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Annual Report 2006-07

University Counselling Service Annual Report 2006-07

(NB for a hard copy which includes colour graphs, please email a request to counselling@warwick.ac.uk)

1.0   Introduction

 

This report is presented by Shirley Crookes, Head of the University Counselling Service, compiled and written by Samantha Tarren, University Counsellor.  It aims to provide an overview of activities of the University of Warwick Counselling Service for the academic year 2006-07, making comparisons to the previous academic year and offering recommendations to implement in 2007-08. 

 

 

 The report includes an overview of the University Counselling Service (hereafter referred to as the UCS), including a detailed summary of the key tasks and activities of the UCS throughout the year.   There is a section which offers details and analyses of client profile and service usage.

 

 

  The Appendices include the Service Evaluation Report 2006-07 in full, which is the result of the annual survey of UCS users who are asked to comment on their experience of the UCS with respect to issues such as publicity (marketing, first contact experience and efficiency), accommodation and venue of the UCS, the counselling experience (waiting times, confidentiality satisfaction, impact and efficacy), recommendations for improvements and overall satisfaction.

 

1.1            Overview of the UCS through 2006-07

 

The UCS continues to be located within the Student Development and Support Centre in University House alongside the departments of Student Funding, Careers and Warwick Skills.  The UCS recognises that student support services are an integral part of the educational establishment, enabling students and staff to fulfil the primary tasks of teaching, learning and research.  Counselling offers specialist input within this range of services. 

 

 

 The mission of the UCS, in line with the mission statement of the University of Warwick, is to ‘provide an opportunity for all students at any level and at any time of study at the University of Warwick to access professional therapeutic counselling so that they may better develop and fulfil their personal, academic and professional potential’.  The service is also available to staff to help develop their potential as employees of the University.  As the UCS Charter outlines, the primary task of the UCS is: 

 

 

 ‘to work with students and staff who choose to come for counselling with emotional/psychological issues so as to bring about therapeutic change enabling them to become more effective in their lives within and outside the institution’. 

 

 

 Our guiding principle is that if students and staff are functioning well psychologically and emotionally, they are more able to function to their potential academically, professionally and personally.

 

 

 

Staffing of the UCS

 

Staffing levels remained constant during 2006-07 at 3.5 FTE counsellors and 1 FTE administrative support/receptionist. However, this year saw some changes in the way the UCS was configured. With the changes in the role of the Senior Tutor, Shirley Crookes assumed responsibility for the management of the Counselling Service, as Acting Head of Counselling from November 2006 until September 2007 when she became Head of Counselling. Finance was made available to employ a temporary counsellor for 2 days a week from January until June to help compensate for the counselling hours now taken up by management responsibilities.  In addition sessional counsellors were employed on two evenings per week over a period of two terms when demand for the service was at a peak. This has been a pattern for the department since 2004.

 

 

 Overall, counselling staff remained the same with a ratio of one counsellor to 7250 potential clients (staff and students).  Use of staff time is constantly under review in order to maximise the resources of the department at a time when demand continues to increase.

 

 

 The responsibility for reception and administrative support for the department remains 1 FTE, currently working as a job-share post with Marie Proctor and Ruth Leigh. This has become an increasingly important and valuable key role in the ‘front line’ of the service. There are increased demands on the role at times of long waiting lists and because of the growing IT demands of the service.

 

 

 2.0   Key Tasks and Activities for the UCS during 2006-07

 

The undergraduate prospectus asserts that ‘at Warwick you will live and work in a caring and supportive environment’.  The UCS supports this through its primary task of providing a comprehensive counselling service for students and staff.  Approximately 70% of counselling staff time is expended on the delivery of one-to-one face to face counselling work.  (See 4.0 for a detailed analysis of service usage including client profile). Throughout the academic year counselling staff attend weekly Departmental Team meetings, meetings with the GPs from the Campus Health Centres and ‘welfare net’ meetings as appropriate.  Two full-team ‘away days’ were scheduled in December and July to review and plan.  Counsellors also continued to undertake clinical supervision and consultation with the appointed external supervisor and internal structured peer supervision, in line with the BACP professional code requirements.

 

 

 Counselling staff also expend time in a range of other activities, as detailed (2.1 to 2.10).

 

 

 2.1     Consultancy and Guidance to the University

 

The counselling staff acts in a consultancy capacity to all staff throughout the University.  Consultations are offered by telephone, email or, if necessary, in person, to residential tutors, welfare staff (chaplaincy, careers, Warwick skills, student finance, mental health co-ordinator, disability, etc), Personnel, Occupational Health, International Office, Ancillary and any other member of staff who requests information, guidance on best practice, support or professional advice.    Throughout the academic year, guidelines were developed (to be published 2007-08) to promote the best use of this consultancy service offered by the UCS.  The UCS has a valuable resource that it could extend to the whole institution which will, it is hoped, have the dual purpose of both streamlining the use of the UCS resources and by aiding staff to confidently and competently provide guidance and support to students as appropriate.  This operates alongside the specific consultancy initiative presently offered to all Academic Departments, known as the Departmental Consultancy Initiative. 

 

 

 Departmental Consultancy Initiative

 

In October 2005, in response to the increasing levels of student distress in all academic departments, the UCS launched a pioneering initiative to develop a departmental consultancy scheme.  Each counsellor was allocated specific academic departments.  The aim was to develop a working alliance with each academic department.  The objective was that each UCS consultant could be a named link-person to facilitate continuity of communication if, for example, tutors needed guidance in dealing with a student in distress.  The ‘link person’ could help negotiate a referral to an appropriate resource and also be involved in developing and facilitating initiatives such as course-specific workshops for students and/or staff as appropriate.  It was suggested that departments invite their link person to departmental meetings to ‘put a face to a name’ and begin to establish a useful working relationship. 

 

 

 Throughout the year 2006-07, each departmental Senior Tutor has been sent

 

  • An email with a link to the latest Points for Personal Tutors posted by Peter Byrd before his retirement which outlined the separating of the UCS from the Senior Tutor; it also details the relocation plans for the UCS, the launch of the email counselling service and the self help resources centre.  There was reference to the management of the waiting time for counselling appointments and an invitation to contact the named consultant from the UCS. (January 2007)

     

  • A copy of the UCS’ Annual Report with individually calculated statistics of interest to each department (March 2007).  

     

 

 Table showing Departments in each Faculty, the Name of the Link Person, and the Contact to Date throughout 2006-07:

 

 

 
Faculty of Arts

 

Link person

 

Throughout 2006-07

 

Comparative American  studies

 

Anthea Pablow

 

No response

 

Classics and Ancient History

 

Anthea Pablow

 

(05 Apr 07) Received email from senior lecturer following annual report and letter sent out. It was suggested that a meeting be arranged. Further emails confirmed this.

 

(10 Apr 07) Senior Lecturer discussed a student with me via email exchange.

 

(23 Apr 07) Head of Dept sent more information with regard to the same student. (25 Apr 07) He subsequently discussed another student.  Email discussion continued over problem with the waiting list.

 

(29 Jun 07) Attended meeting with staff.

 

(2-5 July 07) Exchange of emails acknowledging attendance and requesting written information with regard to changes in the service. 

 

English & Comp. Lit. studs

 

Samantha Tarren

 

(18 Jan 07) Email from Director of Undergraduates re a student referral (advised on procedure); subsequent meeting with DofU

 

(22 Feb 07) invite to Departmental Meeting 16 May 07 which was cancelled.

 

(24 Jun 07) Email to confirm name of new DofU

 

Film & TV

 

Samantha Tarren

 

(1 Dec 06) Discussion and email with Departmental Secretary re Change of  Senior Tutor (Film and TV) and departmental consultancy (emailed with info and links)

 

(19 Jun 07) Email from Academic member of staff re Aspergers; emailed back with contact person details etc

 

(22 Jun 07) Telephoned by Academic member of staff for info on writing references for students with MH issues: researched and emailed back with guidance and contacts

 

French Studies

 

Linda Watkinson

 

(9 Feb 07) Attendance at Departmental Staff meeting providing information re counselling provision and procedures

 

German Studies

 

Anthea Pablow

 

(20 Nov 06) Emails and telephone discussion with new lecturer seeking advice on assisting student.

 

(25 Apr 07) Returned call from Personal Tutor to discuss concerns over student

 

History

 

Shirley Crookes

 

Email correspondence

 

History of Art

 

Samantha Tarren

 

(10 May 06) Acknowledgement of email and info circulated round department

 

Italian

 

Linda Watkinson

 

No response

 

CELTE

 

Samantha Tarren

 

(12 Jan 07) Acknowledgment of email and info; update with name of new Senior Personal Tutor

 

Theatre Studies

 

Linda Watkinson

 

No response

 

Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies      

 

Richard Worsley

 

No further contact since last year

 

 

 
Language Centre

 

Richard Worsley

 

(15 Feb 07) Discussion with Evan Stewart

 

 

 
Faculty of Science

 

Link person

 

Throughout 2006-07

 

Biological Sciences

 

Linda Watkinson

 

No response

 

Chemistry

 

Anthea Pablow

 

No further contact

 

Computer Science

 

Richard Worsley

 

(9 Feb 07) Meeting with new Senior Tutor. Some subsequent contacts by email

 

Engineering

 

Shirley Crookes

 

No further contact

 

Mathematics

 

Anthea Pablow

 

(Nov 06 )Received email from Staff Development Officer expressing appreciation for attendance at staff meeting. Request was made for suggestions for a future meeting to which a response was sent.

