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Counselling services at SWS

We are a student counselling service offering predominantly short-term counselling and psychotherapy. We aim to ensure that whatever personal, emotional, or psychological problems you experience have minimal impact on your academic studies while optimising your capacity to achieve. 

Currently, we are offering predominantly virtual sessions and limited face to face sessions, dependent on the COVID-19 lockdown levels. The counselling practitioner will contact you once you have booked your appointment.

Please note that we experience high demand for the service, particularly from April until after the June examination and again from September/October until after November's end of year examination. During these times, students trying to access psychotherapy from Student Wellness Service, rather than waiting for a booked session, are advised to utilise the 24-hour telephonic services to speak to someone on the same day. 

What can you expect from the counselling service

You can expect a courteous and efficient reception. A qualified, registered and experienced psychologist will provide you with a confidential counselling service.

The counselling service offered to you may include assessment, brief counselling (up to eight sessions), or referral. It may be that longer-term or specialised counselling would be beneficial for you, in which case you will be referred to the most appropriate service outside of the Student Wellness Service's counselling service.

The counselling service does not include any interventions required for court proceedings, legal matters, or any other intervention that would require a report for any purpose other than a university-related matter (excluding the University tribunal). Psychometric assessments are not conducted within the scope of the counselling service.

What we can assist with and how

Among other, counselling service can assist with:

  • Adjustment
  • Social skills
  • Self-esteem concerns
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression 
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Sexual assault/GBV
  • Sexuality / identity concerns
  • Addictions
  • Academic concerns

The counselling service offers individual psychotherapy, but a psychologist may recommend that a student attends group therapy which is an opportunity to work on problems in a confidential environment with peers. Furthermore, the psychologist may suggest that the student attend a skills-based group, which develops relevant life skills in a group setting. Referral of students to an appropriate agency can also be provided.

Confidentiality

All information that may arise from an assessment or counselling will be regarded as strictly confidential and will not be divulged to any other party outside of the Student Wellness Service (SWS). Read more.

Appointments

For appointments with the team, please use the Student Wellness Counselling Services booking form online.

For cancellation of appointments see Cancellation of appointments.

Consultation fees

General fees apply. See Consultation fees.

Referrals by staff

Students can also be referred by staff members concerned about their emotional well-being if the student gives consent to be referred. In these cases, students are encouraged to contact Student Wellness Service to request an appointment. Please note that no feedback is provided to faculty or other staff unless written consent is provided for this purpose by the student.

How you can reach out

Our 24/7 telephonic counselling services are available toll free, even during weekends and after hours:

UCT Careline: 0800 24 25 26 or text 31393
SWS ICAS line: 0800 87 26 76
Higher Health Counselling: 0800 36 36 36
ER24 UCT collaboration: 010 205 3010 Should you have access to medical aid or financial resources, we do encourage you to access psychotherapy from a private practitioner where possible.  

Should you require further assistance with bookings or alternative resources, you may contact the SWS Practice Manager: 021 650 1017 (office hours) / 021 650 1271 (After-hours crisis line for psychiatric emergencies) or email: sws.practicemanager@uct.ac.za.

You have an emergency?

During office hours (08h30–16h00):
Phone 021 650 1020 for assistance from the Student Wellness Service Hotline.

All hours:
For medical emergencies, phone 010 205 3010 (ER24 UCT collaboration).
For mental health emergencies, phone 0800 24 25 26 (toll-free) or text 31393 for a call-me-back (UCT Student Careline).

See here for first steps in a medical/mental health emergency.

See also our Emergencies page for additional specialised services and contacts.