A quasi-experimental pre-, post-test, follow-up and control group design was used to investigate the effect of psychological and educational counselling in reducing anxiety in nursing students. The research study used methodological triangulation, involving the use of structured data collection techniques such as standardized questionnaires and semi-structured focus groups. Focus groups were used to provide greater insight regarding the student's opinions. The sample consisted of 100 second- and fourth-year baccalaureate nursing students from the Faculty of Nursing at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran. They were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (n = 50) or a control group (n = 50). The experimental group received a 12-week intervention programme. Quantitative analysis of data was undertaken using t-test and analysis of variance for repeated measures to test differences between and within groups. The results indicated that from pre- to post-test there was no statistically significant reduction in anxiety between groups, but there was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety after one semester (in the follow-up). Student self-esteem was increased significantly from pre- to post-test. This increase was statistically significant and remained the same in follow-up. A statistically significant difference was seen in the student grade point average from pre-test to follow-up in the experimental group but not for the control group. The implementation of an intervention programme reduced their anxiety, increased their self-esteem and improved their grade point average over time.