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FAQs counselling

  • Does counselling help?

    The effectiveness of therapy will also depend on the level of personal responsibility and commitment you bring to the process. To notice meaningful changes, you need to be prepared to make specific lifestyle changes.

  • Does seeing a counsellor mean that I am ill?

    No, it means that you are experiencing problems of daily living. However, counselling can be helpful where there are some symptoms of a psychosomatic illness, such as anxiety, depression, headaches, and other. 

  • How do I get to the Student Wellness Service (SWS)?

    Services can be accessed virtually currently. However, minimal face-to-face sessions are offered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We have SWS consultation points in most UCT faculties. You can find an SWS office in these faculties/campuses:

    • Faculty of Law (Middle Campus)
    • Faculty of Commerce (Upper Campus and Middle Campus)
    • Faculty of Humanities (Hiddingh Campus)
    • Graduate School of Business Campus (Breakwater Campus)
    • Faculty of Science (Upper Campus)
    • Health Sciences Campus

    For campus locations, see UCT Campus Maps.

  • Is it okay to need help/am I weak?

    Many of our problems arise just because we are human. Needing help is a normal part of this process. You do not have to impose upon yourself the burden of succeeding or coping entirely on your own. SWS health care professionals are there to help.

  • What does the counselling service team expect of me?

    Please arrive in person or online on time for your appointment and promptly let us know if you wish to reschedule. Cancellations of appointments need to be communicated at least 24 hours in advance. Late cancellations will result in a missed consultation. If you should contract a psycho-therapeutic intervention, honesty and commitment to the process will be pivotal to the success of the intervention.

  • What if I feel ashamed of my problems?

    Psychologists/ Social Workers understand that it is natural to want to feel that we can solve our problems. However, most of us feel ashamed when we have problems and don't want to advertise our difficulties; this is the reason why the counselling service is confidential.

  • Is counselling like psychiatry?

    Both deal with emotional and mental problems. Psychiatrists are, however, medical doctors who work mainly with the diagnosis of illness and then prescribe medication. Psychologists are non-medical personnel who work by talking and encouraging or enabling you to find your solutions. Psychologists can recognise severe mental or emotional distress symptoms and may suggest that you consider medical help if this is appropriate.

  • I am in crisis and require urgent assistance – what can I do?

    We have four toll-free lines that you may access in case of a crisis. They offer 24/7 telephonic counselling, advice, referral facilities, and general support to individuals facing mental health challenges or concerns. The lines are also available to provide support and advice to anyone concerned about another person who might be in distress. They will also advise and refer callers to both internal UCT resources and external (NGO, public and private) resources. 

    Contact the UCT Student Careline by calling 0800 24 25 26 (toll free from a Telkom line) or SMS 31393 for a "call-me-back" service. 

    Higher Health Counselling 0800 36 36 36
    ER24 UCT collaboration 010 205 3010 
    ICAS Student Wellness Service line 0800 87 26 76

    Alternatively, visit the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) website
    Link to ICAS-SWS App

    See our Emergencies page for further details.