Counselling (Dumfries Campus)

Talk to us...

We understand that university life is challenging and sometimes stressful for all students.

The Counselling Service at Dumfries Campus exists to support you in your emotional well-being and development throughout your University career.

Our main service is to offer the opportunity to talk in confidence to a trained professional about any aspect of your life you choose.  We can help you to make the most of yourself at University, developing not just academically, but as a whole person.

Feedback from students who have previously made use of the service has been very positive. Counselling supports academic success.  It can make a real difference in coping with personal difficulties.  And for some, it can be a simply life-transforming experience.

Leaflets on a variety of topics are available to download from the menu on the right. Please note that these leaflets are from the University of the West of Scotland, which provides Student Services facilities to University of Glasgow Dumfries Campus students.

If you have any questions please have a look at our Counselling FAQs or contact us.

Please feel very welcome to make an appointment with the counsellor, Kirsty Kelly, on 01387 345825 or

Appointments at Dumfries are usually available on Thursdays between 10:30am and 3pm.

If you are studying at our Glasgow Campus you can contact the Counselling Service on +44(0)141 330 4528 or

Counselling FAQs

I don't want to waste your time.

This isn't exactly a question, but it is a comment that counsellors often hear. While we appreciate you thinking about other people's needs, we would judge counselling to be a waste of time only if you consider that it isn't helping. Counselling is concerned with what you think and how you feel on the inside - so if something seems like a problem to you, that's all that matters. Nothing is either too big or too small. As long as you think counselling may be beneficial, you are welcome to make an appointment.

Will it go on my record if I come for counselling?

No. No one else in the university will be told if you come for counselling, unless you want them to know.

What happens when I come for counselling?

Our aim, simply, is to take you as the person that you are: to do what we can to assist you to talk about whatever you choose to talk about; to listen with care in the hope of understanding your experience; to communicate that understanding back to you; and, by working in partnership with you to explore your concerns, to support you in finding what you may judge to be the best way forward.

Every counsellor brings their own personality and style to their work. But at some point in the first meeting, your counsellor will normally check that you are clear about our policy on confidentiality and data protection. And you are very welcome to ask questions about anything you'd like to know about. Counsellors appreciate that it's normal to feel nervous meeting a counsellor for the first time. Our aim is to do whatever we can to help you feel at ease - maybe by offering a cup of tea or coffee. 

How many times will I need to come for counselling?

Initially, people can come for up to six sessions with one of our counsellors from the Counselling Team.  It is worth noting that not all students need to come as many as six times, some only come once or twice.

If you attend for six sessions, you and your counsellor will then have a discussion to review how your counselling has gone, and to consider how best to go forward.  Consideration will be given to the possibilities of continuing counselling for a further period, and of accessing other supportive resources.  In discussing this with you, your counsellor will have to take account of the needs of other students who may be waiting to access the Counselling Service. 

Suppose I find that I don't know what to say?

Many people coming for counselling are surprised by how easy they do find it to talk. But don't worry if you don't. The reason the counsellor is there is to support you.

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

The professional association to which most counsellors belong decided some years ago to change its name from the "British Association for Counselling" to "The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy". Maybe that indicates at least that the two have a lot in common.

It's worth pointing out, too, that there are very many different approaches to psychological helping, the most prominent being psychodynamic, cognitive (commonly practised by psychologists) and humanist. All current members of the counselling team are trained in the person-centred approach developed originally by Carl Rogers. He was a leading humanist therapist.

There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that no one approach works better than any other - but that all have considerable potential to be helpful.

The truth is that different people would give you different answers to that question. Some say there is no difference. Others see psychotherapy as a longer and deeper process, where the therapist is someone with more advanced training, sometimes including prior training as a psychiatrist. 

Can I talk to a counsellor if I'm worried about someone else?

Yes. Counsellors are happy to support you in working out how you can help someone else who may be a worry to you.

Will the counsellor give me advice or tell me what to do?

It is important to be clear that a Counsellor will not give you advice, tell you what to do, nor will they judge whether what you are doing is “right” or “wrong” as that is not what counselling is for.  We may make suggestions or offer you other sources of support but overall as Counsellors we believe that each individual is their own best expert about what is right for them as an individual.  All of the Counsellors work in a non-judgemental, warm and genuine manner to strive to make you feel as comfortable as possible and able to share any problems you may be having large or small.
When working with one of the Counsellors you may find that they offer you suggestions or tips about different way of thinking about your situation encourage you to consider things from a different perspective or provide you with alternative coping strategies.  We will at times refer you to other sources of information such as websites, leaflets, the Bibliotherapy list of books or perhaps another individual, member of staff or organisation who has expertise in a specialised area who may be of more specific help to you.

Will the counsellor contact my tutor?

As a student going through your academic career you may find at times that you struggle with some of your studies for a variety of reasons, have queries about your modules or other aspects of your studies.  Whilst the Counsellors are there to be able to offer you emotional support and counselling to assist you through these difficulties, any specific queries about your modules or studies need to be directed to academic members of staff such as your Lecturer, Adviser of Study or Programme Director for example.
The Counsellors are not able to contact your Tutor or Lecturer etc direct to advise them that you may struggling with aspects of your course or studies unless you have specifically requested this and given us consent to do this.  Overall, that is something that we would strongly encourage you to do as you already have an on-going relationship with that member of staff and we would only contact academic staff under exceptional circumstances.

You've answered some of my questions, but there are others that you haven't covered. What can I do to find out more?

Counselling does indeed raise a lot of interesting and sometimes difficult questions. If there is anything else that you would like to ask or to discuss, you are very welcome either to make an appointment or to contact Hilary Groom by email: To make an appointment call 01387 345825 or email