 

(09 Aug 07) Invitation received to speak to the group about basic counselling skills.

 

Statistics

 

Richard Worsley

 

No further contact since last year

 

Physics

 

Samantha Tarren

 

(18 Apr 07) email exchanges (to Peter Byrd) from Academic member of staff suggesting pre-emptive support groups for specific issues

 

Psychology

 

Samantha Tarren

 

(Aug 07) Email to UCS Secretary re amendment to student handbook with regard to services offered

 

Warwick HRI

 

Linda Watkinson

 

(15 Nov 06) workshop for staff on confidentiality, boundaries and referral procedure

 

 

 
Faculty of Social Studies

 

Link person

 

Throughout 2006-07

 

Business

 

Shirley Crookes

 

Continued email correspondence with the Postgraduate sector.

 

Economics

 

Anthea Pablow

 

No response

 

Education

 

Shirley Crookes

 

Attended team meeting September 06 Continued email correspondence

 

Law

 

Richard Worsley

 

June, 2007, a number of contacts with Senior Tutor, in order to discuss follow up to Annual Report. In process of arranging meeting with new ST.

 

Philosophy

 

Richard Worsley

 

A number of specific referrals over the year.

 

PAIS

 

Richard Worsley

 

May, 2007. Email conversation with ST. In process of arranging a visit to meet departmental tutors.

 

Sociology (inc Gender Studies and Health and Social Studies)

 

Linda Watkinson

 

Feb 06 Invited to Departmental Meeting. Various e-mail telephone contacts. July 06 New counselling page devised for Sociology handbook.

 

 

 
Faculty of Medicine

 

Link person

 

Throughout 2006-07

 

Medicine

 

Richard Worsley

 

Increasing levels of contact, including being copied in to pastoral care issues. Specific contacts and meetings on 24/10/06, 12/02/07, and 26/03/07.

 

 

 Recommendations

 

  • attempt to engage those departments who are not making full use of the Departmental Consultancy Initiative

     

 

 2.2     Email Counselling (ECS)

 

Introduction

 

After thorough research and specific training throughout academic year 2005-06, this year the Email Counselling Service (ECS) pilot was launched live on the website for the start of the academic year in October 2006. 

 

 

 A decision was taken to adopt minimal marketing and advertising of the service other than to introduce it on the UCS website on the left navigation panel of the home page.   Clicking on the link from Student Information (the service is not available to staff) lists ‘email counselling’ which shows a range of FAQs which if clicked then opens a section ‘email counselling registration (including agreement)’.  There is an online registration form in which users are required to click to agree to the ‘conditions’ and then, after completing statistical data, can submit their registration.  Immediate notification is received by the submitter with a request to submit their first email. Guidance is given as to useful content for submitting the first email.  All emails are replied to on Mondays (term time) if received before 10.00am. 

 

 

 Three hours are set aside by 2 specifically-trained email counsellors to work on the email counselling project.  At the beginning of the academic year most of the hours were used to set up the project, hone the text on the website and on setting up appropriate administrative systems both electronically and in hard copy.   The lap top computer was used and set live to be effective to allow both counsellors to co-work and effectively supervise the casework from one room, thus also serving to maximise the use of room availability.

 

 

 The FAQs, agreement, and general logistical details have been amended throughout the academic year as appropriate. 

 

 

 Throughout the pilot academic year 43 clients submitted registrations for email counselling.  NB No marketing or publicity was undertaken of the email counselling service other than the information on the Counselling Service website. 

 

 

 Client profile

 

Gender: The gender spilt for those using the ECS is similar to that for face to face (f2f) counselling, with slightly more use by females (ECS 76%:23%, f2f 66%:33%) which is contrary to expectation as it was anticipated that more males may be attracted to ECS.

 

Age: It was anticipated that the ECS may attract the younger age groups of students and the majority of clients were in the 18-21 year old age group, but contrary to expectation, 45% came from older age groups (18% over 26 years of age). 

 

Disability: Again, contrary to expectations, there were no users who indicated that they were disabled.  It was anticipated that the ECS may be attractive to those whose disability might affect their ability to access f2f counselling.

 

Ethnicity: 74% indicated that their ethnicity was ‘white’, similar to 76% in f2f counselling.  It was anticipated that the ECS may attract a higher percentage of non-white ethnicities who may feel ECS is more appropriate to meet their needs and present less stigma.

 

Student origin: 67% of students are home students with 33% being EU or international (14% and 19% respectively).  This compares to 82% of home f2f students and 18% EU and international.  This 15% increase from f2f to ECS may be significant as the UCS endeavours to attract more non-home students to use its services.

 

Course by faculty:

 

Faculty

 

Percentage of clients

 

Arts

 

28%

 

Science

 

30%

 

Social Studies

 

32%

 

Medicine

 

10%

 

It was anticipated that the ECS may attract students particularly from the science faculty which is again not the case.

 

Level of study: 62% of ECS users were undergraduates; 24% were studying at Masters level and 14% were PhD students.

 

Year of study:  A significant proportion of ECS users were in their first year of study (44%) whereas 26% were in 2nd and 26% in 3rd year (the rest are in year 4).  All ECS users were full time students rather than the part-time status that it was anticipated the ECS may attract.

 

Retention: 28% of ECS users are not ‘definitely saying on at University’ when they register for counselling.

 

Usage

 

Publicity: Not surprisingly due to the nature of the medium, 72% of users knew about the ECS from the website although 28% heard about the service by word of mouth from GP, nurse, tutor, etc.

 

Referral:  As with f2f use, most (77%) clients self referred to the service.   GP referral was 12% and personal tutor referral was 7% which indicates perhaps that the ECS is beginning to be in the repertoire for referral from others.

 

Exchanges: Over the academic year, a total of 336 email counselling exchanges occurred (an exchange is counted as an email received by the ECS, or an email sent by the ECS).  The average number of exchanges per client was 8.  One client had (an exceptional) 40 exchanges.  12 clients had over 10 exchanges.  31 had less than 10 exchanges.

 

Issue:  The issues brought to the ECS were categorised using the AUCC f2f definitions.

 

 

 

 Overall, in comparison with f2f counselling statistics, there is a slight increase in presentation of academic concerns but self/identity, anxiety and depression are still prevalent issues.  Eating disorders were highly represented in the ECS issue presentation.

 

Severity: The severity of issue worked on in the ECS is calculated as with f2f statistics using the AUCC severity categorisation scale where 1 is mild ranging up 7 as incapacitating.  The ECS statistics were as follows:

 

 

Conclusion

 

Key impressions of email counselling by the counsellors is that

 

  • On average: to read, create the reply, check the reply (with supervision if necessary) and attend to the appropriate administration and screen breaks, (ie 1 client) takes approximately 55 minutes.

     

  • Co-working is necessary – it would be impossible, potentially unethical and certainly unpleasant to work solo effectively

     

  • The ‘counselling’ is inevitably more directive and guidance-based with an underpinning of empathy and understanding as imperative

     

  • The statistics generally show that the ECS has not attracted the sort of client profile anticipated.

     

  • Judging by the interest and queries from other University counselling services, the counsellors are pleased to be pioneering the venture for Warwick University

     

 

 Users of the ECS were polled for their feedback.  A selection of comments includes:

 

  • when asked what the most useful aspect of email counselling

     

‘The act of writing things down was helpful in itself, but the positive feedback I got from the counsellor (suggestions as to how to cope and think about things that I'm doing) were even more helpful’

 

  • when asked what was unhelpful about the ECS

     

‘It's a shame that it stops over the holidays - obviously, the things that trouble people during term time don't just go away because lectures have finished’

 

  • when asked ‘What made you choose email counselling, rather than face-to-face counselling?

     

‘Nervousness about talking about things face-to-face, and a hectic schedule’

 

  • when asked if you would recommend the ECS

     

‘I'd say that it's a great service. It gave me the chance to think clearly about my problems and I've learnt some good ways of coping with difficult feelings and situations’

 

 

 Overall the email counselling service was an effective and valuable addition to the UCS.  It is the first of a range of methods of alternative provision which the UCS intends to develop in the future 

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Consider the ECS operating throughout vacations

     

 

 2.3     Systems and Procedures/IT Management

 

Throughout the academic year the systems and procedures that ensure the smooth-running of the UCS are constantly monitored and amended as required.  In December 2006 the UCS launched the pilot on-line registration (using Formsbuilder) which allows those wanting counselling to register without having to complete a paper form.  Initially the link to the online form was not made live as there were concerns that registrations would be submitted without forethought.  After trialling this and collating the feedback from users it was decided to publish the live link.  Registrations did not increase exponentially as on-line users were navigated through a series of sections on the website before accessing the on-line registration link.  In fact, this afforded the opportunity to ensure necessary information regarding the counselling process was usefully read, particularly the ‘preparing for counselling’ information which helps to ensure the service is the most appropriate source of help for the issues concerned.  The benefits have been not only in the modernising of the system from the users’ perspective – users are generally familiar and comfortable with on-line forms – but also the collation of data for statistical monitoring is considerably more accessible. 

