Counselling Services

About RRU Counselling 

Life can be complicated. This is especially true when you are trying to juggle your life and your learning. We recognize that from time to time personal issues may arise that may have a profound effect on your life. To support you during difficult times, RRU offers free, confidential counselling and support. Students can access one-time support, or short-term ongoing counselling (usually up to five sessions). Counselling is provided in-person, over the phone, and via Skype.

Make an appointment

Please use one of the following options to book a counselling appointment:

  • Book an appointment using our online booking system
  • Phone: 250.391.2600, ext. 4515
  • Toll-free: 1.800.788.8028 (please ask for "Counselling Services")
  • E-mailRRU Counselling

Please submit a Counselling Services Intake form (.docx) before or at your first appointment. Emailed submission is fine.

If you require an appointment urgently, or outside of the hours provided in the online booking system, please email us directly.

If you require immediate assistance, please consider:

Who are our counsellors? 


Sarah Chettleburgh is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association. Sarah completed a Masters of Education Degree in Counselling Psychology in 2011, and has been working with Royal Roads University since 2012. In addition to her counselling work at RRU, Sarah has also worked as a career counsellor, internship advisor, instructor and team coach at the university. This varied experience has ensured Sarah has a very thorough understanding of the challenges and rewards faced by Royal Roads’ students.

Although she utilizes a variety of counselling approaches and theories to be effective, Sarah always holds the students’ individual needs at the centre of her work. Drawing on elements on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Coaching approaches, Sarah works collaboratively with students to ensure their goals are met in an effective and efficient manner. Open, approachable and encouraging, Sarah creates a warm and comfortable space for positive work and interesting conversation.

Sarah is available to meet with students in-person, by phone or Skype, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Image: Gemma Fraser, Counselling Services

I'm Gemma Fraser, a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Masters in Educational Psychology. I love my work at RRU and have a deep understanding of the complexity of being a student having worked in the roles of Team Coach, Counsellor and Learning Strategist. Perhaps more importantly though, is that I'm told I'm very friendly, approachable, insightful and patient. I always try and create an atmosphere where students feel encouraged and welcome, and laughter and tears are both welcome with me.

I work from a place of compassion, optimism and collaboration, and as much as I love to talk, I'm a really good listener. I know that when you are a student, life can sometimes become stressful and overwhelming, and unexpected challenges can come your way. That's why I'm here: to help you through the difficult times.

I have years of experience helping people with their depression and anxiety symptoms, working through their grief at times of loss or transition, navigating relationship challenges and supporting emotional growth.  As well, I am an expert when dealing with academic and learning challenges. I have lots of strategies I can share with you to help manage your time, read more effectively, deal with academic anxiety and help you become a successful student. Together, we can figure out what your unique needs are, and go from there.

Counselling Services also works with contracted counsellors to ensure students find a suitable fit, and have access to appointments in the evenings and weekends when requested.

What kinds of services are available?

Our counsellors will discuss any range of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Anxiety and stress management
  • Depression
  • Loss/grief
  • Confidence/Self-esteem
  • Family challenges/transitions
  • Relationship issues
  • Group dynamics and interpersonal skills
  • Sexual or physical abuse/assault (Sexual Violence or Misconduct Protocol and Procedures for Students)
  • Substance abuse and addictions
  • Identity
  • Academic and learning challenges
  • Time management

Letters of Consideration

We know that life creates unexpected stressful circumstances for students (e.g. loss of a family member/friend, family healthy issue, change in relationship, temporary high stress circumstances, etc.). In these temporary situations, a formal accommodation through Accessibility Services might not be suitable or necessary, but a student might require a little flexibility from their instructor(s) for one or two assignments to support their success for a short period of time.

In these cases, when a student accesses counselling support and is taking steps to ensure their success, RRU Counsellors might write a Letter of Consideration to support the student. Unlike a formal accommodation, there is no legal obligation to apply the recommendation but it’s a request for compassion within reason. These letters are written with the consent of the student, and discussion between counsellors, students and/or instructors might be helpful to come up with an appropriate plan. If you have any questions about Letters of Consideration, please feel welcome to get in touch with Counselling Services.

Resources for Students