Leeds Met Counselling Service - Promotional Video

Uploaded by LeedsMetUni on 05.08.2011

My experience of the Leeds Met Counselling Service
is a very, very good one.
If anyone's struggling at university,
I'd say contact the counselling service straight away.
A male friend of mine told me that he had come to counselling.
We offer one-to-one counselling.
It's very important to get students to acknowledge the positives.
Leeds Metropolitan University has a counselling service
because it wants to support students who are having problems
that might be interfering with their progress
through their academic courses.
It's not just academic problems that we might be helping the student with,
but also those personal problems
which can derail you from progressing with your studies.
We would say to students there are no problems that are too small
and there are no problems that are off limits.
The counselling service I found really easy to access.
I started using it halfway through my placement year
when I was struggling just in the sense that I was away from friends,
I guess it was a sort of transition period,
going from university to working full-time,
and feeling quite anxious and stressed.
And the counselling service really helped with that.
Part of the counselling was talking one-to-one,
so it wasn't intimidating in any way,
it was really comfortable to talk to the counsellor.
And there were elements of CBT, which is cognitive behavioural therapy,
and there was some sort of mindfulness stuff in there
which was really interesting and helped me a lot.
When I was doing my master's degree in marketing,
I was having a problem in getting my final assessment.
I felt like nobody was listening to my situation
and I was really depressed and was under pressure.
So I went to the counselling service
and they showed empathy towards my problem
and they understood the whole situation.
And they were finally able to resolve my problem
and I got my master's degree in marketing.
I used the counselling service for six weeks
when I was in my second year of my course.
I put off approaching the counselling service for help
for quite a few months.
I wasn't very well during the summer, I didn't have a very good summer,
and I agreed with my partner, actually, that I would get help,
and my GP recommended that I get help and I promised them that I would.
And I put it off and I put it off all the way till just before Christmas.
I was in Headingley Helpzone, actually,
and I saw the poster for the counselling service
and I had a two-hour break and I thought, "I'm going to go now."
And I did, and the reception that I got was fantastic.
I couldn't have hoped for anything better.
So kind, so understanding,
an incredibly calming place to be.
I was really, really nervous about going and getting it sorted out
but I'm so glad that I did.
I became aware of the counselling service when a male friend of mine
told me that he had come to counselling.
And I was surprised on two parts.
One, the fact that I'd been at university for two years
and not heard about the counselling service.
And two, that my friend who I thought was completely happy
was seeking counselling.
So we devised a campaign that was targeting men.
The main focus of the campaign, which was called Big Boys Should Cry,
was to break down the barriers that men face
when thinking about seeking counselling.
The winning poster, as you can see behind me, does that.
"I had the balls to go to counselling." Sometimes it does take balls.
We've developed a group-work programme
because we feel there are aspects of student life that are non-academic,
that are about emotional and psychological wellbeing.
It means we'd like to invite students to come to the counselling service
but you don't have to have an issue.
We see our groups as being very much about personal development,
not necessarily because people have got particular problems
or issues that they want to deal with
but because they want to develop themselves as a person
to make the most of their time at Leeds Met
and to get the most out of their studies and their time here.
People tend to think that counselling is just about one-to-one work,
but here in the counselling service we offer a range of groups for students.
Groups that students can attend for six weeks,
and they'll come along for two hours each week
and do all sorts of practical things.
Mindfulness practice can help us enhance
our levels of concentration and attention.
So through the practice we're developing those skills
which in turn will impact on people's ability to study.
So some of the distractions that students get
in terms of going on emails or Facebook -
mindfulness practice helps us become more aware
of those urges to do those things
but to not follow that urge along,
to bring our attention back to whatever we're doing in that moment.
The groups can be anything up to eight people attending.
The groups are offered on a block of six,
so students attend as and when they can.
And there's also a series of different exercises,
from seated meditations through walking meditations
and mindful movement.
So they do get a range of different exercises to try for themselves.
Groups are predominantly around skills and personal development.
The majority of our groups meet weekly
but the Kaleidoscope group meets monthly,
which is an informal gathering for people who want to gather
to talk and support and share issues about celebrating individuality,
but particularly in relation to autism and Asperger's
and creativity and realising that we're all interconnected.
Students in university can sometimes feel very isolated
if they feel different,
but it's about celebrating our individual differences,
about coming together to recognise that it's a celebration of who we are.
Kick Start counselling is a task-focused method of counselling
to help students who are having problems with their academic work.
It focuses on their academic work
and helps them to gain control of it.
And we do this through contracts and providing encouragement.
By talking about it, they're able to surprise themselves
and realise that they know more about their subject
than they're giving themselves credit for.
Last year I had several students who were all highly successful,
and it was difficult to begin with because they had failed placements.
And it was important to get their confidence up,
to get the academic work finished,
because the placement had to be redone in the spring.
So often, people give more weight to negatives than they give to positives.
And it's very important to get students
to acknowledge the positives.
Students often access the counselling service
via their tutor or student liaison officer.
They can also self-refer
because we have an open-door every day at City Campus
and three days a week at Headingley Campus.
It's a free drop-in service without an appointment
where students can come and speak to a duty counsellor
and they can register with the service.
Just coming through the door, I think, can feel quite nerve-racking for them,
and one of the things I'm often asked is, "Is it group counselling?"
But we offer one-to-one counselling.
There might be other students in the waiting room,
but they would have a one-to-one session with the counsellor.
Then they would decide, following that session,
if they felt ready to have weekly appointments.
Counselling services save money for universities
because they stop people from dropping out.
If I feel like any student is in a similar kind of situation,
I would really recommend the student to go to the counselling service.
I'd encourage all students that have any sort of stress or anxiety
to get involved with it, because it really helped me.
Like, genuinely. It was amazing.