 

 

 The UCS website is continually maintained by a member of the counselling team and, on receipt of specific training, the homepage was completely overhauled in line with the contemporary University style.  All web references were hyperlinked for ease of access by users and the separation of the site into 3 distinct sections was achieved (‘student information’; ‘staff counselling’ and ‘information for staff’).  This afforded further differentiation to begin to be made from the familiar face to face counselling and the other services such as email counselling, group therapy, self help and workshops offered by the UCS to encourage users to perceive the UCS as a comprehensive University Service   A monthly ‘update’ beige box was added to the right content offering up-to-date news about the UCS.  This has been particularly useful in alerting users to any new services that the UCS has on offer.  A graphic clock was added to the web counter which was regularly updated to show the anticipated wait-time from registration to first counselling appointment.  The contact details were streamlined with hyperlinks through to the Student Development and Support Centre in University House and the email address was labelled as the specific business/administration contact rather than the address for email counselling. The link for ‘Specific Issue Information’ was developed and a range of topics were researched, written and added to the site (email counselling; self confidence; self help references; referral from GPs).  The Clinical Psychologist on placement for 2006-07 was tasked with over-viewing the UCS webpage and as such all external links were checked for currency and validity.  Information regarding group counselling was transferred to the web page.  The student information FAQs were updated and the information and link of ‘how to register’ was written and published.  The Staff Counselling section of the site was afforded less focus but quotes from the previous year’s Service Evaluation survey were published to encourage staff of all classes of employment to make use of the service.  The on-line registration information and form was amended to be relevant to staff and was available from December 2006.  The ‘Information for Staff’ section was monitored but due to the delay in appointing a new Senior Tutor it was not possible to revamp this section of the site fully.  However, a link to the complete Annual Report and Service Evaluation for 2005-06 was published as a hyperlink on this section of the site in the spirit of transparency and to promote the UCS as a professional comprehensive service. 

 

 

 The Service Agreement completed by all new clients immediately prior to their first appointment was amended and edited in line with new systems and reduced to a single sheet to be signed by hand as an agreement of the ‘terms and conditions’ of entering the counselling room.  This covers the structure for counselling appointments, the confidentiality policy in simple but clear detail; the procedures for cancellations or non attendance of appointments and the UCS’ policy on record keeping.

 

 

 A system was devised using an Excel spreadsheet to collate statistics for each new client to detail the number of days wait from registration to first appointment each week of term and throughout vacation.  This form also serves to indicate how many new clients each counsellor is taking on each week and, when collated, was used weekly to calculate the number of days wait published on the homepage of the UCS website and termly to monitor patterns of registrations and wait times throughout.  Although a helpful guide, the web-counter figure calculated is retrospective so may not be wholly useful to newly registering clients and the days wait during vacations skews the accuracy of this calculation.

 

 

 The Service Evaluation Questionnaires were sent out via email as a web link and the procedures for activating each questionnaire to be sent out was modified to be via email rather than handwritten to streamline efficiency. 

 

 

 The systems for allocating appointments remain as per the previous year.  This is a time consuming process for the Departmental Secretaries as appointments available are offered by email to those on the waiting list in strict order of registration submission.  However, if the appointment is unacceptable, the next person waiting is offered the appointment, until it is filled.  Offers are made with a 24 hour decision period before the appointment is re-offered and the original person taken off the waiting list.  At the end of the academic year a mini questionnaire was devised using Formsbuilder and sent out on-line to each of those who had registered but not taken up the offer of a counselling appointment.  Although the response rate was predictably low, the findings were interesting and warrant careful consideration.  42% gave as their reason for not taking up their appointment that ‘an appointment was not available when [they] felt they needed it most’ and 25% felt that they ‘couldn’t usefully undertake counselling as [they] needed to focus on exams/revision’.  4% felt too scared/anxious about undergoing counselling and another 4% felt they were able to get the help they needed elsewhere (of those, 40% found help instead with friend/family; 12% through their tutor and a further 12% through their GP.  8% found help through the self help resource centre, 8% the mental health co-ordinator and 8% via private counselling).  Comments included the general sense that the wait for appointments is too long and that more counselling staff were required to be available, particularly during peak times and during vacation periods.

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Reconsider the calculation formula used for the web counter

     

  • Combine the online registration form with the excel spreadsheet that details wait times and allocation, to streamline the administration

     

  • focus on overhauling both the ‘Staff Information’  and ‘Staff Counselling’ sections of the webpage

     

  • Continue to develop the website to be more interactive, user-friendly and informative

     

  • Monitor those who are taken off the waiting list before taking up an appointment

     

  • Consider ways of streamlining appointment allocation

     

  • Ensure adequate counselling staff in vacation times and during peak demand

     

 

 

 

 

 

 2.4     Professional Placement Provision

 

Throughout each academic year the UCS runs a placement program for both Clinical Psychologists and Counsellors who are in training.  As well as meeting the challenge to work where appropriate with the local community, the UCS is able to offer more contact counselling hours and so taking on placements in training is a creative way to manage resources as placements are not remunerated.  It also provides an opportunity to develop professional skills through the clinical supervision offered to trainees from within the core counselling staff.  In line with AUCC guidelines trainees are not viewed as supplementary staff and care is taken to ensure that their placement is an enriching experience for them.  Placements contribute by bringing fresh ideas and help ensure the UCS is dynamic, evolving service.  As an educational establishment, it is also seen as appropriate to support the development of the professional community and the UCS is a well-respected professional specialist placement provider in the area.

 

 

 In 2006-07 one Clinical Psychologist and 2 counselling trainees were appointed.  Both professions have different routes to placements within the UCS.

 

 

 Clinical Psychology

 

For the last 10 years links have been developed with the Clinical Psychology Doctorate courses run by Birmingham University and Coventry and Warwick University.  The UCS is able to offer a specialist placement opportunity to clinical psychologists in the final (4th) year of their training and attracts those who wish to develop their therapeutic skills and competency.  The UCS is invited to attend the annual Clinical Psychology Placement Fair (March) each year to attract interest to the placement the UCS is able to offer.  Those who express an interest are invited to attend a pre placement visit. This year 3 trainees elected to meet with the supervising counsellor (Samantha Tarren) at the UCS where a detailed discussion of the placement and its expectations took place and an interview was carried out.  There follows a complex procedure dictated by the course-holding universities, whereby each trainee nominates their preferences for specialist placements and the Course Directors allocate.  This year we were fortunate to be offered Theresa Jeffrey who had a keen interest in working with the UCS.  Theresa started her 6 month placement at the beginning of the first term and worked with the UCS for 3 days per week.  In-house supervision by a qualified case work supervisor on the UCS team was offered due to the specialist nature of the context.  At the end of her placement Theresa summarised:

 

 

 ‘I found this placement beneficial in terms of my professional and personal development.  The department offered me the opportunity to learn and enhance my therapeutic skills and professional practice within their setting.  They made me feel very welcome and treated me as a colleague rather than a student throughout my placement.

 

 

 Counselling the student population was challenging but on the whole very enjoyable.  The students (mostly) bring intellect, enthusiasm and motivation to the therapeutic interaction which is harder to find within the NHS population, with whom I had become accustomed to working with…I would recommend this placement to colleagues and future trainees.  It offers the opportunity to work with a varied and motivated client group.  Due to the volume of students who access the service and the constant demand for services this placement also gave me a more realistic picture as to what it might be like to work as a qualified practitioner i.e. working therapeutically with 5 clients a day.  Although this was hard work it hasn’t put me off which I think is a real tribute to the counselling service.’

 

 

 Counselling

 

Counsellors in training are required to undertake a specific number of counselling contact hours (usually 150) alongside their academic theoretical input and professional and personal development.  Whilst colleges and other institutions attempt to sustain links with agencies and other placement providers in their locale this appears thwarted by their contracted time restraints.  However, throughout the year enquires were made to the UCS from students from a range of institutions seeking placements such as Cambridge University, Rugby College, Birmingham University, North Warwickshire College, etc.  The UCS at Warwick University is able to offer a comprehensive placement to those trainees who meet our criteria, which include:

 

·         A proven capacity to work with clients in a counselling context

 

·         Appropriate competence and confidence to work with clients who are not pre-assessed

 

·         Ongoing registration and attendance at a reputable counselling training course at the minimum level of 2nd year Diploma or equivalent

 

·         A commitment to offer one day per week during University academic term times (to include up to 4 client-contact hours, an hour for administration and one hour of supervision)

 

·         A willingness to work within a team

 

·         A disclosure of any affiliation with the University of Warwick (to minimise conflicting boundary issues)

 

Potential placements are offered:

 

·         The experience of working as part of an established Counselling Service

 

·         An opportunity to work with a range of clients within the Higher Education Sector

 

·         In-house supervision for one hour per week with a qualified casework supervisor

 

·         The chance to work as part of a multi-model team including 5 counsellors and a receptionist/secretary

 

·         A commitment to support trainee needs

 

 

 A flyer with such details is sent out to all local institutions (April) and counselling trainees are invited to apply.  The application process includes completing an application from which is then short listed against the person specification and placement description.  Interviews are held (June) to appoint the most suitable candidates.  The number of trainees taken on by the UCS is largely determined by room availability.  Each counselling trainee works for 1 day per week during term times throughout the academic year.

