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First-ever study into counselling for diabetics launches at Abertay

13 March 2015

Counselling main Kate Smith
Counsellor Kate Smith (L) with client Jillian Walls (R)

The counselling team at Abertay University are looking for people with diabetes to take part in a new research study.

Anyone aged 18-25 with a diagnosis (Type 1 or Type 2) is welcome to take part, whether you have been living with the condition for some time or have only recently found out that you have it.

The aim of the research is to find out whether counselling can help people cope better with the disease - something that has never been investigated before.

Kate Smith – Counsellor and Lecturer at the University, who will be leading the research – explains:

“At the moment when you receive a diabetes diagnosis, there is a period of emotional and behavioural adjustment. The support you receive is through the NHS at appointments with your GP, your nurse or with your consultant at a hospital. Although the NHS offers psychoeducational courses, there isn’t any targeted emotional support offered, and we think this could be an extremely useful extra service.

“Diabetes is strongly linked to a range of emotional and mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and phobias. Currently patients may be left to cope with difficulties on their own until they reach a point of crisis and are referred for specialist psychological support. Waiting lists for NHS services can be lengthy, during which time people may find things extremely hard.

“So there’s a big gap in care there, and the aim of this research is to see what we can find out about the effects of counselling for diabetics, and whether this gap can be filled.

“We’re looking for people who have something to say about their experience of diabetes, and also those who think they might benefit from emotional support by coming along for brief or longer-term counselling at the University.”

Anyone with the disease who has thoughts they would like to share is encouraged to participate either in interviews, or as counselling clients. For clients the research will involve one-to-one counselling support, as well as follow-up interviews to find out your thoughts on your condition and whether the sessions are proving beneficial.

There are no costs involved.

The study is being jointly funded by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Abertay.

To find out more, or to register your interest in the study, please email


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

To find out more about the counselling services offered by the University, please visit the Tayside Centre for Counselling webpages.

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