Confidentiality and Limits to Confidentiality in University of Galway Student Counselling Service   

Any personal data which you provide to Student Counselling & Wellbeing will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, in accordance both with Irish and European Data Protection legislation and as per the Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education (PCHEI)’s Code of Ethics and Practice. It is necessary for us to collect and process your personal data and data related to your wellbeing and mental health for us to provide you with counselling, consultation and group interventions.

We store your information securely and retain counselling records for a period of seven years following termination of counselling in keeping with professional codes of practice.  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.  

Apart from necessary liaison with the Student Health Unit and the Disability Service, there are two circumstances in which University of Galway Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service may need to break confidentiality or one circumstance where we are obliged to break confidentiality. We may break confidentiality if you disclose a risk of harm to yourself or harm to others. If the service believes that you or someone else is in danger of serious harm then we may take steps to minimise this danger and will discuss these steps with you if possible. We are legally obliged to break confidentiality if you disclose current actual or potential child abuse (i.e., physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse) or neglect. Where a child is currently at risk, the service must report their concern to TUSLA (the Child and Family Agency). University of Galway Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service will clearly articulate what this means for you should this happen.


  • In certain circumstances, you may be contacted by a screening counsellor via email/phone once you have completed your registration forms.   
  • Student Counselling is a short-term service. The standard is one set of counselling sessions per semester, except in exceptional circumstances.   
  • You will receive a reminder of your appointments by email after each appointment and a text reminder 48 hours before your appointment.   
  • If you do not respond to an offer of an appointment within 24 hours, we will assume that you no longer want to avail of counselling at this time. 
  • If you do not attend an appointment without contacting the service to cancel 24 hours before the appointment, we will assume that you will not be returning for counselling and your time slot will be offered to another student on our waiting list.    
  • The Student Counselling Service will liaise with the Student Health Unit and the Disability Support Service, where necessary, in the interest of the student.      
  • If you are unhappy with any aspect of the service you receive in Student Counselling please let us know by discussing it with your counsellor or by asking to speak with or emailing James McCormack, Head of Counselling    

In very exceptional circumstances, the Service may need to contact your next of kin in order ensure the safety of yourself or others.