The Institute Counselling Service is a free confidential service available to full time learners. Our Counsellors are Odette Lawlor, Ulrike Coleman and Catherine Smith.
What does the Counselling & Career Service offer?
- Career Guidance – you can get advice and practical guidance on planning your career. You will be helped to build career development skills and research employment opportunities. You can take tests and inventories to ascertain your skills, abilities and interests.
- Educational Guidance and Counselling - you can get help and advice in areas such as: further study options, adjusting to College life, study skills and exam techniques. You can also get assistance with applications to UK Colleges (UCAS) and Irish Colleges (CAO or direct entry application forms).
- Study Skills - BFEI offers a comprehensive study skills program. The program involves a learning style survey, time management skills, note taking, study techniques, essay and report writing, course work and examination preparation techniques. Individual study skills support is available from the Institute Guidance Counsellors and through tutorials.
- Personal Counselling – this area of the Counselling Service gives you an opportunity to talk about personal issues that may be bothering you. This is done in private with someone who is trained to help you and on whom you can rely to keep the matter completely confidential. The Counselling Service should not be regarded as a last resort. You also do not need to have huge problems before you look for help. The sooner a problem is addressed the quicker it can be resolved.
What actually happens in personal counselling?
When you contact a Counsellor you will be given an appointment of about 50 minutes. The Counsellor will listen carefully to what is troubling you and will ask appropriate questions in order to try and understand how you are feeling and will help you reflect on your own experience and thoughts. You may find that one meeting is enough for you to gain a different perspective and help you to cope. However, you will be given the opportunity of further meetings and the Counsellor will arrange these with you. The work you do together will be about helping you to find the right solutions for you, rather than telling you what to do.
It sounds like an opportunity to have a chat!
A counselling session is more than that. It is a working session that can sometimes be quite challenging. When issues and feelings are brought to the surface it can hurt a lot. However, the relief of sharing your worries can make you feel much better very quickly.
Will I ever be sent to see someone else?
You will not be ‘sent’ to another agency or practitioner. Referrals will only be made following discussion and they generally happen because someone needs a different approach or a longer time or if the problem is not suitable for counselling. This, of course, would only be done with your consent.
How confidential is the Counselling Service?
Information will not be disclosed about you without your consent. Amongst other things, it means that tutors will not be told you are receiving counselling unless you want them to be told. The only circumstances where confidentiality may be breached are if there is any risk of harm to yourself or anyone else or where the Counsellor is obliged to comply with legal requirements i.e. fraud, criminal proceedings or child protection concerns. Even in this instance the Counsellor will inform you if she feels she needs to break confidentiality. If you have any concerns, you should discuss these with the Counsellor.
An essential part of our work includes monitoring and evaluating the service we provide to our learners. This is to ensure that the highest possible standards are maintained. Therefore, your views on the service we provide are very important. For this reason, your Counsellor will ask you to complete an anonymous feedback form when counselling has finished. Again, no personal information is ever disclosed and participation is entirely voluntary.
Learners are encouraged to contact the Guidance Counsellors if they wish to discuss the career options available to them on completing their course. Learners are given details of how to make an appointment by the Guidance Counsellors in September.