Making Referrals to Counseling - Coastal Carolina University
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Making Referrals to Counseling Services

When you’ve identified a student in distress, here are some suggestions for helping students seek out counseling services:

  • Talk with the student privately to minimize embarrassment and encourage him/her to be open in talking with you about concerns.

  • Listen carefully to the student, reflecting both the feelings and content of the message.

  • Be prepared with a list of behaviors that have caused you to be concerned about the student. Communicate your concern and these behaviors openly and honestly.

  • Refrain from being judgmental toward the student.

  • Help the student identify options and evaluate the consequences of each choice.

  • Be prepared to admit your limitations in your ability to help.

  • If the student seems to be in imminent danger of hurting self or others, contact the Counseling Service or Public Safety immediately.  Never promise to keep threats a secret.

  • Explain to the student that “you don’t have to be crazy to get counseling.”  Asking for and accepting help is perfectly normal.

  • Explain to the student that getting help when the problem is small can be much easier than waiting and tackling the problem when it has reached crisis level.

  • Explain to the student that he/she doesn’t necessarily have to understand what the problem is to seek help.  Usually counseling begins with figuring out what the problem really is.

  • Help the student understand that going to the Counseling Service does not commit him/her to a long course of treatment.  A student can use the first contact to “check it out” and decide for himself/herself whether it would be helpful to return.

  • A student may feel more comfortable going to the Counseling Service if someone goes with them.  Feel free to attend the first session with the student. You may participate in the first session, or just help the student feel more comfortable walking in the door.

  • Feel free to call the Counseling Service to provide information which could be helpful in the student’s treatment.

  • Remind the student that services are FREE, which is something that is not likely to occur after he/she graduates from college.

  • Don’t forget to follow-up with the student.  Ask the student if they went, how the session was, and what is planned for the future.


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