 

 

 Two counselling placements were appointed for 2006-07, 1 each from Solihull College: Diploma in Integrative Counselling, and Warwickshire College: Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling.  Both trainees went on to successfully complete their courses and were awarded their Diplomas.  They each offered a reflection on their experience of working within the UCS:

 

           

 

‘The counselling placement at Warwick University Counselling Service is an extremely valuable experience for a counselling diploma student. I found that working alongside experienced professionals, who each made time to offer support, encouragement and guidance, gave me the confidence to develop my own counselling style and enhanced my theoretical learning. The entire placement, from the interview process through to the end of placement evaluation, was clearly structured and well supported. The weekly clinical supervision was well structured, challenging and demanding, ensuring my safety and the safety of my clients. In the final weeks, a supervision report was negotiated and agreed in support of my future application for BACP accreditation. I feel privileged to have been a part of the team for one academic year and, subsequently, have encouraged other students to apply.’      GB

 

 

 

‘Being on placement at Warwick University Counselling Service was a rich learning experience for me.  It provided a breadth of client experience in terms of the client group and the diversity of issues facing them.  I developed further my understanding of multicultural issues by working with International students in particular and found the weekly clinical supervision of my caseload enhanced my ability to apply theory to practice and improve my counselling skills and confidence as a practitioner.    

 

 

 The counselling team were welcoming and open, as well as professional and efficient.  Working with such a highly professional and knowledgeable team gave me new and valuable insights into working in an educational and professional context, which I had not experienced before having only worked as a volunteer in the charity sector previously.

 

 

 I am very grateful to Warwick University, Samantha, Shirley and the rest of the team for the opportunity to develop my skills, knowledge and ability to counsel more effectively.’     BD 

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Continue to forge links with the local community in terms of providing valuable placement opportunities

     

 

 2.5     Therapy Group Work

 

During the academic year 2006-07, 3 therapeutic groups ran. 2 ran in parallel for fifteen weeks from week 6 to week 20 of the year. Each ran for 1.5 hours per session, and was facilitated by Linda Watkinson and Richard Worsley. This timing offered maximum space within the year, allowing for referrals to happen in weeks 1 – 5, and ending before the exam season began.

 

 

 In the summer term, Linda Watkinson facilitated a 10 week group. Whilst experimental in timing it was a response to identified student need at that particular time.  Linda established that members of the group were able to use the shorter time of 10 sessions adequately.

 

 

 This pattern completes a 3 year cycle of an experienced group therapist mentoring a group therapist in training. In the coming academic year, it is anticipated that the pattern will be repeated with another member of the team, while Linda will run another group by herself. In this, we have moved successfully from a ‘2-facilitator’ model, to a single facilitator, but with the opportunity to use 2 staff for continuing professional development purposes. The team have thus become more efficient, and developed an informal strategy.

 

 

 The 2 parallel, 15 session groups had 9 members while the summer, 10 session group had 7 members. The 15 session groups and the 10 session group each completed an evaluation questionnaire where 6 replies were received from 9 people from the 15 session groups and 2 replies were received from 7 people from the 10 session group.

 

 

 Evaluation feedback summary

 

  • There is benefit in including information about group work on the website

     

  • It is useful to form groups from one-to-one clients

     

  • The contracting process is useful, and that facilitator style was helpful, and allowed a detailed review of communication of information about groups to potential members

     

  • The therapy was felt to be helpful by all members. On a Likert scale of 1 = unhelpful to 5 = helpful, the mean reply was 4

     

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Continue to offer group therapy as a service to the university population.

     

  • Disseminate the learning throughout the team 

     

  • Promote additional training to further enhance the skills and expertise of a member of the team that can then be disseminated to other counsellors who are facilitating therapy groups

     

 

 2.6     Workshop Provision

 

Over the year the UCS provided a range of workshops for students.  3 members of the UCS staff team researched, developed and delivered the workshops.  Workshops ran for durations from 1 hour to 2 hours.  The name ‘workshop’ was used this year as opposed to groups/study skills groups to differentiate from therapy groups. The Departmental Secretaries took responsibility for organising the venues and timetabling the workshops in conjunction with the Counsellors.  Workshops were held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at a variety of times to ascertain the most popular/well attended.  Publicity this year included a slide on the plasma screen in the Learning Grid as well as a new dedicated page on the UCS website.  Posters were created and posted around the UCS and on relevant University House display boards, as well as sent to each academic department for dissemination and display.  Topics included stress management; essay writing; time management; seminar skills; exam and revision skills; coping with exam anxiety and a workshop offering strategies to cope with ‘tough times’.  The UCS experimented with different methods of booking workshops (booking in advance and booking 24 hours before the workshop) in order to ensure maximum attendance. Group participants suggested what would be helpful would be the capacity to book in advance with an email from the UCS sent out 24 hours in advance of the workshop but administering this may be time-consuming.

 

 

 Of those who completed workshop evaluation forms, the collated statistics show that no particular year of study attracts participants to the groups as all years are represented.  Postgraduates attend almost as frequently as undergraduates.  The venue was average rated at 3 on a scale of 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent.  Venues used were rooms CMR0.3 and CMR0.1 – often they were considered inappropriate as they were not private enough (adjacent to the refectory) and often cold and noisy.  All respondents indicated that coming to the workshops had helped to learn or refresh strategies/techniques for dealing with their particular difficulty and afforded a better understanding of their issue. Only a small percentage (8%) indicated that attending the workshop made them less likely to need counselling.  85% of respondents rated the workshop leader and the information provided as 4 or 5 on the scale. 

 

 

 Suggestions for further workshops as indicated by respondents included maintaining motivation and concentration; information for mature students with families; coping strategies for international students eg socialising with British colleagues; organising yourself; staying in control; and some respondents mentioned the need for more one-to-one counselling appointments being more readily available to work with individual personal issues.

 

 

 Overall the study skills workshops were well attended, predominantly by international students.   A didactic delivery is often more appreciated than an experiential approach but a combination of the two is effective, especially in the stress management/relaxation workshops.  In general, if counselling is required and requested, attendance at a workshop does not alleviate the need for counselling, but can be used as an interim measure.  University staff who contacted the UCS requesting appointments for students seemed to appreciate having something constructive and more immediate to offer to their student alongside the wait for a counselling appointment.

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • consider providing issue specific workshops, eg depression, anxiety management, confidence, motivation, self esteem, etc

     

  • re-design the existing workshops to have wider appeal

     

  • consider liaising with the Warwick Skills Programme etc to ensure no overlap of provision

     

  • consider modifying workshop advertising and publicity

     

  • amend registration eg on line registration with automatic reminders

     

  • seek out more suitable venues

     

 

 2.7     Self-Help Resources

 

A selection of the most relevant books/resources were recommended by the Clinical Psychologist on her elective placement (2005-06) who carried out a comprehensive review of self help resources available nationally.  Funding was secured from the Senior Tutor’s Fund and after negotiation with staff in the Learning Grid; the books were purchased and eventually processed through the Central University Library systems to ensure they were appropriately catalogued.   Ultimately the 53 books/pamphlets/tapes were displayed on the shelf marked ‘Education’ on the first floor of the Learning Grid in University House.  Each book is marked with a yellow sticker for ease of reference.  It was agreed that the order would be duplicated and a set of the books purchased (from a BioMed-grid budget) would also be on display in the Bio-Med-grid.  All resources are for reference only and there is no capability to monitor use. The website of the Learning Grid homepage gives an individual tab to ‘counselling’ and shows photographs of the shelf of books as they are on display and offers a hyperlink through to UCS homepage.  There is also an invitation to provide feedback on the resources on offer and to add suggestions for further titles. 

 

 

 Of the 53 titles initially purchased, as of 19th June 2007, 40 remain on the shelf.  Over the academic year 2006-07 no further funding was made available neither to order any new titles nor to replenish missing titles. 

 

 

 A ‘Bibliotherapy’ of all titles researched is published and available on the UCS webpage.  Hard paper copies are printed and available in the waiting area and in each counselling room.  These are made available on request where appropriate.  The bibliotherapy details the topic covered, in alphabetical order (ranging form alcohol use through to self-harm), the book title, with a general summary and comment, the author, publisher, ISBN code and the price (as of 2006 from amazon.com).  All resources that have been purchased and are available in the Learning Grid are highlighted in orange. 

