How to Make a Referral
Talking to Students about a Referral to the Counseling Center
- Talk to the student promptly and in private when neither of you is rushed. Avoid interruptions.
- State the reasons for your concern gently and honestly, while avoiding assumptions.
- Listen carefully and be nonjudgmental. Imagine how you would feel to be in the student’s shoes.
- Instill hopefulness and a positive attitude in resolving the problem. Assure the student of availability of resources and of people who want to help. Restate your concern and suggest the Counseling Center; explain that you do not have the expertise to help with all of their problems.
- Maintain clear interpersonal boundaries, as appropriate to your professional relationship with the student.
- Reassure the student that it is normal to pursue counseling and that no problems are too big or too small for a visit to the counseling service.
- Encourage the student to come for a one or two session consultation to discuss the situation, if they are hesitant to begin counseling.
- Let them know that counseling is free of charge and confidential.
- Even if the student refuses a referral, that student may decide to follow up on it at a later time. Do not let this decision have a negative effect on that student's relationship with you. In emergency situations, consult with our staff. It may not be appropriate to wait for intervention.
- In some cases you may want to inform the Dean of Students of your concerns. This can be done via the Students of Concern Referral Form.
Remember that counseling is a personal choice.