The Counselling Centre

Welcome to The Counselling Centre

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We offer individual personal counselling, academic & life skills coaching and consultations. Our team of professionals will help you meet y
our academic and personal goals. We understand how stressful university life can be and how making small changes can have a huge impact. Staff are generalists in their training with experience working with University students.

We try our best to respond as quickly as possible to meet the needs of our students. We are not an emergency clinic therefore we will refer all emergencies to the QEII Emergency Department (for ages 19 years old and over), located on Robie Street or the IWK Emergency Department (under 19 years old), located on South Street.

Our hours during the academic year are

8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm


during the summer 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:00pm.

When students first come to The Counselling Centre they are required to complete an intake form which takes 5-10 minutes. Students who have never used the services of The Counselling Centre have the opportunity to drop in for their first session, in order to be seen immediately when it best suits their schedule. You will meet with our Intake & Programs Coordinator for approximately 30 minutes to discuss your concerns and options.

Drop in times for Intake are as follows:

Monday/Thursday/Friday: 1pm-3pm


Tuesday/Wednesday: 9:00am-11:30am.

All new students for Academic & Life Skills Coaching also have an opportunity for a drop in session first. Drop in times for this service are offered

Monday: 9:00am-11:30am and Tuesday: 1pm-3pm.

Note: Drop in times are subject to change. Students are seen on a first come-first served basis. Subsequent appointments for Counselling and Coaching will be scheduled for set times.

Returning students can book an appointment for personal counselling and/or academic & life skills coaching by calling 902-420-5615, emailing or dropping by our office, 4th Floor, Student Centre (turn left once you get off the elevator) or you can book online.

Morneau Shepell offers 24/7 free, confidential phone, email and web counselling to Saint Mary's students. If you are an emergency or crisis after hours, please contact Morneau-Shepell at 1-855-649-8641 and tell them you need immediate assistance. This service is confidential and you will speak with a Counsellor right away if you are in crisis.

To view Morneau Shepell's new student support website visit and be sure to check out the articles on: Managing stress with yoga, mental health myths, etc.

What is Peer Support?

Peer Support happens in a relationship between people who have experiences in common. This could be a mental illness, stress or anxiety, a difficult time in life, or university adjustment. Peer Supporters offer their fellow students emotional and social support as they too have struggled.  This support is grounded in hope, empowerment, and recovery.

Peer Support focuses on health and recovery rather than on illness and disability. Supporters can help individuals move towards a greater sense of self-confidence and wellbeing.

All students are welcome to visit a Peer Supporter during drop-in hours. Peer Support can be an additional resource from students already seeking treatment as well as a safe, confidential space for students to talk to a trained peer.

Who are my Peer Supporters?

Peer Supporters are students who have experience dealing with mental health concerns. These students are trained within the Stay Connected Mental Health Project and The Counselling Centre to support their peers through active listening, goal-setting, and resource referral. As students, Supporters understand how stressful university life can be. Peer Supporters are here to help with a lot of mental health concerns including managing stress, coping strategies, relationship problems, and referrals to other important resources.

For more information on mental health and life balance please visit

Healthy Minds is now available for free for iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod Touch through the App Store or through and, where printable promotional materials are also available.

Transitions is a free mental health booklet. To view the booklet please click the link .

The Counselling Centre has various mental health initiatives we have developed which include: how to help a student in distress, SMU Talks for Faculty and Staff, WellTrack an online mood tracker for students and much more.

SMU offers some great InBalance Wellness programs. Please visit to view upcoming events/sessions being held









June Thoughts from The Counselling Centre


“So I had this weird dream last night…”




Did you dream last night?


Unless you stayed up all night, the answer is most certainly “yes”. We all dream and we do so every single night. However, we also forget 90% of our dreams within five minutes of waking up, so there is a very good chance that you can’t remember the content of last night’s dreams.


So why do we dream? What purpose does it serve?


The answer to this question really depends on who you ask.


Are dreams psychological reflections of the subconscious – revealing hidden desires and fears though seemingly unrelated images and themes?


Perhaps dreams are simply the brain’s attempt to make sense of active neural processes during sleep and therefore it makes little sense to look for “meaning” in dreams?


Are dreams evolved mechanisms of our evolutionary history which allow us to “problem solve” even as we sleep?

Others believe that dreams are religious or spiritual messages or that they foretell future events in our lives.


In this edition of “Thoughts from The Counselling Centre” we will be taking a closer look at the theory that dreams are reflections of the subconscious and the possibility that dreams are not simply random nighttime images devoid of meaning.


Specifically, let’s take a quick look at some of the more common dreams and the possible symbolism of these dreams.


Keep in mind that not only is there disagreement about the purpose of dreams as described above, but there is also disagreement about the meaning of dreams even among those who believe that dream images and content are a window into our unconscious motivations, anxieties, and desires.


Dream symbolism is just one aspect of dreaming and therefore you may wish to view the following list as interesting possible interpretations rather than unquestionable facts…


Falling - A very common dream that is often thought to represent a general sense of worry that something in your life is going very wrong or is out of control. May symbolizes a lack of confidence about a “big” issue like your finances, relationship, or career/education.


Teeth Falling Out – Symbolizes a feeling that one has lost power, vitality, or effectiveness. A general sense that one is unable to accomplish or obtain what he/she wants or needs. Feeling vulnerable and lacking the ability to defend one’s self from threats or external attacks.


Being Chased – Symbolizes that you may be avoiding something or someone in real life that you know you need to address or confront. When you take action in the waking world, the dreams of being chased will probably stop!


Flying – Dreams of flying are the opposite of dreams involving the loss of teeth. That is, they represent the dreamer’s growing sense of will, confidence, independence, and expression of potential.


Houses – Houses are almost universally interpreted to represent the dreamer’s self-concept/self-image. Different parts of the house and especially the condition they are in are further used to interpret the meaning of the dream. For example, ceilings are thought represent personal limits and boundaries, a crowed house represents feelings of restriction and a desire for change, structural faults are thought to symbolize perceived character faults or concerns about physical appearance, etc.


Paralysis – Although there are a number of psychodynamic interpretations of paralysis, this common dream is usually thought to be caused by the simple fact that when we dream, voluntary movements are inhibited. All brain signals to the voluntary muscles are stopped. So, if we become slightly awake and attempt to move at that time we feel paralyzed and this is incorporated into our dream.


Traveling – Represents the direction one is taking in life. The meaning of travel dreams depends on the method of transportation, whether the dreamer is traveling alone or with others, and the specific destination.


Drowning – Depicts a feeling of being overwhelmed by difficult emotions or anxieties.


Bridges – Represents the transition from one phase of life into another (for example, the transition from high school to university, the transition to adulthood, marriage, births, career changes, etc.).


Feet – Represents how grounded we feel and whether we believe that we have the support we need.


Shopping or Buying – Thought to represent a choice or decision that the dreamer is anticipating or needs to make.


So, have you ever had any of these dreams? If so, do the interpretations fit for you?



Dream on,


The Counselling Centre at Saint Mary’s University