Faculty & Staff
How to Make a Referral for Professional Counseling
A Guide for Faculty, Staff, and Students on Making Referrals to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs for Personal Counseling Referrals
The UACCB Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs would like to assist others in making the best use of the community's professional counseling services. If any students with whom you have contact appear to have emotional problems which may require professional attention, please refer them to the Career and Disability Services office.
Some behaviors often indicate that a student is experiencing emotional or psychological distress. Students who experience or exhibit a number of these behaviors over a period of time should be of particular concern:
- Difficulty in one or more areas of life (school, work, relationships, family, etc.)
- Signs of emotional distress such as tearfulness, anxiety, belligerence, lack of concentration, excessive daydreaming, etc.
- Statements reflecting helplessness or hopelessness
- Substance abuse
- Deterioration of physical appearance to include poor hygiene and/or significant weight loss/gain
- Noticeable changes in quality of academic work, missed classes or assignments, and/or avoidance of classroom participation
- Isolation from family and friends
In addition to the behaviors listed above, a referral is usually indicated in the following situations:
- A student presents a personal problem or requests information about how to address a problem that is outside your area of expertise or that you feel uncomfortable handling.
- A student is reluctant to discuss a problem with you for some reason.
- You have exhausted your resources in trying to be of help and believe the student needs more assistance than you have been able to provide.
When a student approaches you with a problem, take the time to listen in a non-judgmental and respectful manner. If you wish to approach the student with your concerns, do so directly and state your concerns clearly. The following recommendations may make providing a referral easier:
- Speak with the student in private.
- Give the student your reasons for suggesting a referral. It helps to present counseling as a positive growth experience that can enhance self-development rather than as remediation of psychopathology.
- Reassure the student that it is normal to experience some problems during the college experience and seeking help is the right thing to do.
- If the student is willing, let him or her use your office phone to immediately schedule an appointment. If not, provide contact information to the student so he or she may do so when ready.
- Follow-up with the student to show your continued support.
If you are in doubt about whether or not to refer a student to counseling, or would like suggestions on how to approach a particular student, please call the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. A telephone consultation may help sort out relevant issues, explore alternative approaches and identify other resources which may better serve the students’ needs.