What to Expect From Counselling

Counsellors at UniSA:

  • Listen to you and treat you with respect
  • Work with you to help resolve any problems that are impacting your wellbeing or study
  • Assist you in developing skills to help with your studies (for example, ways to manage exam anxiety)
  • Explore options for extensions or secondary assessments when you experience circumstances beyond your control that impact your study
  • Refer you to appropriate services when specialised or ongoing counselling is required.

Counselling FAQs

The UniSA Counselling Service supports you with any personal issues that are impacting on your ability to study. Our Counsellors offer short-term support to help you resolve these issues and have experience in assessing any personal situations that may prevent you from studying successfully and to develop personal habits and skills to manage your studies better. We will work with you to find the best way forward, navigate your studies and connect with ongoing support as needed. Together, we will explore practical solutions that are based on your needs, even when your circumstances are complex.

You can talk about anything that concerns you.  You can find a list of typical issues that students talk about on our landing page. A counselling session should be a space where you feel safe, respected, and culturally-inclusive to discuss your personal concerns. Counsellors will work with you to ensure we understand each other; however, the counselling service is unable to provide interpreters for counselling appointments. 

It is normal to feel nervous when you first meet with a Counsellor. Counsellors will listen and support you without judgement and provide a safe space for you while explaining your situation and finding suitable solutions. 

If you are uncertain about your situation, it can help to talk to someone about your feelings, fears and concerns. Our Counsellors will listen to you and talk about what to expect after a challenging or traumatic experience. They will help you to identify and decide on the best ways to regain your sense of wellbeing and ability to study.

Counselling appointments are fifty minutes in length.

To start, your Counsellor will explain when and how your personal information is collected, used and disclosed. In order to provide you with a service, we must confirm that you understand and have signed the Counselling Privacy Notification Form, which is available at My Online Bookings. Please read and submit the form before your first counselling appointment to allow more time to discuss your concerns during the session. You can ask any questions about the form in your first appointment. For more information, please see UniSA’s Privacy Policy.

Once the privacy notification form has been confirmed, your Counsellor will invite you to talk about your current concerns or issues that you are seeking support for. Together we will create a plan to understand and resolve these issues and help you achieve your academic goals. The next steps will depend on what we plan and agree to do.

It is important to keep in mind that there are risks and benefits in the counselling process. Sometimes people remember events that were uncomfortable, or they have unexpectedly strong feelings about situations. On the other hand, people can learn about themselves and understand their concerns better. You can gain insight into your actions, beliefs and values. You can also learn new coping strategies, study skills and set achievable goals.

The UniSA counselling service is a confidential service, which means that we will not discuss your situation with anyone outside the service unless we have your consent to do so. Exceptions to this rule apply only if there are legal or statutory obligations to disclose, or if there is a risk of serious harm to you or to others.

All information discussed in counselling sessions is securely stored according to UniSA’s Privacy Policy, and your Counsellor will discuss this with you in the first session.

Your counselling notes can only be accessed within the counselling service. Academic staff do not have access to your counselling records and any information you provide in counselling does not reflect on your academic records. When necessary, you and the Counsellor will agree on what information to share with your Academic staff, health professionals and support network.

In instances where there is sexual assault or sexual harassment that has occurred within the UniSA community, we will record this disclosure through UniSA’s online reporting system. The disclosure can be recorded anonymously.

If you have any questions about confidentiality and counselling notes, please talk with your Counsellor or email counsellors@unisa.edu.au.

As part of identifying solutions or strategies to resolve your concerns or issues, our Counsellors may discuss and refer you to other services in the Student Engagement Unit, such as the Learning Advisers, Access and Inclusion Advisers, Student Advisers and Career Advisers. If you agree, we can provide non-sensitive information about your situation to other advisers to better meet your needs.

Counsellors can also help you connect with another health professional/services in the community. This can include referrals to the UniSA Psychology Clinic, UniSA Health Medical Clinic, Headspace, Drug and Alcohol or Homelessness services. Where required, Counsellors will also help you to find culturally appropriate services for longer term needs.

Most of the time we can find ways to cope with our concerns. If you cannot resolve a situation or if you are finding it difficult to focus on your studies, you may benefit from counselling.

During busy periods, appointments fill up quickly so it is a good idea to book ahead through My Online Bookings. You may need to book up to three weeks in advance. Urgent personal issues are given priority and appointments are scheduled as soon as possible. For assistance contact Campus Central or email counsellors@unisa.edu.au.

If you would like to ask a Counsellor a question before making an appointment you can email counsellors@unisa.edu.au  

Although most people prefer talking in person with a Counsellor, we also offer phone and online counselling (using Zoom). When you make a counselling appointment via My Online Bookings, you can choose between ‘in person’ or ‘virtual’. For virtual, you can select either ‘phone’ or ‘online’.

For a phone appointment, the Counsellor will call you at the scheduled time. For an online (Zoom) appointment, you will receive an email confirmation with the link for you to use/click on at the scheduled time.

When talking with a Counsellor over the phone or using Zoom, there are some important things to think about:

  • Find a quiet, private space where you will not be disturbed for 50 minutes
  • Whether you use a smartphone, laptop, tablet or computer, make sure your device is charged and is equipped with an operational camera, microphone and speakers
  • Make sure your private space has a reliable and stable broadband internet connection
  • In some instances, such as when you are driving a car or if you are travelling on public transport, the Counsellor may decide a phone or online session is inappropriate and reschedule the session

If you know you are unable to attend your appointment ahead of time, please cancel and reschedule. It will give another student the opportunity to book in.

If you are running more than 15 minutes late, please let us know. Your Counsellor may see you for the remainder of your booked appointment (up to original booking end time of the 50-minute session) or reschedule as needed.

The busiest times for counselling appointments are from April to June and September to November. During these periods, there may be a three week wait to talk with a Counsellor.

You may also consider the following options for support during these times: 

  • For urgent assistance (e.g. with a personal or mental health crisis): email counsellors@unisa.edu.au and our Triage Counsellor will make contact with you to discuss your situation
  • For (mental or physical) health difficulties: your GP; if you do not have an existing GP, you can book an appointment at the UniSA Health Medical Clinic. Please note: From 1st February 2022, all student consultations will attract a gap payment which is not refundable from Medicare or OSHC.   Students will need to pay the full amount of the consultation at the time of their consultation and then claim back the rebate from Medicare or their OSHC provider.
  • For support with academic issues (e.g. issues with lecturers, academic misconduct, preclusion, amendment to enrolment etc.): USASA Student Advocacy Service
  • For UniSA general enquiries: Campus Central

Please note: If you are seeking support for an extension but cannot get a counselling appointment before the due date, book anyway and let your tutor/course coordinator know that you could not get an earlier appointment. You can also seek support from a GP. For information about unexpected or exceptional circumstances, please review the Assessment Policies and Procedures Manual (Variations to assessments section). 

UniSA Counsellors can only offer services to students located in Australia. This is because we cannot adequately ensure the safety of students who are offshore or refer you to relevant local services.

If you are located overseas, we encourage you to seek support from professionals/services within your local area. In emergency situations, please contact your local emergency support services in your country.

When you are in Australia, you are welcome to arrange a counselling appointment with us.

Urgent Assistance

Make an Appointment

Metropolitan campuses/UniSA Online students
1300 301 703

Mount Gambier campus
(08) 8723 1999

Whyalla campus
(08) 8645 8233


Crisis and Emergency Contacts

Serious Incident on Campus

If you are involved in, or witness a serious or distressing incident on campus please contact Security for assistance.