. loneliness, grief, anxiety, depression, stress, homesickness, relationship problems and gender worries. Most counselling is short to medium term. No problem is too big or too small for you to bring to counselling. Our counsellors may, with your consent, share your care with the medical staff or may refer you to a psychiatric service if necessary. Various models are used in our counselling services - Solution Focussed, Person Centred, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt, Family Therapy, Narrative, and Cross-Cultural counselling.
All counsellor appointments are 50 minutes long. As they are in high demand you may have to wait a few weeks to be seen, though we also employ a special triage counsellor who will ring you if you are on the waitlist to check on you and your wellbeing. The waitlist is available for clients that have a booked future appointment and are able to attend short notice to fill a late notice cancellation or a No Show (regretfully many clients book an appointment but don't attend or cancel).
A doctor and/or counsellor is on duty at all times and is available to provide medical treatment and undertake emergency referrals.
Emergency counselling support
If, during the office hours of 8.30am and 5pm, you feel that:
- You need to talk to someone urgently and cannot wait for your scheduled appointment time; or
- You are in an emergency situation
You should call the reception desk on extension 9444 (369 44 44), or walk into Student Health reception and make it clear that it is an urgent situation. At all times we have a counsellor on-call to deal with this situation.
During non-office hours there is an call-forwarding system. If you are having a crisis or feel that you need to talk to someone during a time when the clinic is closed, please call 03 369 4444 to be transferred to a registered nurse answering service. You will be triaged by a registered nurse who will give advice or refer you to an appropriate service (s).
Alternatively, you can free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You’ll get to talk to (or text with) a trained counsellor. This service is completely free and is offered by the National Telehealth Service.
Counselling is free to any student enrolled at UC (unless a 3rd party is paying, i.e. Work & Income or Insurance Company). This service is not available to UC staff, though funded sessions are provided through EAP. Please discuss with your manager or with HR for further details. A fee applies if you fail to cancel an appointment you cannot attend.
Counselling notes are not sent to your next GP unless you request this, and information is only shared with essential health providers in situations of extreme crisis.
All Canterbury University students who have paid the Student Services levy are eligible for counselling services at UC Health Centre. Our fees range from $0 - $60 with the majority of our students paying $0. Counselling charges only apply where a third party is paying (i.e. WINZ or an insurance company).
A late cancellation fee of $10 applies for all appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.
A Did Not Attend fee of $20 applies for all appointments not attended or cancelled.
What to expect from counselling
It’s natural to feel a little apprehensive or nervous about counselling, but this usually fades as your counsellor helps you discuss your concerns. Typically, you will meet with your counsellor for a 50 minute session each week. Your appointment will generally begin ’on the hour’, between 9 .00am and 5.00pm, and end at 10 minutes before the next hour. Early on, you will work with the counsellor to set goals and approximate the number of sessions. There is likely to be some balance between talking about your present-day experiences and adjustments, and discussing the roots of your concerns in your family or experiences growing up. The more you share your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your problems in counselling, the more you are likely to benefit.
Concerns about friends or family are good reasons to speak to a counsellor.
Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES)
Phone: 0800 920 092 – Option 1
The Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) is also able to be accessed via the Emergency Department, Christchurch Hospital. For more information please see the hospital website.
Other support and information
- CALM: An online programme for building mental health resilience
- Ministry of Health
- The MoodGYM is an online self-help portal for mental health
- Youthline – Useful information and downloadable leaflets on a wide range of topics for young people.
- Getting help for Psychoactive Substances