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

·         secure funding to restock and add to the resource available

 

·         Consider exploring more comprehensive use of the resources (such as Cardiff University Counselling Service who offer a’ book prescription’ service to clients as appropriate)

 

 

 2.8     Evaluation

 

Evaluating the workings of the UCS is now an established activity.  This year procedures were modified to be fully on-line to simplify the way that feedback is collected from service users and to streamline the efficiency of how the information is collated and analysed.  The full Service Evaluation Report for 2006-07 is published as an appendix to this report.

 

 

 2.9     Outreach Program

 

Although counselling staff expend the majority of their working time in delivering counselling to clients, the UCS recognise it is an important aspect of all University Counselling services to sustain a profile outside of the confines of the counselling rooms.  To this end, throughout the academic year, the counselling staff, and in particular the Acting Head of Counselling undertook a range of activities both within and outside the University. 

 

 

 Induction talks were delivered to new resident tutors at the request of the new Head of Residential Life and also to International Students.  During Warwick University Open Days, talks were delivered to parents entitled ‘Helping the student adapt to university life’.  The positive praise and feedback from parents about these talks in particular are a testament to their value and usefulness, not least as excellent PR for the University as an institution that is not only aware of the emotional intelligence of its students but is proactively managing it.  A talk is also delivered to a local 6th form entitled ‘Transitions and adaptation to university life’ which is annually well-received and is deemed to be useful community outreach work by the UCS. 

 

Other work outside the University includes being invited to be involved in appointing new members of staff.  Throughout 2006-07 the AHoC has helped to shortlist and interview for counselling staff for the University of Coventry counselling service (June 2007) and was a member of the interview panel at the University of Central England (November and February 2007)

 

 

 The UCS also has a presence at the regional and national meetings of HUCS (Heads of University Counselling Services) a well-established branch of the professional association, AUCC.  This is essential to ensure involvement in policy discussion and decisions.  Discussion threads are also entered into on the HUCs mail base regularly. 

 

 

 As well as outreach outside the institution, the UCS strives to maintain a presence within the University outside of the specific welfare net.  Training was devised and delivered as invited by CAPD to Personal Tutors, alongside the Senior Tutor input.  CAPD also invited the AHoC to co-deliver training on Emotional Intelligence as a day workshop for staff. 

 

 

 There has also been involvement with the Warwick Future Ideas conference where a proposal was researched and submitted by the AHoC on providing training for staff and students on emotional intelligence and the day workshop to process all submissions was attended. 

 

 

 The UCS is actively involved in providing both ad hoc and scheduled consultancy supervision to non academic staff (eg careers; ancillary; NAGTY etc).  Frequent liaison with academic-related departments such as CAPD, WSC and WTC is also undertaken. 

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Continue to invite and encourage involvement in developing the profile of the UCS within and outside the institution

     

 

 2.10   Professional Development

 

The UCS team believes it essential that Warwick University is represented both locally and nationally at key conferences and similar events, as well as ensuring individual counsellors maintain the required level of continuous professional development to satisfy their professional membership and accreditation with BACP.  To these ends, UCS had representation at:

 

 

 AUCC Annual conference: ‘Lost in Space: Recovering Intimacy within Education’  Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester 25-28/06/07

 

BACP Annual Conference: 'It’s the Relationship that Matters' Business Design Centre, Islington. 06/10/06 - 07/10/06.

 

'Borderline Personality Disorder' Dr. L. Fagin, Consultant Psychiatrist. London Metropolitan University

 

'The Spirituality of Counselling, Coventry & Warwickshire BACP Group 06/12/06 (facilitated by RW of the UCS team)

 

‘Listening Skills’ workshop: Diocese of Ely 24/02/07, 24/03/07, 22/09/07 (facilitated by RW of the UCS team)

 

'The Concept of Evil in Pastoral Care and Counselling' Offa House, Leamington Spa. 15/03/07 (facilitated by RW of the UCS team)

 

‘Working with Post traumatic Stress Disorder’ Gill Ingram, University of Oxford, North Oxfordshire Counselling Group, Horton Post Graduate Centre, Banbury, 4/11/06

 

‘Alcohol Addiction and the Effect on Family Life’ provided by Al Anon: 08/03/07

 

‘Working with Family Groups’ Relate 14/07/07

 

‘Women in Violent Relationships’  Women's Refuge group 13/09/07

 

'The Theory Behind the Practice',
New Place, Kenilworth, Cross modality counselling group Saturday mornings, bi-monthly

 

‘Does Therapy Exclude Spirituality?’ North Oxfordshire Counselling Group, Horton Post Graduate Centre Banbury, 11/01/07 (facilitated by LW of the UCS team)

 

‘Listening Skills’, Pastoral group, SREC, Banbury, 1/11/06 (facilitated by LW of the UCS team)

 

‘Relational Depth with Reference to Buber’, Coventry Diocesan Retreat House, 10/05/07, (facilitated by LW and RW of the UCS team)

 

‘Consultancy, Counselling and Training’ Focus, Banbury (facilitated by LW of the UCS team) ‘Metamorphosis - a Journey from Comedian to Therapist’ Ruby Wax, London. 03/03/07

 

‘Secrets and Knives - Therapeutic Approaches to Self Harm’ Warwick University 18/05/07

 

‘Work/life balance’ Personnel Office Brown bag lunch 6/10/06

 

‘The Work of the International Office’, International Office Brown bag lunch 30/1/07

 

 ‘Management training’ Part 2, Mentor Group 1/12/06

 

‘Responses and Prevention in Student Suicide’ Universities (UK)/RaPSS 15/2/07

 

Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre CRaSAC Open Day 22/3/07

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Continue to support and encourage UCS staff in a range of CPD activities

     

 

 


 

3.0   Details and Analysis of Client Profile and Service Usage

 

NB all statistics are approximate and no responsibility can be taken for their absolute accuracy

 

 

 3.1 Client Profile

 

 

 Gender

 

 

 

 67% of clients were female and 33% male, exactly the same as the use by gender in 2005-06.  Although statistics are not available as to the gender ratio of the total university population ie including postgraduate students and staff members, the gender distribution of the undergraduate student population ratio is 1:1.  This indicates that male clients are under-represented in the UCS by 1/3 as a proportion of the population.  This is not unusual in the education sector throughout counselling services nationally (66% female, 34% male according to AUCC Annual Survey 03/04). This phenomenon is seen to be partly a cultural issue, ie females generally accessing talking therapies in the UK more than males. 

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • Consider exploring ideas that may attract more males to access the UCS.

     

 

 Age

 

 

The larges group of clients using the UCS are 21-25.  The total number of users aged between 18 and 20 (generally undergraduate age) makes up approximately 66% of the total usage.  Not unexpectedly, the majority of clients using the UCS are 18-20 years old.  There is a significant number (approximately 25%) who are 26+.

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • Consider specific information sheets and/or workshops for 26+ aged clients.

     

 

 

 

 Number of clients who consider themselves disabled

 

 

On the registration form clients are asked to indicate whether they consider themselves disabled with options of ‘no’, ‘yes, but do not require specific adjustments to enable me to attend’, or, ‘yes and I need specific adjustments to enable me to attend’.  The percentage of students who were classified as having a disability in 2006/07 was 4.07 whereas the population of the UCS clients who declare that they have ability that either does or does not require adjustment is 3.06.

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • Ensure continuing liaison with the Disability Co-ordinator staff

     

 

 

 

 Ethnicity

 

 

 

 The majority (76%) (slight reduction from 79% in 2005-06) of clients using the counselling service indicate that they consider their ethnic background to be white.  The category ‘white’ includes a wide variety of cultures from Europe and beyond.   The national average for clients who use university counselling services is traditionally below the proportionate representation for non-white ethnicities.

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • Continue to develop liaison with the International Office

     

 

 Classification of nationality

 

 

 

 Students were asked to identify their nationality classification (previously entitled ‘origin’) to indicate whether they were classed as home, EU or international.  The vast majority of student clients who use the UCS indicate they are classed as home students (80%, compared to 82% the previous year).  The University collates its figures by adding together UK and EU students.  With this in mind, the University has (very approximately) 3.75 times more home and EU students than international.  The UCS has 5.75 times more home and EU students than international.  This could indicate that international students are under-represented as users of the UCS.

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • Liaise closely with the International Office welfare providers to ensure the UCS is appropriately meeting the needs of students of all ethnicities and origins, as far as practicable

     

 

 Staff and Student Usage

 

 

 

 The majority of clients who make use of the UCS are students (90%, slight increase from 87% in 2005-06).  This is a ratio of approximately 9:1 whereas the population of the University holds an approximate ratio of 3:1 of students:staff who are eligible to use the UCS.  This may indicate that staff are under-using the service but this could be due to their active choice and ability to access other external resources or indeed the University’s provision for staff counselling offered by the Occupational Health Department.  The UCS is marketed to staff via an information leaflet about staff counselling which is sent out in the welcome pack via Personnel to all newly-appointed members of staff.  There is also a section on the UCS website dedicated to staff counselling, written and managed by the UCS. 

