Psychological Withdrawal Question & Answers

What is a psychological withdrawal?

A "psych" withdrawal is provided by the University Counseling Center to students whose emotional distress or substance use is so severe that they are unable to address the requirements of the academic environment. This will usually mean the student is a danger to themselves or others, is unable to adequately care for themselves, or is engaging in excessive substance use requiring inpatient treatment or hospitalization. A student may, at the discretion of the administration of the Counseling Center, receive a psychological withdrawal if they have taken steps to address this interference, as evidenced by participation in counseling prior to the withdrawal request, consultation with Student Health Service physicians, or other actions intended to counteract the effects of the psychological or substance use condition factors that impair the student's academic performance.

Can I get a “psych” withdrawal for a specific class?

No. A psychological withdrawal constitutes a complete withdrawal from school. Psychological withdrawals cannot be given for selected classes.

If I get a psychological withdrawal, what will I need to do to return to school?

Anyone who is granted a psychological withdrawal must remain out of school for a minimum of six months and receive treatment during that time from a licensed or certified mental health professional ( e.g. psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, social worker, or psychiatric nurse). When the student is ready to return to school they must get their therapist to send a form and letter to the Counseling Center documenting that they received treatment and how much (# of sessions) treatment they received (one or two visits to a mental health professional will not suffice). The therapist will need to make an explicit statement that (1) the student has complied with treatment; (2) the student is stable and ready to return to the unstructured, and sometimes stressful, environment of the university; (3) the student has addressed the issues that led him/her to drop out of school; and (4) it is in the best interest of the student to return to school. A diagnosis, prognosis, and recommendation for follow-up treatment should also be provided. Some students have seen a mental health professional several times soon after receiving the withdrawal and months later asked for the letter. Some of the mental health professionals are unwilling to write such a letter for someone they haven't seen in months. It is your responsibility to work this out with your treating clinician. You must stay in treatment until the clinician will write the letter for you. You would also need to participate in a face-to-face interview with either the Director or Associate Director of the Counseling Center before being re-admitted.

I was depressed in the fall semester of last year and had bad grades. Could I get a psychological withdrawal for that semester?

No. The Counseling Center does not give retroactive psychological withdrawals. They are only given for the current semester.

Can I stay in the residence hall if I get a psychological withdrawal?

You would need to move out of your residence hall within a couple of days. Once you take a psychological withdrawal, you are no longer a student and would not be eligible for the services rendered to students (e.g. residence halls, Quinn Center, Health Center, Library, etc.)

Can I continue to get therapy/counseling or other services from the Counseling and Psychological Services Center after I receive a psychological withdrawal?

You can receive a last termination session and referral but the Center is only able to provide ongoing services to enrolled students.

Would it show up on my transcripts?

The psychological withdrawal shows up on transcripts as "W" signifying "withdrawal." Those reviewing a transcript would have no way of knowing the reason for the withdrawal.

How will a psychological withdrawal affect my financial aid or academic probation status?

You would need to get that information from the source of your financial aid for the former, and from your academic advisor for the latter.

Will I be able to register for next semester's classes during early registration?

You will not be able to register for classes again until you have met the conditions of the psychological withdrawal contract listed in question three, above.

What do I need to do to get a psychological withdrawal?

It is a good idea to discuss the decision with family or those who provide financial support who may also be impacted by your decision. A meeting with the Director or Associate Director who will assess whether you meet the criteria for a psychological withdrawal will be necessary.

A copy of these questions and answers is available here as a Microsoft Word document: Psychological Withdrawal Questions & Answers

Emergency Services

The Counseling Center offers after-hours emergency coverage for urgent mental health concerns such as suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, and other trauma.  Call the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on-call.

During operating hours, students in crisis can walk in any time.

Prevent Suicide Block

Contact Us


Physical Address: 
1st Floor, Miles Annas Building
614 Howard Street 
Boone, NC 28608-2044

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 32044
Boone, NC 28608

Phone: 828-262-3180
Fax: 828-262-3182

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m-5:00 p.m

Initial Consultation Hours:
Monday - Friday:
8:30-11:00 a.m. & 1:00-4:00 p.m.

 - Please Note -
During Summer Sessions, Initial Consultation Hours at times may vary. Please contact us at (828) 262-3180 for our current schedule and to verify availability.

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