Talking to Students about a Referral to the Counseling Center

  1. Talk to the student promptly and in private when neither of you is rushed. Avoid interruptions.
  2. State the reasons for your concern gently and honestly, while avoiding assumptions.
  3. Listen carefully and be nonjudgmental. Imagine how you would feel to be  in the student’s shoes.
  4. 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.
  5. Maintain clear interpersonal boundaries, as appropriate to your professional relationship with the student.
  6. 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.
  7. Encourage the student to come for a one or two session consultation to discuss the situation, if they are hesitant to begin counseling.
  8. Let them know that counseling is free of charge and confidential.
  9. 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.
  10. In some cases you may want to inform the Dean of Students of your concerns. This can be done via the Person of Concern Referral or by visiting the Charger 360 page.
Remember that counseling is a personal choice.