College Counselling

Talking in confidence

By Jenny Ridge 3min read

Life at Cambridge is both stimulating and enriching and is also regarded by many as privileged - but it can also be an intense and stressful environment where academic expectations are often demanding. For many students it’s the first time they’ve lived away from home, away from the security of their friends and family. It’s therefore essential that students have access to as much support as possible when they’re here, and the College Counsellors have a key role in providing that support. It’s a crucial part of the College’s commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of its students. 

Homerton has two College Counsellors. Catherine Snelson has an office in college and sees both undergraduates and postgraduates, and Carol MacIntyre-Jones is the dedicated PGCE counsellor. 

They’re available to talk to any student who wants a space to reflect on things, about anything that they feel has impacted their enjoyment of life. Rather than giving advice, it’s about helping people to think things through and come to their own decisions about what action to take or what changes to make for the better, in a safe and confidential space.  

Catherine says:
“There is huge value in having a dedicated person to talk to whose purpose it is to listen and to help students process their thoughts, help them to feel happier, more in control of their lives and more confident in what they do. 

Although many students come to talk to me about very obviously difficult matters such as bereavement, exam anxiety, broken relationships and identity issues, no problem is too small if it is having a negative effect on a person’s life.”

Contacting a counsellor can be a difficult decision, especially when students have so many pressures on their time with work, sports, clubs and social commitments. But it’s important that people do reach out and make the time if they’ve had negative thoughts for a while or experienced a low mood over a prolonged period. 

There should be no barriers for anyone who wants to see Catherine - students are encouraged to contact her directly at to make an appointment, there is no need for a referral from a tutor or anyone else, and everything is kept strictly confidential.

Catherine continues:

“The only constraint on access to me is my time. I do sometimes get very busy, and I’m not here at weekends, but I always aim to see people within a week or so of them contacting me. I also have a drop-in session on a Wednesday afternoon at 3pm for anyone who wants to see me more urgently. The College can also call on a diverse team of additional counsellors including counsellors independent of the College, male counsellors and ethnic minority counsellors.” 

Catherine trained initially as a lawyer, but realised she was ‘a square peg in a round hole’, and the main thing that grasped her interest in a legal case was the human and relational element of it. She left her job as a lawyer and did extensive counselling training over 4 years with the University of Cambridge, including a postgraduate diploma. Wanting to take things further, she embarked on, and completed, psychoanalytic psychotherapy training, which took another 4 years. After graduating she worked in private practice for several years until coming to Homerton in 2013. 

Carol MacIntyre-Jones is trained in a similar way to Catherine.  She has also completed both a counselling training and trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.  Her appointments are online, and she can be contacted at