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • Liaise with OH and Personnel to ensure staff counselling provision is appropriate

     

 

 Course of study

 

This section shows the usage of the UCS by students from individual courses in each faculty.  The graphs show actual numbers of students.  High volume of usage could indicate an effective personal tutor system wherein students are encouraged to make full and efficient use of the UCS, or it could indicate a lack of engagement by students of their personal tutor system. 

 

 

 Faculty of Arts

 

 

 
2006-07 Faculty of Arts

 

% from each course

 

Translation and Comparative Cultural studies/Comparative American Studies

 

2.6%

 

Classics & Ancient History

 

5.3%

 

English and Comparative

 

11.5%

 

Film & TV

 

3.1%

 

French Studies

 

4.7%

 

German Studies

 

4.2%

 

History

 

2.3%

 

History of Art

 

8.8%

 

Italian

 

2.2%

 

Theatre Studies

 

9.9%

 

 

 

 

 70% of courses saw an increase in usage of the UCS.

 

 

 Faculty of Social Studies

 

 

 

 
Faculty of Social Studies

 

2006-07

 

% of UCS users from each course

 

Business

 

2.2%

 

Economics

 

3.3%

 

Education

 

2.7%

 

Law

 

2.3%

 

Philosophy

 

5.3%

 

PAIS

 

5.9%

 

Sociology etc

 

10.0%

 

 

 There was a significant increase in UCS usage by members of the Sociology course.  Only one course over the faculty saw a decrease in usage.

 

 

 Faculty of Science

 

 

 

 

 

 
Faculty of Science 

 

% of UCS users from each course

 

Biological Sciences

 

4.0%

 

Chemistry

 

2.6%

 

Computer Science

 

5.3% (UG only)

 

Engineering

 

2.5%

 

Mathematics

 

4.7%

 

Statistics

 

1.5%

 

Physics

 

4.6%

 

Psychology

 

4.1%

 

 

 There is an increase of 36% in usage from the previous year – 159 students from the Faculty of Science saw a counselling for face to face individual counselling throughout 2006-07 compared to 101 from 2005-06.  Every course shows an increase in usage, except psychology. 

 

 

 Faculty of Medicine

 

 

 The Faculty of Medicine has remained steady in terms of numbers using the UCS:

 

 

 
Medicine

 

2006-07

 

2005-06

 

Numbers using the UCS %

 

28 (ie 1.6%)

 

27

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • continue to develop the Departmental Consultancy Initiative

     

 

 Level of Course being Studied

 

 

The majority of student users of the UCS are undergraduates (74% compared to 71% the previous year) and the percentage of total student undergraduates enrolled at the University is 62%.  The percentage of clients who are postgraduates (masters and PhDs) is 26% whereas the percentage of the total student population who are postgraduate is 38%.  It could be surmised that postgraduates are slightly under-using the UCS.

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • ensure sufficient resources are in place to appropriately support postgraduates so that the UCS can consider strategies to attract more postgraduates to use the service

     

 

 Year of Study

 

 

The statistics reveal that there is no significant point in a student’s career in which seeking counselling is vastly more prevalent.  The fact that more 1st years than other years use the service may be due to the fact that all courses have a first year.

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • ensure information about the UCS is available to all years

     

 

 Full/part-time students

 

 
Full-and Part-time Students

 

Full-time

student

97%

Part-time

Student

3%

Full-time student

Part-time Student

 

Only 3% of students identified as part-time students rather than full-time.  Information is not available to check this percentage against the overall percentage of part-time students to ensure the UCS is adequately reaching the part-time student population.  This percentage is exactly the same as the previous year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Staff Classification

 

 

Staff were asked to indicate whether they were classed as academic, academic-related, administrative or ancillary.  Academic staff make up 20% of the total staff employed by the University; 36% of staff users of the UCS class themselves as academic (38% 2005-06).  There was a significant increase (11%) since 2005-06 on the percentage of usage by ancillary staff.  There appears to be a relatively even spread throughout the staff range (although no figures are available for numbers to calculate percentages of academic related, administrative or ancillary staff UCS users against staff population).

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • continue to liaise with Personnel to ensure all staff are aware of the UCS

     

 

 Full-time/Part-time Staff

 

 

 

 The University employs a ratio of 2.7:1  - full time:part time staff (figures from 2005-06).  This would indicate that the UCS is slightly under-represented by part-time members of staff. 

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • liaise with Personnel and Occupational Health to ensure all staff are informed about the UCS

     

 

 


 

3.2     Service Usage

 

 

 Publicity

 

 

 

 Users of the UCS are asked to indicate how they know about the service.  34% of respondents were told about the service, ie through ‘word of mouth’ (this may include referrers such as a GP, tutor, etc) and the same percentage locate the service on the website – an increase from 29% from 2005-06).  Significantly few are aware of the service through a poster or leaflet, probably due to the limited amount of paper publicity posted by the UCS.  No paper posters are displayed around campus.  Limited signage is visible only when inside the atrium of University House where the UCS is housed.

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • ensure website is maintained to be accurate and informative at all times

     

 

 Referral

 

 

 

 Users are asked to indicate who referred them to the service.  The percentage of self-referrals (45%) is slightly less than 2005-06 (50%).  The referral percentage from resident tutors is still significantly low (1% this year, 3% last year) given that resident tutors are often involved with the front line management of distressed students.  This may be further evidence to support the notion that the UCS needs to be more involved in the training of new resident tutors to improve the referral relationship.  Despite the initiative launched 2005-06 to develop departmental links, the referrals from personal tutors have increased insignificantly from 15 to 17%.   NB ‘other’ as defined in this category includes: the Senior Tutor, the Disability Co-ordinator and other unspecified.

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Ensure comprehensive information is available (on the website) to aid self referrers

     

  • liaise with the Head of Residential Life to be involved in the training program for resident tutors

     

  • Persist with the departmental consultancy links

     

 

 Retention

 

 

 

 Most clients indicate that they are definitely or probably staying on at the University (89%, 86% 2005-06) however a significant percentage indicate that they are unsure or are considering leaving (9%).  According to the UCS’s exit statistics after counselling, only 1.2% of those using the service for face-to-face counselling subsequently left the University (both staff and students).  This could indicate that counselling may be a factor in retaining 9.8% of clients who, when entering counselling, indicate they are either considering leaving or state that they are ‘unsure and could stay or go’.  

 

 

 Recommendation

 

  • Continue to monitor and perhaps develop exit/retention statistics

     

 

 Overview of appointments offered

 

Throughout the academic year 2006-7 a total of 2418 face-to-face counselling appointments were allocated to 552 people of the University of Warwick – 498 students and 54 staff. As well as these face to face counselling appointments, the UCS also offered other students email counselling, group therapy and participation in the various workshops rolled out over the academic year. 

 

 

 Patterns of Numbers of New Registrations for Counselling 2006-07 (showing 2005-06 figures for comparison)

 

 

 
2006-07

 

2005-06

 

2006-07

 

2005-06

 

2006-07

 

2005-06

 

week

 

term 1

 

 

 
term 2

 

 

 
term 3

 

 

 
1

 

27

 

24

 

27

 

13

 

18

 

14

 

2

 

23

 

25

 

26

 

17

 

12

 

21

 

3

 

19

 

20

 

15

 

17

 

7

 

8

 

4

 

16

 

17

 

15

 

15

 

7

 

11

 

5

 

15

 

17

 

18

 

11

 

3

 

8

 

6

 

15

 

11

 

13

 

16

 

9

 

11

 

7

 

15

 

23

 

24

 

10

 

10

 

7

 

8

 

20

 

16

 

27

 

20

 

16

 

3

 

9

 

18

 

16

 

24

 

19

 

1

 

6

 

10

 

20

 

10

 

8

 

9

 

6

 

8

 

 

 

 

 Graph to show pattern of new registrations for 2006-07

 

 

(The graph does not show registrations that occur throughout vacations.)

 

 

 The graph shows

 

  • The peak time for new registrations is week 1 in terms 1 and 2 and week 8 in term 2 – each of these weeks the UCS received 27 new registrations.

     

  • The average number of new registrations per week throughout the terms are:

     

    • Term 1: 19

       

    • Term 2: 20

       

    • Term 3:  9

       

 

 
  • The average number of new registrations submitted per week over the whole academic year is: 16

     

 

 
  • There is a significant drop in new registrations in term 3, particularly in weeks 3, 4 and 5 and again in weeks 9 and 10 – probably due to the examination period.  A similar pattern was evident in the previous academic year.

     

 

 
  • Term 2 saw the highest number of new registrations (197) followed by term 1 (188).

