Initial meeting and personal consultation for students at the WWU
In our initial meeting, we clarify what your counselling needs are. In most cases, it involves addressing a current problematic situation. We try to help you understand your problems more clearly, develop possible paths to resolving them and discuss how you can implement these in your everyday (academic) life.
The topics addressed can range from academically related problems to other personal difficulties, e.g.:
- difficulties with learning and working
- exam preparation and exam anxiety
- decision-making conflicts
- academic motivation
- stress symptoms
- problems with self-esteem
- difficulties making contacts
- depressive states
- eating disorders
Arranging an appointment for psychological counselling
Psychological counselling takes place in person at the Student Advice and Counselling Centre (ZSB) and by appointment only. You may arrange a meeting with our counsellors during online office hours, open office hours, by phone or email: Our office hours. When arranging an appointment, please specify your wish for an “initial meeting” with our psychological counsellors. Also please provide your full name, a telephone number and email address, and specify whether you prefer to have a female or male counsellor assist you.
Normally we can offer you an initial meeting within two weeks. Please read the information in our hygiene concept for recipients of on-site psychological counselling. Also take into account that for legal reasons counselling can only be offered if you have granted your prior consent to having your personal data collected and processed. For more information, please read the section on confidentiality, data protection and documentation.
Our psychological counsellors
The psychological counselling service of the ZSB is offered by psychologists with relevant counselling credentials or special psychotherapeutic qualifications and years of experience advising students. The members of our psychological counselling team are Martin Droste, Volker Koscielny, Sabine Fischer, Lilly Hunold (currently on maternity/parental leave) and Bernadett Greiwe.
All our psychological counsellors offer general academic advising as many students who seek counselling deal with psychological problems which are inextricably tied to study-related matters.
What happens in psychological counselling?
In an initial meeting, we discuss what the focus and purpose of counselling should be and agree to further steps which can include follow-up counselling sessions. At the initial meeting, we begin by discussing possible paths toward resolving your problems. In some cases, it can make sense to agree to further consultation, e.g. if there are multiple topics which need addressing or if the matter concerns a process that we can accompany along the way. We usually set aside between 45 and 60 minutes for our meetings.
Psychological counselling is not psychotherapy. If we determine during our meeting that you would benefit from psychotherapy, we will advise you on how to get in contact with an external therapeutic facility or registered therapist in Münster.
Confidentiality, data protection and documentation
As psychologists and psychological psychotherapists, we are obliged by law to maintain confidentiality (§ 203 StGB). This means that we are prohibited from sharing any information gained or concerning our counselling sessions to third parties – unless you grant us your explicit consent. The obligation to maintain confidentiality naturally extends to all parties at the University. The only exception to the rule is if there exists an acute risk of self or third-party endangerment.
During consultation, we collect personal data which we process and store in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Before psychological counselling can even take place, you must grant us your written consent to the data protection policy of the psychological counselling service. You can do this at the start of the initial meeting at our office. The counsellor will give you a copy of the consent form to sign.
In order to optimally conduct the consultation process, we draft protocols of the counselling sessions. These serve as orientation for preparing and following up the counselling sessions and ensuring quality control. The protocols are pseudonymised to make it impossible to determine your identity based on the content of the protocol. More information is provided in the data protection policy of the psychological counselling service.
I’m not sure whether psychological counselling is right for me. How can I find out?
Even if you’re unsure whether psychological counselling is right for you, we encourage you to get in contact with us. We can give you our initial impression by email or phone. In case of doubt, we will arrange an appointment for an initial meeting. These meetings are open-ended regarding their outcome and may well lead to the conclusion that you have no need for further psychological support.
What is the difference between psychological counselling and psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a medical treatment which is regulated by the Code of Social Law V. The prerequisite for treatment is the existence of a psychological illness which is normally diagnosed at the start of therapy. Because such treatment addresses both the causes and symptoms of the illness, psychotherapy usually lasts longer and involves in-depth exploration of various areas of life. Psychotherapy may only be administered by persons with additional professional qualification. These include medical psychotherapists, psychological psychotherapists, and child and adolescent psychotherapists.
Psychological counselling, on the other hand, does not aspire to treat psychological illnesses. The purpose of counselling is to address and discuss everyday troubles and problems which are not classified as illnesses. In contrast to psychotherapy, psychological counselling aims to provide thematically defined support to deal with specific burdens.
How do I know if I need psychological counselling or psychotherapy?
If you are unsure whether you require psychological counselling or psychotherapy, we encourage you to arrange an appointment for an initial meeting. Our psychologists are trained to recognise signs of psychological illness and are therefore well-qualified to advise for or against psychotherapy.
Will psychological counselling affect my chances of becoming a civil servant?
Civil service candidates are obliged to submit documentation of medical treatment for the required civil service medical examination. Because psychological counselling is not a medical treatment, you are not required to disclose this information for the medical examination.
Is it possible that third parties might find out that I received psychological counselling?
Without your explicit consent, we usually share no information with third parties about your appointment with us. For more information, please read the section on confidentiality, data protection and documentation.
Do I have to pay a fee for counselling?
No. Psychological counselling – as with all services provided by the ZSB – are free of charge.
I’m very worried about a fellow student. Can I receive psychological counselling?
If you are worried about someone close to you, you can arrange an appointment with our psychological counsellors. We will assess the situation and help you get a clearer view of the matter. If you wish, we can also discuss possible steps you can take to help the afflicted person.
I think I need psychotherapy. Can the ZSB help me with that?
Psychological counselling is not the same as nor can it be a substitute for psychotherapy. If you feel you need psychotherapy, we can arrange a meeting to give you information on further steps you can take. For example, we can provide you with information on how to contact potential psychotherapists, or secure a therapy place, the general procedure and content of psychotherapeutic treatment, and the differences between various psychotherapeutic methods. You can also come to us with any other questions you have regarding psychotherapy.
I’m already in psychotherapy. May I still receive psychological counselling through the ZSB?
The services provided by the ZSB are available to all students at the University of Münster. It can be useful to supplement psychotherapy with psychological counselling if you are struggling by university-related problems and cannot sufficiently address these during your psychotherapeutic sessions. In this case, our supplementary counselling focuses solely on helping you deal with study-related problems.