Counselling and Learning Strategy Services

About RRU Counselling 

Life can be complicated. This is especially true when you are trying to juggle your life and your learning. To support you during difficult times, RRU offers free, confidential counselling and learning strategy support. Students can access one-time support, or short-term ongoing counselling (usually up to five sessions) in-person, over the phone, Zoom and 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

Gemma Fraser is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and has a Master’s of Education Degree. She has worked at RRU since 2014 in various roles including Learning Strategist, Counsellor and Team Coach and is known for being warm and friendly and creating an atmosphere where students feel encouraged to explore possibilities in a safe and supported way.

As a counsellor, Gemma uses a variety of approaches including Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. She always works to meet the individual needs of each student with gentleness and compassion.

As a Learning Strategist, Gemma helps students focus on the process of learning by examining their study habits and current difficulties and barriers to success. Then together, creating a plan to use more effective learning strategies aimed at building academic success.  This includes areas such as use of time, organization, stress, learning styles, reading and studying effectively, preparing for exams and dealing with procrastination.  In a non-judgmental and positive way, Gemma collaborates with students to explore what is working well and what might need some changing and helps create some accountability for the change process.

Rachel is a counselling practicum student under the supervision of Gemma Fraser and Sarah Chettelburgh. She is currently completing her Masters of Education Degree in Counselling Psychology and plans to register as a Clinical Counsellor. Rachel has been a social worker and in Victoria for 12 years. She owned and operated a non-profit yoga and wellness center for the past 8 years and is passionate about accessible, community-based programming.

In her approach, Rachel takes a non-judgmental, open, and collaborative stance towards providing support and exploring solutions. She is interested in incorporating mindfulness skills into Cognitive-Behavioural, Solution-Focused, and Positive Psychology approaches.


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