Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between counselling and coaching?

Counselling is for students who are dealing with temporary life difficulties such as homesickness, relationship breakup, serious illness or death of a family member, academic or financial stress, etc. The aim of counselling is to facilitate a timely return to normal functioning.

Coaching is for students who are functioning relatively normally but who strive to achieve optimal performance. The aim of coaching is to help students clarify their goals and identify action steps necessary to achieve these goals.

Who are the counsellors/coaches?

Counsellors are mental health professionals who hold a graduate degree in psychology or counselling and are certified members of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Coaches are professional counsellors who have received extensive supplemental training and are certified in Solution-Focused Coaching.

Counselling Interns are students in the M.Ed. (Educational Counselling) Program who hold an undergraduate degree in psychology and who are closely supervised by experienced professional counsellors.

What kind of issues do students address in counselling?

Students seek out counselling to handle various challenging situations and experiences that threaten to affect their wellbeing and academic success. Here are some examples of such situations:

  • Abuse
  • Academic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Death, dying and other losses
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating/body image
  • Drugs and/or alcohol
  • Lack of motivation
  • Relationship issues
  • Stress management
  • Time management/procrastination
  • Transition/adjustment
  • Uncertainty about study path

Who can use our services?

All students who are registered in at least one course in an academic session at the University of Ottawa are eligible for our services during that session. Students who are using our services and decide, or are asked, to withdraw from the University of Ottawa prior to the end of an academic session, without being fully refunded for tuition fees, are eligible to continue to use our services until the end of the academic session at no charge.

Is there a fee?

Counselling sessions are free of charge.

How do I make an appointment?

To make an appointment: Call or leave a message at 613-562-5200 or come in person to 100 Marie-Curie, 4th floor (Health Services building)

How long will I have to wait for my first appointment?

We attempt to provide students with an initial appointment within two (2) weeks of their request.

How long is a session?

Your initial session will last approximately 30-45 minutes. Subsequent sessions last approximately 50 minutes.

What about confidentiality?

Our services are confidential. Please see the following link for information and limitations concerning confidentiality. View information about confidentiality (PDF) 

What can I expect when I come in for an initial session?

During the first session, we will listen to your concerns, seek to understand what is going on in your life and attempt to identify what kind of support you might need. If we determine that we are able to help, we will do our best to provide counselling appointments within a reasonable time frame. If, on the other hand, we assess that your needs may be better addressed by other professionals, we will help you connect with the appropriate community resource.

I've been told that Counselling and Coaching Service will give me a letter to get extensions on papers and defer my exams. Is that true?

If you are experiencing significant disruptions in your personal life, and as a result, claim to be temporarily unable to meet your academic obligations, you must arrange an assessment session with a counsellor to evaluate the impact of these disruptions on your emotions, your behaviour and your ability to function academically. Counsellors have the necessary expertise to provide recommendations to faculty personnel regarding your request for extra time to submit an assignment or to defer an exam for personal (non medical) reasons.

Policy regarding requests for temporary exemption for psychological reason here. 

What should I do if my friend is in crisis?

People in distress are almost always receptive to an expression of genuine interest, caring, and concern. Remember, the key is to remain calm, try to listen with patience and compassion and help your friend determine what might be the next step. If you think your friend could benefit from counselling, please read the following How to Refer PDF document to help you learn how he or she can connect with us or consult the following list of Emergency Services

Can I choose my counsellor?

If you have any concerns about the counsellor that is assigned to you or if you have a preference for a specific counsellor, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Counselling is of a very personal nature; therefore, we believe it is important for you to feel comfortable and at ease with your counsellor.

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