Mary Immaculate College provides a professional Counselling Service available to all students, free of charge.
This service provides all students with the opportunity to talk in a confidential setting about any issues which she or he may not feel comfortable discussing with anyone else. A counselling relationship is one of warmth and safety, where a student feels supported and listened to.
Support is provided for many issues, such as: Stress, panic/anxiety attacks, crisis pregnancy, eating disorders, bereavement, exam stress, post-abortion, depression, relationships, sexual/emotional/physical abuse, gender issues, bullying, confidence/self-esteem issues, feeling suicidal, family issues, addictive behaviours, and others.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, a blended model will be employed for delivery of counselling support to students in the first semester of A/Y 2020-21
This will consist of a daily presence of a counsellor on campus, in particular for the hour-long drop in at 11-12 as initial point of contact for students.
Together with this, we will adopt a generic email address whereby for students who are off-campus can make contact and plan how they can best avail of counselling support. This email address is Counselling@mic.ul.ie
Support will be offered as follows:
- Initial drop-in meeting on campus with on-duty counsellor/counsellors, for screening and/or to set up an individual plan for face to face /online counselling support
- Alternatively, if the student’s initial point of contact is via email to generic counselling address, counsellor will assess the student’s needs & counsellor availability, and make an individual support plan for the student, accordingly
- Non face-to-face counselling will be offered via Zoom or other online platform; also by telephone counselling as per individual agreement between counsellor & student.
- On a needs basis, online support group sessions for bereavement / anxiety/ exam stress etc. will be setup
MIC counsellors may have differing health requirements re physical presence on campus, but a mixture of the support approaches listed above should guarantee a smooth running of the Counselling Service. As always a strong co-operative team approach will be taken by counsellors.
A strong emphasis of co-operation with other College support services will continue
Off-Campus Student Counselling Support
Though you may not be on campus, Student Counsellors are still available to offer you support by Phone or via Microsoft Teams, Monday-Friday, 9am -5pm.
MIC Thurles Students should contact Fiona O’ Dwyer at Fiona.ODwyer@mic.ul.ie to arrange counselling support.
MIC Limerick Students - How to arrange a Phone or Teams Counselling Session
If you know that you want to access support from the Counselling Service and don’t need to speak to one of us today, then send an email to Counselling@mic.ul.ie with the times you are available in the coming week and whether you would like to have sessions by Phone or via Teams Video conferencing.
- One of the counselling team will then reply during office hours within 24 hours to arrange your first session. If you would prefer us to call you to arrange a session please leave your phone number.
- Before your arranged counselling session please read the guidelines for online therapy document accessed here which gives full details of how the sessions will run.
How to arrange a Same Day Check-in Session
We also offer a remote Same Day Check-In Service if you feel the need to talk to someone today.
- These check-in sessions are time- limited (maximum 30 minutes) Phone or Teams video conference appointments
- In this session the counsellor will explore with you what your difficulties are and discuss with you how best you can be supported.
If you would like to meet one of the counselling team in a same day check-in session, email Counselling@mic.ul.ie putting Same Day Check-in into the subject box.
Alternatively, you can text one of the counsellor’s mobile numbers saying you would like to speak to someone today. In your message, include your:
- Full name
- Student ID
- Telephone number
- Mon-Fri: Paula Seth 085 877 5827
- Mon-Tues: Brid O Connell 089 2342244
- Thurs-Fri: Nessa Breen 089 418 2995
If we are seeing other clients or in meetings we may not call you back straight away.
Are you unsafe or in a Suicidal Crisis/Emergency?
Please note that this is a Student Counselling Service and our phone/Teams delivery is not suitable for where you are worried about your immediate safety.
It is very important however that you keep yourself safe so, if you feel increasingly at risk please reach out to gain support and contact immediately:
- Your GP
- Free Text: MIC to 50808 (more info here)
- Pieta House: Freephone 1800 247 247 or Text HELP to 5144
- If your life is in imminent danger, please call 911.
Out of Hours Remote Support
The MIC Counselling service is available Monday to Friday 9am -5pm. If you need support outside these hours you can chat anonymously with a trained volunteer 24/7 by texting MIC to 50808. Any issue, any time. (More information here).
The service is confidential and operates within the terms of confidentiality as laid down by the PCHEI (Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education Ireland) ‘Code of Ethics and Practice’. This means that nothing you talk about is disclosed to anyone outside of the service/supervision process without your expressed permission, except in exceptional circumstances regarding safety/at risk situations such as suicidal intent, declared risk to a third party, and the disclosure of on-going or past child abuse, or if records are subpoenaed by law. If any child protection issues arise, such as ongoing or past abuse, and the alleged abuser is identifiable, we must pass this information on to Tusla, the child protection agency.
