Is counselling completely confidential?

Yes. As a general rule, counsellors will not divulge any information about you outside the service, without your permission. The only exception to this would be if your counsellor feels there is a serious risk either to yourself or to someone else.

We maintain electronic case notes on all clients. These are kept on a confidential, secure system.  The notes are there to help the counsellor reflect on your situation and offer the best possible help. Your details are also kept anonymously on a database for statistical purposes only. Notes are destroyed after 7 years. 

Disclosures of Historical or Current Child Abuse in Counselling

What happens when an adult client tells a counsellor  that they have been sexually or persistently physically abused or experienced wilful neglect in childhood and that they are aware of specific children with whom the alleged perpetrator is in contact and who may be currently at risk?

As well as considering all aspects of the adult client’s safety, wellbeing and recovery, the therapist will have to take into account the child welfare and protection concerns that may arise in relation to the alleged perpetrator (2011 Children First guidelines, 3.6.1).  There are circumstances in which this may impinge on client confidentiality.

There are 3 possible scenarios:

 1. The alleged perpetrator is still alive and the therapist is aware that there may be a risk to the safety of specific children or young people.  In this scenario the therapist will report their concerns to Tusla using the standard reporting form. The client will subsequently be contacted by Tusla's child protection social worker who will be tasked with investigating the reported concern.  The therapist will offer advice and support ot the client throughout the process. 

 2. The alleged perpetrator is still alive, but is currently living outside the state. In this case, the therapist is not required to take any further action around child protection. If the client is aware of specific children or young people who may be at risk of abuse in another jurisdiction, they are advised to discuss with their therapist the benefits of making contact with child protection authorities there.

3. The alleged perpetrator is no longer alive.  No further action is required by the therapist.  

Who is counselling for?

Counselling is available to all full and part-time students, undergraduate and post graduate of NUI, Galway. 

Will the fact that I attended the counselling service appear on my record?


How soon can I be seen?

This depends on the time of year. We aim to offer everyone an appointment for on-going counselling within 7-10 working days. However during busy times the wait can be longer. Because of the high demand for spaces, we would appreciate if you would let the administrator know, as soon as possible, if you wish to cancel.  

How many sessions will I have?

Student Counselling is a short term service.

 Will the counsellor contact other people on my behalf, eg academic, doctor?

The student may request the counsellor to liaise with, or write to, a third party (e.g. an academic adviser, course convenor, doctor). In the case of letters, the client will agree the contents and, wherever possible, have read the letter before it is sent. In the case of telephone calls, the purpose of the call and the nature and extent of the information disclosed will be agreed with the client prior to the call being made. Generally, as the first point of contact with the service, the secretary manages all incoming messages and passes these onto the counsellor concerned.

Clients will be informed of any contact with the service made by a third party as soon as it is possible for the counsellor to do so. The counsellor will only communicate with a third party about a client between appointments where the client has given explicit permission, subject to the previously noted exceptions.

Can a staff member arrange an appointment on behalf of a student?

If you believe the student needs to see a counsellor you should suggest to the student to make direct contact with the service.  

Is the service open throughout the academic holidays?

The service is open throughout the calendar year except between Christmas and New Year when the University as a whole closes.