Student Counselling Service

Student Counselling Service

Free counselling support is available on campus for all currently enrolled UNSW Canberra students (for both civilian students and ADFA trainee officers). A range of services are offered to assist students to make the most of their university experiences, such as:

  • Individual counselling (50-minute sessions);
  • Specific programs, workshops, and seminars for skills development; and
  • Self-help resources so that students can benefit from information that promotes well-being and adjustment.

The UNSW Canberra Counselling Services offer support regarding student psychological health throughout the University experience, reinforcing coping skills and enhancing resilience. See below various common presentations, although not exhaustive, which may prompt a student to seek the counselling service:

  • Academic or training pressures;
  • Time management, including balance between study, training, employment, and family life;
  • Confidence issues;
  • Motivation or procrastination problems;
  • Adjustment to living in a new location, a new lifestyle, as well as cultural transitions;
  • Stresses relating to fieldwork, study, or training;
  • Perfectionism;
  • Decision making and important life choices;
  • Emotional challenges, such as apprehension, sadness, and loneliness
  • Health concerns for self or a family member;
  • Concerns relating to supervision, colleagues, or professional personnel;
  • Relationship and/or family issues; and
  • Apprehensive future thinking.

Attending individual counselling provides an opportunity to talk with a professional who has qualifications, professional registration, and has undergone supervised training. All counsellors who work at UNSW Canberra are registered psychologists, with expertise and experience in counselling. Student counsellors can listen closely to your needs, allow for exploration, support and provide new perspectives, provide knowledge, offer strategies, and assist you to resolve or manage your situation. In other words, counselling is designed to provide time, space, and encouragement to reflect, clarify, and discover at depth, the triggers, behaviours, thoughts, and understandings that you identify within your personal, cultural, career, and academic contexts that add to your concerns and/or distress or impact on your mood and/or relationships. The counsellor will work with you, respecting your values, choices, lifestyle, and assist you to work towards changes that fit you and your circumstances.

Face-to-face appointments for students

Standard appointments are 50 minutes in duration. To book a face-to-face appointment, please click on the 'Make an Appointment button'.

  • The UNSW Canberra Civilian Student Counselling Service is located within the Learning and Teaching Group (LTG), which is in Building 14 (ICTS, opposite ADFA cafe), Level 1 (upstairs – third door on your left).
  • The UNSW Canberra Counselling and Welfare Service for ADFA Trainee Officers is located within the Military Building (Building 3), Room 24 on the Ground Floor (follow signs to Counselling and Welfare Service).

Confidentiality

We are mindful that the information you provide to us as health professionals is personal and private. Privacy Legislation at both State and Federal levels protect personal information collected and held by health agencies. This legislation applies to UNSW Canberra Counselling Services. In general, this means that no personal information about you will be released to anyone without your consent.

All psychologists are required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency. Psychologists offering counselling and psychotherapy are required to maintain notes of their counselling sessions and treatment plans. Thus, we may also log and record enquiries for information or support that come to us by phone or email. However, the counsellors may be required to release information in the following circumstances:

  • If it is necessary to protect you or someone else from imminent danger.
  • In response to a subpoena, summons, or written demand from an administrative body, organisation, or Commonwealth authority with the power to request the information. Occasionally, a legal subpoena for specific documents to be produced or for a specific counsellor to appear before the State or Federal Court are requested. Sometimes an over-riding legal requirement will lead to a carefully considered release of information that would normally fall into the category of personal confidential information. These circumstances would normally involve: statutory obligations, illegal or criminal activities, or the prevention of harm to others, including children. For example: when the client’s behaviour is considered, by the UNSW counsellor, to be a danger to themselves or others, a considered action based on a professional duty of care will be taken with the purpose of protection and keeping safe those that are considered to be ‘at risk’.
  • Where you are involved in proceedings against the University or Defence.
  • If there are concerns that a child (under the age of 18 years) may be at risk of physical, emotional, sexual, or neglectful abuse.
  • To a government Minister in the Defence portfolio or board of enquiry, for the purpose of general control and administration of the ADF, in accordance with section 8 of the Defence Act 1903.
  • If initiated by the client (you). You can ask/direct your counsellor or give permission to disclose information to a third party on your behalf. This direction is usually in the form of a written statement signed by you.

Any information shared during counselling sessions is securely stored for a period of 7 years from the date of last contact with the service. After this time, the information is disposed of using a protocol that ensures confidentiality and is in keeping with required State Government and UNSW record disposal schedules. However, any client information shared from the Counselling and Welfare Service to Joint Health Command may be stored for up to 99 years.

Any individual who has used the UNSW Canberra Counselling Services is able to request access to their personal records. The State Health Records Act and Freedom of Information Legislation govern this access to records.

Keeping your information correct

We like to keep your details current so please notify us if you have a change of personal contact information. Our records are not linked to UNSW student or Defence records, so changes of your personal details provided to UNSW/Defence are not updated on counselling records.

Contact details

  • If you would like to get in touch with a UNSW Canberra Civilian Student Counsellor, you may email via: counselling@adfa.edu.au or phone via: 02 6268 8188.
  • If you would like to get in touch with a student counsellor from the UNSW Canberra Counselling and Welfare Service for ADFA Trainee Officers, you may email via: adfa.counselling@adfa.edu.au or phone via: 02 6268 8065.

Off campus (distance education, deployment, and fieldwork debriefing)

If you are away from campus throughout the course of your enrolment, please be aware that telephone counselling appointments are available. Email the relevant counselling service to organise. We also encourage you to book a face-to-face appointment to debrief on your return to UNSW Canberra.

In times of crisis

Civilian students

If you are in distress or require immediate assistance, please call the ACT Mental Health Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT) on 6205 1065 or 1800 629 354 or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If it is an emergency, please call 000.

ADFA Trainee Officers

If you are in distress or require immediate assistance, please call the Defence All-Hours Support Line on 1800 628 036, the on-duty Chaplain on 0407 207 833, 1800 IMSICK on 1800 467 425, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, the ACT Mental Health Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT) on 6205 1065 or 1800 629 354, or attend the Duntroon Health Centre (Harrison Road). If it is an emergency, please call 000.