Guidelines for Online and Telephone Counselling
Whilst some students only need one or two session to address their issues, we are able to offer students contracts of up to six online counselling sessions, generally weekly with each session lasting up to 50 mins. We ask that you treat online appointments similarly as you would when attending the counselling service in person. Please see the Counselling Consent form (available from the Student Portal) for more information re: cancellation policy, limits of confidentiality etc.
Protecting your own privacy
- When a telephone/online-counselling session is offered, you will receive a call at your scheduled time or have received a link for the secure online session via Microsoft Teams. You need to be in a private location where you can speak openly without being overheard or interrupted by others to protect your own confidentiality. If you choose to be a in a place where there are people or others can hear you, your counsellor cannot be responsible for protecting your confidentiality.
- If you feel you will not be able to access a private place to speak with a counsellor please let us know.
- To help your privacy we suggest you wear a headset and reduce as much as possible the chance of interruptions for the duration of your scheduled appointment.
- Distractions at home can interrupt the phone call or online appointment, this could also occur for the Counsellor if they too are working remotely.
- During Online Sessions: If we lose our connection during a Teams session, your counsellor will call you to troubleshoot the reason for lost connection. If they cannot reach you, they will remain available to you during the entire course of your scheduled session, should you manage to reconnect.
- If the loss of connection is not resolved, you can opt to continue the session over the phone or reschedule your appointment.
- Please ensure your phone is charged and your connection is good in advance of the session.
- Phone connection might fail before or during the counselling session, if this occurs your counsellor will call you back twice before the assigned time ends for your session and follow up with a text if the session ends abruptly.
- Body language, or non-verbal reactions to what you are discussing are not always picked up over the phone. For example, if you become emotional or shivering you may need to ask for the session to pause whilst you fetch a tissue or a drink, turn on the heating or get a coat. You may also feel that you need to describe your feelings, thoughts, and/or actions in more detail than you would during a face-to-face/ Teams session.
Recording of Sessions
Please note that recording, screenshots, etc of any kind of any session is not be permitted.
Accessing Sessions from Abroad:
We would like to make our online support available to all students even when you are on Erasmus or accessing college online from your home which may not be in Ireland. We are aware however that in some countries, or in some local areas within a country, receiving online counselling is not permitted or the counsellor needs specific permission or licences which as Irish based practitioners we do not have. For example, we cannot provide online counselling to students temporarily resident in the State of California. It will be up to you to let the counselling service know if you are aware of any legal restrictions to receiving online support.
The fact-sheets* below can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant links. They contain information on dealing with personal issues; should any of the information contained in them affect you, please contact the student counsellors.
- Adult Children of Alcoholics
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Coming Out
- Crisis Management
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Stress Management
* The fact-sheets have been provided courtesy of the Student Counselling Service at Trinity College Dublin.
MIC offers a professional counselling service available to students to help you as you progress through College life.
Most personal or relationship issues can be helped through counselling; this includes self-esteem/confidence issues, exam, stress, panic/anxiety attacks, depression, feeling suicidal, family and/or relationship difficulties, sexual problems or identity issues.
It also includes adjusting to a new environment, or dealing with difficult decisions, as well as more specific problems such as addictions, eating disorders, crisis pregnancy, post-abortion, bullying, bereavement and abuse.
You can contact any one of us directly by email or phone. Sometimes people just drop in for a chat once to see how it feels and then decide whether or not to come back. It's up to you.
Counselling is not the same as giving advice. It is basically a relationship with another person where you are free to talk about issues you may not feel comfortable discussing with anyone else. This relationship will be one of warmth and safety, where you feel supported and listened to.
Yes; the service is confidential and operates within the terms of confidentiality as laid down by the IAUCC (Irish Association for University and College Counsellors) Code of Ethics and Practice.
This means that nothing you talk about is disclosed to anyone outside of the service without your expressed permission, except in exceptional circumstances regarding safety.
Nessa Breen and Brid O'Connell are professionally trained and widely experienced counsellors/psychotherapists who are used to helping people from many different backgrounds with a wide variety of personal issues.
The service is free and is available to all undergraduate and postgraduate students of Mary Immaculate College.
If there's something really overwhelming you and dragging you down, please come and talk to us. That's why we're here.
- Off-Campus Student Counselling Support
- Guidelines for Online and Telephone Counselling