Refer directly to counseling services:
Know your limits as a help-giver; only go as far as your expertise, training and resources allow. When a student needs more help than you are able or willing to give, it is time to make a referral to a professional.
When you have decided that professional counseling or a consult is indicated:
Inform the student in a direct, concerned, straightforward manner.
- Let them know seeking help is okay.
- Inform the student of our counseling services and tell them that students visit the Counseling Center for a variety of reasons.
- Except in emergencies, it is important to allow the student to accept or refuse counseling.
Because many students initially resist the idea of counseling, it is useful to be caring but firm, in your belief that counseling will be useful; to be clear and concrete regarding the reason you are concerned; and to be familiar with the procedures and the counseling services or other help-giving agencies on campus.
If a student is reluctant to seek help
- Normalize the procedure of seeking help as a smart thing to do.
- Tell them that seeking help is a sign of strength and courage.
- Let them know many students come for counseling and find it helpful.
- Tell them what you know about the staff and service.
Suggest that the student call the Counseling Center to make an appointment.
Give the student our contact information. Remind the student that our services are free and strictly confidential.
Sometimes it is useful and necessary to assist the student more directly in the appointment-setting process. In these instances, you can offer the use of your phone or call the Counseling Center yourself, while the student is in your office. Occasionally, you may think it wise to actually walk the student over to the UCC. This can be especially helpful to students who are unsure about the location or are timid about meeting a counselor for the first time.
Unsure of what to do?
If you are concerned about a student but unsure about the appropriateness of the referral, feel free to call the counseling center to consult with a counselor.
A final note on confidentiality: We are required by law and by professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of all communication between the counseling staff and our clients (except in cases of imminent suicide, homicide or suspected child or senior abuse). Consequently, we cannot discuss with others the details of a student’s situation or even indicate whether the student is being seen in counseling. In order for information about the student to be released to you or others, we must first get the permission from the student (usually a written release of information). However, we are available to consult with you in general terms about your concerns.