     

 

 
  • Peak times over the year include:

     

    • Term 1: weeks 1, 2, 8 and 10

       

    • Term2: weeks 1,2,7,8 and 9

       

    • Term 3: weeks 1 and 8

       

 

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • consider matching staffing levels to meet high demand at specific times of high volume of new registrations

     

 

 

 

 Days wait from registration to first appointment offered

 

 

 

 

 Average days wait throughout academic year 2006-07

 

week

 

term 1

 

term 2

 

term 3

 

1

 

3

 

17

 

24

 

2

 

9

 

14

 

29

 

3

 

10

 

12

 

21

 

4

 

13

 

16

 

21

 

5

 

12

 

17

 

40

 

6

 

12

 

20

 

44

 

7

 

13

 

19

 

47

 

8

 

18

 

19

 

10

 

9

 

17

 

22

 

10

 

10

 

19

 

24

 

10

 

 

 The number of days wait was calculated as the number of business days (working days) from the date of registration to the date of the first appointment being offered.  Although the majority of clients are able to confirm the first appointment offered, some choose to decline (perhaps due to a timetable clash, etc).  In these circumstances, the system allows for the next available appointment to be offered.  The UCS endeavours to meet new clients’ needs in terms of the time and date of appointments but logistically this is complex.  Appointments are offered into the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays to provide flexibility.    The UCS is keen to ensure maximum efficiency by ensuring all available appointment slots are filled.  New clients are encouraged to prioritise their counselling appointment and indeed the rate of overall non-attendance is low compared to other University counselling services nationally.  During vacations, the number of days wait is recorded but not included in these calculations as the figures are distorted so would skew any meaningful statistics.

 

 

 The number of days wait for each client is recorded and then each week is averaged.  The average number is the number that is displayed on the web counter on the home page of the UCS website and is referred to throughout all UCS literature in response to a FAQ (frequently asked question).  Whilst it is impossible to calculate how long an individual’s wait may be, this is an accurate, albeit retrospective average to help new clients gauge their potential wait time. 

 

 

 The peak for waiting was term 3 in week 7 (47 days).  This is unusual and may be due to a combination of the reduced staffing at that time due to unforeseen circumstances and the backlog of waiting created by increased demand towards the end of term 2.

 

Term

 

Average wait 2006-07

 

Average wait 2005-06

 

1

 

13

 

10

 

2

 

18

 

20

 

3

 

26

 

10

 

 

 The average wait over the academic year was 19 business days

 

 

 Recommendations:

 

  • Change the way the days’ wait are calculated to provide a number that matches experience (ie to include weekend days as days waiting).

     

  • Pre-empt the long wait periods by considering staffing levels to pick up new registrations and prevent the longer wait times

     

 

 

 

 Numbers Offered Appointments

 

Numbers of new first appointments offered throughout the academic year:

 

 

 Throughout the year 552 people arranged at least one face to face counselling appointment (566 were offered in 2005-06 but no email counselling service was available and there were fewer groups).  This equates to 3.1% of the student population registered for face to face counselling (others may have used the UCS in a different way).  1.1% of staff registered for face to face counselling with the UCS. 2.6% of the total combined student and staff population used the UCS for individual face to face counselling.  Many more will have used it less directly through the other resources available.  Although this is lower than the national average of approximately 7% of student populations nationally who seek counselling, this may be due to the strategically managed low profile of the UCS adopted in order to ensure demand does not excessively outstrip supply.  (See Service Evaluation Report in Appendices).

 

 

 Number of times seen

 

 

The majority of clients are scheduled for 1-3 sessions.  The average number of sessions each client is scheduled is 4.9 (4.5 in 2005-06, 5.4 in 2004-05).  85% of contracts are completed in 1-7 sessions, again demonstrating the UCS’ commitment to working to a brief therapeutic model as far as is appropriate.  12.7% of clients are seen between 8 and 15 times and a minimal 2.3% work to longer contracts of 16+ sessions (3% in 2005-06; 5% in 2004-05).

 

 

 Recommendation:

 

  • Maintain the capacity to respond to client need in terms of contracting number of sessions, with an emphasis on brief contracts where therapeutically appropriate.

     

  • Record the ‘number of times seen’ more specifically, ie to record the number of times a person is seen for one appointment, 2 appointments, 3 appointments, etc

     

 

 Issues brought to counselling

 

Clients often present with a complex array of issues which are relevant to work with in counselling.  On occasion, part of the presenting problem may be suitable for attention by other services, such as the Disability Services (including Aspergers support);  the Mental Health Co-ordinator; the Careers Service, the Accommodation Office, Student Union Advice and Welfare, the Chaplaincy; Student Funding; the International Office; Resident Tutors; Personal Tutors; Nightline, etc.  If appropriate, the counsellor will ensure these services/areas of support are mentioned to the student and offer appropriate guidance on how to locate the services on offer.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that students are generally aware of the other services available within the institution and are often making use of the relevant support before (and during) engaging with counselling. 

 

 

 On occasion it may be appropriate that the counsellor suggest clients use resources outside of the University.  In practice this includes suggesting:  Relate (for relationship issues); the local Drug and Alcohol Abuse Services; CRCSAC (for rape crisis and sexual abuse issues); Samaritans (for 24/7 support); Coventry NHS Eating Disorders Clinic; Cruse (for bereavement issues) and the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) for a directory of private counselling practitioners.  It is not uncommon to refer clients to consider websites that are pertinent to their issues, as checked and listed on the UCS website under ‘Resources’ and in the ‘Specific Issue Information’ pages. 

 

 

 It is common that counsellors within the UCS team may advise clients to visit their GP either as a pre-cursor to commencing counselling treatment or, more frequently, as a measure to be taken alongside counselling.  Formal clinical ‘referrals’, ie to clinical/medical support, for example, to NHS psychological services are not arranged from the UCS as they are accepted only via a registered GP.  However, in emergency or mental health crisis situations, the counsellor may directly contact the Crisis and Resolution Home Treatment Team, with or without the permission of the student depending on the level of risk, as stipulated in the Counselling Agreement which each client reads and signs prior to seeing a counsellor.

 

 

 Often clients may work in counselling on a range of issues but, for the purpose of these statistics, one ‘main issue’ discussed is recorded.  The categories used are defined by AUCC as follows:

 

 

 Abuse

 

Includes: childhood and adult sexual abuse; psychological/emotional/physical abuse either recent or past; domestic abuse; rape; violent crime; prejudice and harassment; may include perpetrators and victims

 

Academic

 

Includes: academic performance anxiety; procrastination of academic tasks; concerns re academic functioning

 

Anxiety

 

Includes: panic disorder; panic attacks (mild to severe); generalised anxiety; specific anxiety; worry; stress; phobia; post traumatic stress disorder 

 

Addictive behaviours

 

Includes: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder); compulsive behaviour and/or thinking; addictions (food; gambling (including internet); alcohol; sex; drugs; other); addictive patterns of behaviour (over-work; self sabotage; other)

 

Depression and mood change or disorder

 

Includes: medicated (clinical) depression; low mood; suicidal ideation; suicidal thought; hopeless/helplessness; SAD (Seasonal affective disorder); mood swings; manic-depressive symptoms

 

Loss

 

Includes: bereavement (may be recent or past); prospective bereavement; significant loss (eg status; work; relationship); separation anxiety

 

Mental Health conditions

 

Includes: psychosis; psychotic behaviour; personality disorder; schizophrenia; bi-polar affective disorder; delusional disorder; etc

 

Physical health

 

Includes: ill-health (long term; short term); injury; physical disorders

 

Eating disorders

 

Includes: anorexia; bulimia; obesity; general food distress; distorted relationships with food

 

Relationships

 

Includes: specific relationship issues (eg with family; partner; tutor; peer-group); relationship break-down; relationship problems; problems with engaging in relationships; dysfunctional relating (sexual, psychological); problems with social relating; loneliness; negotiating stages of relationship; fear of intimacy

 

Self and identity

 

Includes: issues about self-esteem; self concept; self-confidence; self-consciousness; adequacy; identity (sexual, cultural, etc); struggles of independence or maturation; existential issues

 

Sexual issues

 

Includes: sexual orientation concerns; transvestisism; sexual dysfunction; trans-gender issues; issues about sexual relations; sexual health matters; pregnancy

 

Transitions

 

Includes: managing changes re academic issues; cultural changes; maturation stages; decision making; separation anxiety

 

Welfare/employment

 

Includes: psychological impact of practical issues such as accommodation; finance; etc and issues relating to employment welfare

 

Self Harm

 

Includes: harming self through cutting/burning/punching/bleaching/biting/other methods, severity ranges from moderate to disabling

 

 

 Main issues presented to the UCS

 

The issues presented to the UCS are remarkably similar in proportion to previous years.  The most prevalent issues continue to be anxiety, depression, relationships and identity although this year for the first time the issue of anxiety has marginally exceeded depression (107; 91).  These issues continue to be in line with other University Counselling Services throughout the UK.

