Student Counselling

If you're reading this, it may be because you're struggling to cope with how you're feeling.

You may be concerned that it will be difficult, upsetting or embarrassing to talk to someone you don't know about personal issues. When you first start counselling you may be surprised to find that it is a relief to talk things over in a confidential space with someone outside your family or friendship group.

The college counsellors will help you to explore and understand what is affecting you and support you to find ways forward, including different ways of thinking or responding to how you feel. Counselling may help you to resolve things or help you to find better ways of coping with whatever is affecting you. Sometimes the counsellors may wish to refer you for appropriate support elsewhere in College, or to your GP or other local services.

Varndean Counsellors

The College counsellor is Rachel Cooper.

Rachel Cooper

Both counsellors are qualified and accredited members of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) with considerable counselling experience in schools, colleges, the NHS and other counselling services for young people.

We try to make you feel comfortable with us so that you can talk about whatever is affecting you.

Varndean College Counselling Service

We offer a confidential counselling service in line with BACP ethical guidelines.This means that what you say will not be discussed with anyone elsewithout your permission. There are important exceptions to this if we have serious concerns about your safety or well-being. We always explain this more fully at the beginning of your first appointment.

The first appointment is an opportunity to assess your needs. Following this we will initially offer you a further 1-6 counselling sessions, usually at weekly intervals.

Appointments are available Tuesday-Friday in term time only from 9.25am-3.30pm

Contacting the Counsellors

Please contact us directly, preferably by email, to arrange your first appointment:

  • Email:
  • Text: 07747 442059
  • Tel: 01273 546619
  • Post-Box: Please leave a self-referral letter in the counsellors' post-box (outside Balcony Room).

The Counselling Room and Post-box

The counselling room known as The Balcony Room, and the counsellors' post-box are in a quiet corner on the first floor opposite the Wellbeing Space (Room 14.2).

Who else can support you?

Please be aware that we may not be able to offer you weekly counselling sessions immediately after your assessment appointment as demand for counselling in College is high. Waiting times vary throughout the year.

Please consider who else can support you while you wait for a counselling appointment. This might be a friend or family member, a tutor or someone you trust in an outside interest group. It may be another local service, or your GP.

Please see your GP if things become very difficult for you because of how you are feeling, thinking or behaving, and especially if you have thoughts about harming yourself.

You can also call any of the following helplines for information and support;

Brighton & Hove NHS Wellbeing ServiceThe Young People's Centre (YPC)YMCA Youth Advice Centre

E-motion online counselling service:

If you are feeling suicidal, please call

  • Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
  • Papyrus - HOPElineUK: 0800 068 41 41