Counselling Frequently Asked Questions




Q:           How long does a session last?

A:                  50 – 60 minutes


Q:           How many sessions will I need?

A:                  At Student Counselling we offer you up to 6 sessions. However, we are also open to the fact that the amount of sessions differs from individual to individual. This will be discussed with your counsellor.


Q:           How often do I need to have a session?

A:                  At Student Counselling we offer a session once a week. Your counsellor will recommend to you how often you should have a session.


Q:           How much do sessions cost?

A:                  Counselling is free for registered CPUT students


Q:           Should I see a male or female therapist?

A:                  Individuals often wonder if they would do better with a male or female therapist. Factors such as warmth

and empathy are much more related to outcome than therapist gender. However, the nature of your particular problem as well as your own preferences may lead you to seek out a male or female therapist.


Q:           How do I make an appointment?

A:                  Call our friendly receptionist, Anthea on 0214603237 or pop into our offices in the Administration building, Room 2.7


Q:           What happens when I make an appointment?

A:                  At Student Counselling you will be required to go through our intake processes. This involves you telling a counsellor in 5-10 minutes what your reason is for seeking counselling. The counsellor on intake will either refer you to the best resource in CPUT or request the receptionist to make a booking with the next available counsellor.


Q:           What happens in a counselling session?

A:                  Your first counseling session may be scarier than the problem that is causing you to seek counseling. The first session starts with greetings and then a discussion of confidentiality. Most everything that happens in counselling is confidential. You are protected by strict rules that prohibit discussing anything that goes on in session or even that you are coming to counselling. There are some very specific exceptions to this rule, which will be discussed in the first session as well.

What brought you in to counseling is usually the starting point, so you can start working on your problems right way. Your family history and past will probably be reviewed at this time. The counsellor will discuss treatment options with you. We will make every effort to see that you receive the best available care, whether it is on or off campus.


Q:           How do I prepare for my first session?

A:                  Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment to complete information forms. Show up with the intention to be as open and honest about yourself as you can be. The counsellor will want to learn about what is bringing you to counselling  at this time in your life and hopefully you will be interested in filling them in. The likelihood is that there is much you will want to tell the counsellor and he/she will be listening carefully and giving you their full attention.


Q:           Are all types of counselling the same?

A:                  Not all counsellors are the same, but they do have similarities. All counsellors should make you feel that you are supported and help you to make sense of your individual circumstances. By the end of any counselling you should feel that you are better equipped to cope with the future.

Each type of counselling is designed to help a different set of needs, and so counsellors will differ from each other in certain ways. Psychodynamic therapy concentrates on talking about your past, whereas other therapies may choose to focus on the present or even the future. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) often involves ‘homework’ for you to do. Bereavement therapy would focus more on helping you deal with difficult emotions.


Q:           Do I need counselling if I can handle my own problems?

A:                  A good indicator that you might need counseling is when you’re having difficulties at university, when you are having a hard time concentrating, if you feel unhappy more days than not, if you cannot sleep, have a hard time figuring out what is important in your life, or just cannot manage the stress anymore. If you are currently questioning if you should go into counselling, that is probably the best indicator that you should. Trust your instincts.

Q:           Isn’t it best for me to solve my own problems?

A:                  A counsellor doesn’t solve your problems for you. Rather, he or she helps you clarify issues so you can solve problems on your own with a counsellor’s guidance, support, and expertise. The goal of counselling is to make you more self-sufficient, not more dependent.


Q:          Can I refer someone who might need counselling?

A:                  The most effective way for someone to get counselling is if they come to the decision of their own accord. What we can suggest is to ask for a referral card from our receptionist and encourage the person who may need the help to contact us in their own time.