Considering Counselling?

Please note that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, our service is working remotely. Please keep an eye on our Service Delivery page  for the most up to date information on how we are currently providing support to students.

The UCD Student Counselling Service is a confidential service available to all registered students, free of charge. The aim of the service is to provide easily accessible professional psychological support to assist students to deal with mental health challenges that affect their progress through university life.  


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Counselling provides an invitation to speak privately with a professional about problems that are worrying or upsetting. Some of the typical reasons for students seeking support from the University Counselling Service include difficulties in day-to-day coping, relationship difficulties, issues around sexuality, academic concerns, family difficulties, social anxieties, mood changes, stress or past or present traumatic events.   Talking to people who are trained in a special way to listen to problems can deepen a person’s understanding of what is happening and can help develop alternative ways of dealing with the situation.  It is often helpful to attend counselling when ways of coping with a difficulty have been tried and are not working so that new ways of understanding and managing the problem can be explored.  


We invite you to read this UCD Student Counselling Information Leaflet to understand our usual service arrangements. We include the link to our registration form at the bottom of the information leaflet. Our registration form is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am - 12noon and Friday 2pm to 4pm. In order to access the form successfully you must be logged into your UCD student connect account on your web browser.

We regret that the waiting times have lengthened considerably and we currently have a waiting time of approximately 3 months for self-referrals. There has been a very high demand for counselling this term that has exceeded the resources and we are working to increase staffing and availability of counselling. We regularly monitor and review the registration list you will be contacted by a staff member by email as soon as any updates or appointment options become available. 

We know how difficult it can be to wait when you feel motivated to get help now so we want to provide you with comprehensive information about all the other opportunities for support that are provided while you are waiting to meet a counsellor: 


  1. Silver Cloud is an online, self-directed mental health programme based on Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Our Silver Cloud programmes are effective, supportive, flexible and user-friendly.


UCD Support Services

1. Student Advisers - The Student Advisers can assist students in finding pathways to deal with personal, social, financial  and emotional issues that may be affecting your studies and can advise of appropriate UCD policies, procedures and services.

2. Student Health Service - The Student Health Service provides medical, psychological and psychiatric care.

3. Access & Lifelong Learning - UCD Access & Lifelong Learning's primary function is to be the bridge to inclusion; offering connections, engagement and building relationships between communities that are distant from higher education and the University community through a wide range of services and facilities.

3. Students' Union Welfare Officer - an approachable, compassionate, and an understanding first point of contact for any student in need— whether you’re facing mental health, financial, physical or sexual health difficulties.

4. Chaplaincy - The UCD Chaplaincy Team offers student support if you are having a personal problem that you need to talk about and are facing challenging circumstances that you need help with.

5. Niteline - Nightline is an anonymous confidential listening service providing information and support for UCD students on a 1-2-1 basis over the phone. The service is facilitated by trained student volunteers, supervised by qualified counsellors. Lines open 9pm - 2.30am.


Other free services available

1.The HSE - On-line Stress Management Programme. 

This programme is run regularly, dates are advertised on

The Stress Control programme has helped over 10,000 participants deal with increased stress during these challenging times. It includes practical skills to help you manage stress.

2. 50808 -  50808 is an anonymous, free crisis text line and open 24/7.

3. Jigsaw - Get effective mental health support. Online and face-to-face options available. Support is made available to young people aged 12–25 years-old.

4.Pieta House  - Provide a professional one-to-one therapeutic service to people who are in suicidal distress, those who engage in self-harm, and those bereaved by suicide. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed

5. Samaritans - Whatever you're going through, you can call any time, from any phone for FREE or Talk to one of the listening volunteers using our new web chat service.

6. DRCC - The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre provides counselling and therapy for adult survivors of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and childhood sexual abuse. Six counselling sessions are offered free to crisis clients initially, and practical help is available to source appropriate support going forward.  Clients in crisis will always be prioritised, with appointments offered within a two-week period or sooner when possible


Emergency Appointments:

If, while you are waiting for a counselling appointment, you start to experience thoughts of suicide or thoughts of doing serious harm to yourself or someone else,  please see the following link for urgent help.

If you need immediate assistance, especially if you or somebody else is hurt or in danger, call the emergency services straight away. Emergency services can be contacted at any time by dialing 999 or 112 in the Republic of Ireland or 112 in Europe.

For important reasons to do with your safety, please note that our email address is not suitable for urgent communication about your well being as we cannot guarantee prompt response to e-mail messages and our email is not monitored outside business hours, during the weekends and over holidays.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about our service arrangements. 






One-to-one counselling and group counselling are the main forms of support provided.  We will work with you to address challenges, based on your individual needs, and typically students attend 5 sessions.  

The on-campus counselling service operates in line with the Universities’ response to the guidelines for preventing the spread of Covid 19.  Counselling via phone, or video call or in person can be facilitated where possible. Face to face counselling appointments on campus will be reviewed on an ongoing basis in the context of the level of restrictions the University is implementing at the time.  

The first conversation with the counsellor will be by phone and the counsellor will be able to explain how the counselling service is working in relation to the restrictions and answer any questions that you have.  You can discuss your attendance preferences with the counsellor who will also be able to advise you about what medium for counselling might best suit your needs. This can be reviewed in collaboration with your counsellor. The on-campus service operating hours are Monday to Friday 9-5.  

During busy periods, UCD counselling service works in partnership with off-campus counselling services situated close to UCD (Stillorgan, Churchtown, Donnybrook and Harold’s Cross), to try to ensure that counselling appointments are available when students need them.

These off-campus counselling services have experience of working with students. They may offer face to face, video and phone consultations and some may offer flexibility of appointment times e.g. evenings, and Saturdays. 

You should expect to receive an offer of either on campus or off campus counselling within 6 weeks of your registration.  You need to respond to the offer by email and if we do not hear from you, we will assume that you are not interested in counselling at this time and your registration will be closed.  



The consultation between a student and a counsellor is confidential and is not disclosed to anyone outside the Student Counselling Service except in circumstances where a student gives consent for the counsellor to disclose information to a third party. The exceptions to confidentiality are outlined in detail in the Counselling Registration Form.  The main exceptions to breaking confidentiality arise if the student is a danger to self or others, if a vulnerable person (e.g. a child) is at risk of harm, or in other limited circumstances required by law.

At the first appointment with a counsellor, you can clarify any questions that you have about confidentiality.


If you are living outside of Ireland, the support that we can provide you is currently limited for the following reasons:

  1. When working face to face the applicable law is determined by where the work takes place. When counselling is operating online it is possible for the counsellor and client to be in different legal systems between countries and subject to different laws which creates uncertainty about which legal system applies to protect the student and about what the professional requirements are to be legally compliant in the country. 
  2. Insurance policies for professional liability vary in whether they cover online or digital working with clients or restrict online work.
  3. Aside from the very important protection provided by insurance, distance counselling with students, via video and/or phone, who are living abroad presents clinical risk issues.  
  4. There is very limited guidance from the literature and professional bodies to determine appropriateness for distance therapy and the evidence about the quality of counselling via video/phone versus in -person counselling is limited at this time. 

Please note: The external agencies that provide counselling for UCD students will not undertake to offer teletherapy to students outside of Ireland. 

What we can offer:

  1. Advice to the UCD staff who you reached out to (Student Advisor, Student Union, Academic Staff, Dean of Students) about what supports might be helpful.
  2. Access to information and resources for understanding and managing your mental health on the student counselling website. 
  3. Silvercloud – Online CBT programmes
  4. Register with us to avail offer the Counselling Services when you return to Ireland.