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Birkbeck appoints Student Counsellor to focus on those less likely to seek counselling

The new role has been secured as part of the Outreach Student Counselling Project, an initiative funded by the UPP Foundation

Birkbeck has recently appointed Paul Christopher Mollitt to the counselling service. He has taken up the role of Widening Participation Student Counsellor and will be developing a project to engage students identified as less likely to seek emotional and mental health support from the counselling service, including men, refugees and care leavers. This new role has been secured as part of the Outreach Student Counselling Project, an initiative funded by the UPP Foundation.

Charlotte Williams, Counselling Service Manager said: “We are delighted to have appointed Paul to this role. The Counselling Service has been concerned about the under representation of men, care leavers and refugees at the Service. We are grateful for the UPP Foundation funding which enables us to address this. We are committed to ensuring equal access to the Counselling Service to all students at Birkbeck.”

Within these groups, there are often common and potentially preventable struggles during study that are not addressed, leading to high drop-out rates. This project aims to improve retention by helping more outlier students stay on track and complete their studies.

Richard Brabner, Head of UPP Foundation said: “We are very pleased to have Paul on board and look forward to working with him on our joint Outreach Student Counselling Project. This collaboration between the UPP Foundation and Birkbeck covers entirely new ground and stands to impact significantly on the lives of vulnerable students. His expertise will allow us to target some of the most disadvantaged students at Birkbeck and will, we hope, reduce drop-out rates, improve students’ mental well-being and, ultimately, change lives.”

Paul is a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and Counsellor with substantial experience in the NHS in both primary and secondary care as well as within the counselling departments at London Metropolitan University and UCL. He previously worked as an actor in West End musicals.

Since his counselling training here at Birkbeck (Msc in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy) Paul has trained in Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) and Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) and is now studying at the Institute of Group Analysis (IGA).

His particular areas of interest are men’s mental health; the psychology of groups and organisations; race, culture and religion; and the subject of class.

Paul had the following to say about his new appointment:

“Having worked as a clinician for the past eight years I was looking for a new role that would allow me to work on a meaningful project alongside my clinical work. When this role came up I jumped at the chance, not only is it such an exciting project in terms of issues close to my heart, but it was at Birkbeck that I did my initial counselling training.

“There is a sense of me coming home, back to the place that enabled me to achieve my potential whilst working. I believe strongly in the ethos of Birkbeck which allows those who might not be able to study in the conventional way to thrive, despite where they came from or how they got here.

“I can’t wait to get started on this important project which we see me working in partnership with other departments and universities, as well as the UPP Foundation, towards a shared goal that will, I hope, increase retention and make for a student body that feels supported and motivated to reach their potential here at Birkbeck and beyond.”

Paul can be contacted via email at counselling-services@bbk.ac.uk

Richard Brabner

Richard Brabner was appointed Head of UPP Foundation in July 2016. Working with the trustees, he sets its strategy and leads on all aspects of the UPP Foundation’s activities. Mr Brabner joined UPP in 2015 as Business Development Manager and his responsibilities included setting up the UPP Foundation.

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