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What to expect

Counselling requires commitment from both you and the counsellor. Once you have confirmed attendance for your initial consultation, it is important that you read the following information to understand what you are committing to and to help ensure you're able to get the most out of your counselling experience. 

You can also download the Counselling Agreement, which details what the Counselling Service offers.

One-to-one sessions

Your appointments are likely to be scheduled with the same practitioner and the frequency of meetings agreed between you.

Birkbeck Counselling Service operates a short-term counselling model under which up to a maximum of six 50-minute sessions are offered. Some students may require fewer than this, and the number of sessions you have will be agreed between you and the practitioner.

If you demonstrate signs of being under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs at an appointment, the appointment will not proceed. 

Missed sessions

If you miss a session without informing your counsellor, they will contact you to confirm your next appointment date. You are required to confirm the appointment within 48 hours. If they don't hear from you, they will assume you don't wish to continue counselling and will close your case.

If you know you are going to be late for your session, please contact the Counselling Administrator. If you are late for your session, your counsellor will only be able to see you for the remainder of your session.

Sessions cancelled in advance for the following reasons will not be counted within the total agreed number:

  • exams
  • field-trips
  • hospital appointments
  • hospitalisation
  • cancellation by a practitioner.

All other cancelled and missed sessions for the following reasons will be counted within your total agreed number:

  • illness
  • lectures/tutorials
  • leave outside of Birkbeck holiday dates
  • conflicting appointments.

Failure to attend any two appointments without notice for any of the four reasons above may result in termination of further counselling sessions.

View our Cancelled and Unattended Appointment Policy.

Counselling evaluation

You will be asked to complete a Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (CORE) questionnaire at every counselling session. This evaluation is strictly confidential and assists staff in ensuring the effectiveness of your experience with the Counselling Service.

A couple of weeks after your counselling has finished we will send you a feedback questionnaire via email. We will ask about your experience of using the service and we would be grateful for your feedback. We are committed to improving the Counselling Service according to student feedback.


If you wish to make a complaint about any aspect of the Birkbeck Counselling Service you should discuss your complaint with your counsellor.  If after this you are still not satisfied, please submit your complaint in writing via email to the