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Referring Students to the Counseling Center

  • Approach the student you are concerned about in a gentle, caring, and non-judgmental way.
  • State specifically why you are concerned. Describe behaviors, then suggest a visit to the Counseling Center.
  • Explain that normal people get counseling.
  • When referring students to Counseling Services, suggest it as a possible resource rather than telling a student to go because they "need help" or they are "causing a problem" for others.
  • Present the Counseling Center as a resource used by over a thousand students each year.
  • Receiving counseling can be like "taking a class to learn about yourself".
  • Remind students that they do not have to have a "deep dark" problem, nor does the problem need to reach crisis proportions for them to benefit from professional help. We would rather have someone come in with a small problem than wait for it to become a big one.
  • Reluctant students might also be relieved to know that they can just come in for Initial Consultation hours and speak to a counselor on a one-time basis without making a commitment to ongoing therapy.
  • If you want to offer extra support, you can have the student call the Counseling Center from your room or office, and/or you can offer to accompany the student to his or her first session.
  • Remind the student that the services are free and the same service in the private sector can cost between $75 and $125 per hour.
  • Inform the student that Counseling Center staff try to help people help themselves.
  • Remember that many students will feel ambivalent about seeking help from any source, including the Counseling Center. You may need to remind them that what they are currently doing to solve their problems is not working.
  • Remind the student that they do not always have to know what's wrong before asking for help.
  • The ambivalence can often be characterized by statements such as, "I do not want to go there because my problem is not that serious", or, "I do not want to go there because I think my problems are too serious and they can not help me". In either of the two preceding cases, the person you are trying to refer may be fearful of the unknown. A direct response to such objections can sometimes be helpful. "If your problem is not appropriate for the Counseling Center, they can make sure that you are directed to the right place".

How do I know if this person received counseling?

Ask that person. Because counseling is confidential, we cannot inform you if the person of concern came to the Counseling Center or reveal what they talked about. Therefore, the best way to find out if the person came to the Center is to follow-up with this individual yourself. If you feel that it is vital for you to learn whether this student came to the Center from the counselor, ask the student to sign a release of information form when they are here, giving us permission to confirm with you that they came.