 

 

 Recommendations: 

 

  • Ensure appropriate information is available (via website on ‘Specific Issue Information’ pages  and in Self Help Resources centre) particularly regarding prevalent issues

     

  • Consider workshops on specific prevalent issues

     

  • Monitor ‘referrals’ (suggestions) to other resources and collate information for statistics

     

 

 Severity of Problems

 

Severity of issue is calculated using the AUCC 8 point severity categorisation where 0 is very mild and 7 is the most severe - incapacitating.  The level of severity is calculated ‘at peak’ ie when the client is at the most severe.  This may be at the beginning of their course of therapy, but not unusually may either sustain throughout or peak after therapy begins.   For the academic year 2006-07, the level of severity in clients was rated as follows:

 

 

As a comparison to 2005-06 and with a definition of the scale:

 

 

 
% of clients 2006-07

 

% of clients 2005-06

 

 

 
No. on  scale

 

Scale category

 

Definition of scale

 

0%      

 

 

 
0%

 

 

 
0

 

very mild

 

client concern presents only minor difficulty

 

3%      

 

1%           

 

1

 

mild     

 

concern is contained, not effecting other parts of life and impact is not unusual     

 

8%

 

7%

 

2

 

moderate

 

a difficult situation is being dealt with but at emotional cost, or when there is considerable distress but functioning is ok

 

23%

 

22%

 

3

 

moderately   severe

 

evidence of distress and functioning affected

 

29%

 

28%

 

4

 

severe

 

loss of sense of control; coping to some extent but at great emotional cost

 

24%

 

25%

 

5

 

very severe

 

functioning significantly affected; a sense of holding things together only with great difficulty; very distressed and fearful; may have suicidal thought

 

11%

 

13%

 

6

 

Extremely severe

 

functioning with extreme difficulty; desperate; highly distressed and anxious, may be acting

 

out and have loss of hope or sense of

 

unreality; may include suicidal thought

 

2%

 

4%

 

7

 

incapacitating

 

distraught; unstable; functionality overwhelmed; suicidal thought and intent evident

 

 

 There is again no significant change in the percentage of severity since the previous year.  The data shows a slight reduction in levels 5, 6 and 7 of a total of 5% which may be due to the work of the Mental Health Co-ordinator who has been in post since Easter 2005 to support students with both chronic and acute mental health issues.

 

 

 Recommendation: 

 

  • Ensure appropriate liaison with the Mental Health Co-ordinator

     

 

 


 

4.0     Summary of Recommendations

 

 

 

 

 
Recommendation

 

 Overview of the UCS

 

 

 
The UCS offers a comprehensive counselling service for staff and students

 

Continue to offer a professional service

 

 

 
Staffing: The counselling staff ratio is insufficient, especially as the number of potential users rises

 

Continue to bid for more counselling resources

 

The administration of the service is under pressure

 

Continue to bid for more administrative resources

 

Key tasks and Activities

 

 

 
2.1        Consultancy and Guidance to the University

 

 

 
Attempt to engage those departments who are not making full use of the Departmental Consultancy Initiative

 

2.2        Email Counselling (ECS)

 

Consider the ECS operating throughout vacations

 

2.3        Systems and Procedures/IT Management

 

Reconsider the calculation formula used for the web counter

 

Combine the online registration form with the excel spreadsheet that details wait times and allocation, to streamline the administration

 

focus on overhauling both the ‘Staff Information’  and ‘Staff Counselling’ sections of the webpage

 

Continue to develop the website to be more interactive, user-friendly and informative

 

Monitor those who are taken off the waiting list before taking up an appointment

 

Consider ways of streamlining appointment allocation

 

Ensure adequate counselling staff in vacation times and during peak demand

 

 

 
2.4        Professional Placement Provision

 

 

 
Continue to forge links with the local community in terms of providing valuable placement opportunities

 

2.5        Therapy Group work

 

 

 
Continue to offer group therapy as a service to the university population

 

Disseminate the learning throughout the team 

 

Promote additional training to further enhance the skills and expertise of a member of the team that can then be disseminated to other counsellors who are facilitating therapy groups

 

2.6        Workshop Provision

 

Consider providing issue specific workshops, eg depression, anxiety management, confidence, motivation, self esteem, etc

 

re-design the existing workshops to have wider appeal

 

consider liaising with the Warwick Skills Programme etc to ensure no overlap of provision

 

consider modifying workshop advertising and publicity

 

amend registration eg on line registration with automatic reminders

 

seek out more suitable venues

 

2.7        Self-Help Resources

 

secure funding to restock and add to the resource available

 

Consider exploring more comprehensive use of the resources (such as Cardiff University Counselling Service who offer a’ book prescription’ service to clients as appropriate)

 

2.8        Service Evaluation

 

 

 
See Appendix

 

2.9        Outreach program

 

Continue to invite and encourage involvement in developing the profile of the UCS within and outside the institution

 

2.10      Professional Development

 

 

 
Continue to support and encourage UCS staff in a range of CPD activities

 

Client Profile and Service Usage

 

 

 
3.1      Client Profile

 

 

 
Gender

 

 

 

 

 Age

 

 

 

 

 Disabilities

 

 

 

 

 Ethnicity

 

 

 

 

 Nationality

 

 

 

 

 Staff/Student usage

 

 

 

 

 Course of Study

 

 

 

 

 Level of Course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Year of Study

 

 

 

 

 Staff Classification

 

 

 
Consider exploring ideas that may attract more males to access the UCS

 

 

 Consider specific information sheets and/or workshops for 26+ aged clients

 

 

 Ensure continuing liaison with the Disability Coordinator Staff

 

 

 Continue to develop liaison with the International Office

 

 

 Liaise with the International Office welfare providers

 

 

 Liaise with OH and Personnel to ensure staff counselling provision is appropriate

 

 

 Continue to develop the Departmental Consultancy Initiative

 

 

 Ensure sufficient resources are in place to appropriately support postgraduates so that the UCS can consider strategies to attract more

 

postgraduates to use the service

 

 

 Ensure information about the UCS is available to all years

 

 

 Continue to liaise with Personnel to ensure all staff are aware of the UCS

 

3.2     Service Usage

 

 

 
Publicity

 

 

 

 

 Referral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Retention

 

 

 

 

 Appointments offered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Days wait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Number of times seen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Issues Brought to counselling

 

 

 Severity of problems

 

Ensure website is maintained to be accurate and informative at all times

 

 

 Ensure comprehensive information is available (on the website) to aid self referrers

 

liaise with the Head of Residential Life to be involved in the training program for resident tutors

 

Persist with the departmental consultancy links

 

 

 Continue to monitor and perhaps develop exit/retention statistics

 

 

 consider matching staffing levels to meet high demand at specific times of high volume of new registrations

 

 

 Change the way the days’ wait are calculated to provide a number that matches experience (ie to include weekend days as days waiting).

 

Pre-empt the long wait periods by considering staffing levels to pick up new registrations and prevent the longer wait times

 

 

 Maintain the capacity to respond to client need in terms of contracting number of sessions, with an emphasis on brief contracts where therapeutically appropriate.

 

Ensure appropriate information is available (via website on ‘Specific Issue Information’ pages  and in Self Help Resources centre) particularly regarding prevalent issues

 

 

 Consider workshops on specific prevalent issues

 

 

 Ensure appropriate liaison with the Mental Health Co-ordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 5.0     Summary and Conclusion

 

The University Counselling Service is currently working to its capacity to sustain high professional and ethical standards. The Service strives to meet the changing and expanding needs of the University population whilst maintaining this high level of professionalism through diversification and continual monitoring and evaluation of provision.

 

 

 The Departmental Consultancy Initiative has met with a varied response but the UCS recognises its potential value and intends to continue to be proactive in this area both within the academic departments specified and with potential to expand this to other appropriate areas within the university.

 

 

 The UCS has provided workshops and groups which have been relatively well attended and valued. However, given other student support provision now being developed within the University, it would seem appropriate to review this provision to maximise the skills and expertise of the UCS and meet the changing needs of the population.

 

 

 Statistics show that both international students and post graduate students are under-represented in their presentation to the UCS. These are growing groups of the campus population and the future planning and development of the service needs to take this into account and explore the specific measures which may need to be taken to meet this need.  In addition, because these are growth areas, the UCS will examine the balance of provision between term time and vacation periods as both groups represent a strong presence during the vacations.

 

 

 The success of the email counselling service indicates a readiness by the student population to engage in alternative forms of help. It therefore seems appropriate to develop further ideas involving alternative methods of accessing counselling provision.

 

 

 These forms of alternative provision are particularly useful when the service is stretched to meet demand in what would deemed to be a reasonable time between registration and an appointment being offered. For example anyone registering for email counselling is guaranteed a response the following Monday, thus cutting the maximum time waited to one week. Waiting periods continue to be of concern for the service especially at times of peak demand during the second and third terms. The service needs to be mindful that it sits in an institution where time frames are fixed.

 

 

 The UCS is a dynamic department with an essential role in supporting the primary task of the University of Warwick with a staff team that is dedicated, professional and willing to develop opportunities to take the service forward to meet the challenges of the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This report has been compiled and collated by Samantha Tarren, a member of the University Counselling Service team.