Counselling psychologists’ frequently asked questions

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What kinds of problems can counselling psychologists help with?

Any study-related problems! If you’re unsure whether your situation or question warrants contacting a counselling psychologist, ask a counselling psychologist! They can help you determine where to best find the help and support you need.

What kinds of study-related problems do university students have?

Many students at the University struggle with study-related stress and fatigue as well as motivation, time management and planning issues. Many are also anxious about their choice of discipline or struggle with their Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis. University studies pose different requirements on study habits and techniques compared with, for example, upper secondary education or studies at a university of applied sciences. Such new requirements are another common reason for contacting a counselling psychologist. Many other reasons can also hamper academic progress or study motivation, such as learning disabilities, difficult personal situations, illness, anxiety, work habits that are poorly adapted to a university environment, alienation from the University community, and lack of guidance/instruction. Students can discuss all such matters with a counselling psychologist.

Should I choose small-group or individual counselling?

You can choose either one, as these options are not mutually exclusive. You can switch from individual counselling to small-group counselling or vice-versa. Your counselling psychologist can explain the process to you. Small-group counselling offers the advantage of peer support from other students. A group can help you realise that you are not alone with your problems. You will also get to hear other students’ ideas about how to overcome or cope with study-related challenges: “The great thing about the group was finding new perspectives on the mental blocks that were hampering my writing process, and finding out that others had the same difficulties. It helped me place more realistic demands on myself”.

Small groups meet five times for a two-hour session, offering more time than individual counselling for discussing the themes that are relevant for the group. If you’re not sure whether small group counselling is for you, you can phone or email a counselling psychologist for more information. However, if you feel that you have many problems, your problems are too unique to be covered by the group themes, or if working in a group simply does not feel like a suitable option, then individual counselling is a better alternative.

What happens during an appointment with a counselling psychologist?

During a session with a counselling psychologist, students primarily discuss study problems and related matters. You may also complete different exercises, such as writing, reading or concentration exercises. The first appointment is usually reserved for surveying the student’s situation.

Do I have to wait several weeks for an appointment with a counselling psychologist after the initial contact?

Counselling psychologists do a great deal of other work besides providing students with individual counselling. For example, they offer small-group counselling and courses.  Counselling psychologists usually provide individual counselling on two weekdays, which is why their schedules are easily fully booked for weeks at a time. Another factor affecting the waiting period is that students often request counselling at a specific campus. 

Do I have to pay for a counselling psychologist’s appointment?

No. The service is free of charge for Bachelor’s and Master’s students as well as for doctoral researchers at the University.

Can I book another appointment if I have already met with a counselling psychologist?

Yes you can. Every student is allocated a quota of five appointments with a counselling psychologist. However, the psychologists aim to help students flexibly to enable them to move forward according to the situation. Sometimes it is in the student’s best interest to spread the appointments over several academic years. When contacting a counselling psychologist again, be sure to mention that you have previously visited a counselling psychologist. If you like, and if circumstances permit, you can continue working with the same counselling psychologist.

What is the difference between an FSHS psychologist and a counselling psychologist?

The key difference is that FSHS psychologists fall within the scope of the public health care system while counselling psychologists are University employees. Counselling psychologists primarily help with study-related issues, while FSHS psychologists help with issues related to mental health. If you are unsure whether to contact a counselling psychologist or an FSHS psychologist, contact one or the other and they will refer you to the correct service. Sometimes students benefit from using both services. 

I suspect I have dyslexia/ADHD/an autism spectrum disorder. Can I contact a counselling psychologist?

Yes, you can discuss the matter with a counselling psychologist. Counselling psychologists do not perform the kind of examinations that allow a diagnosis of dyslexia or other disorders. The public health care system primarily performs such examinations. However, counselling psychologists can help you take the matter forward, discuss any need for examinations and help you find methods for facilitating your studies.

I saw a counselling psychologist give a lecture with one of our teachers. Is it safe to tell a counselling psychologist about any defects in the teaching/guidance available at our department?

Yes, it is. Counselling psychologists are bound by confidentiality and cannot disclose information about a student to third parties without the student’s permission. Counselling psychologists engage in teaching development and research cooperation with University staff, but they do not share student’s private matters with them.

I feel like my memory and learning ability are deteriorating. Is there something wrong with my memory?

Almost everyone feels like they have a poor memory at some point. Many factors affect learning and memory functions, including motivation, alertness, depression, study techniques, conditions and topics, anxiety, stress and a difficult personal situation. Young people rarely have actual memory disorders. You can schedule an appointment with a counselling psychologist if you would like to better understand why you seem to have memory problems.

I have not earned enough credits to fulfil the requirements of Kela or the University. Can a counselling psychologist help me?

You can work on facilitating your studies and coping with progress requirements together with a counselling psychologist. However, you should contact Kela or Student Services on your campus to conclude any formalities related to your studies, such as applying for an extension to your right to study or for a description of required academic progress.

I have lost all motivation and no longer have the energy to study. Can I book an appointment with a counselling psychologist?

Yes, you can. Everyone struggles with lowered study motivation at some point. This can happen for many reasons. You can contact a counselling psychologist to help you explore ways to improve your situation. If your lack of motivation and fatigue continue for months and are not exclusively study-related, you might also want to contact health services, e.g., FSHS.

I’m a doctoral researcher. Can I book an individual counselling appointment?

From autumn of 2021, the study psychologists' counselling is available also for doctoral researchers. The services are aimed especially at those who are doing their doctoral studies with the support of grants or other external funding. If you are employed by the university, apply primarily for occupational health services to receive psychological counselling.

Back to the Study psychologist services for students webpage