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How to Make a Referral to the Counseling Center

People usually express themselves to others in two major ways: directly through language, and indirectly through bodily postures, tone of voice, and facial gestures. When observing and interacting with students, it is important to attend to both direct and indirect communication. Listening to the content of what a student says, as well as to the feelings conveyed, will often help the student to feel better and increase the likelihood that the student will accept and follow through on a referral to the Counseling Center.

Although the manner in which a referral to counseling is made may differ depending on circumstances, the following tips may be helpful to you: 

  • Be direct and specific. Clearly state that the referral is based on your best judgment from your observations of the student's behavior. Be specific in identifying the behaviors that caused you to be concerned. Tell the student you believe they may benefit from professional support through the Counseling Center.
     
  • Pay attention to both direct and indirect communication. Listen to the content of what the student says and acknowledge the feelings conveyed through tone, mannerisms, and posture. 
     
  • Avoid labeling the student and making generalizations about the student based on your observations. Do not, for example, tell a student that they are "depressed".  Labels make people feel defensive and shift the focus away from the real issue - the behavior which has caused you to become concerned about the student. 
     
  • Show your knowledge. The more information you convey about the services available the more the student will have confidence in your credibility as a referral source.

In an emergency, where a student has expressed the intention to harm or has actually harmed themselves or another person, the student may be required to receive emergency services.

If you believe the student may be at risk, call the Counseling Center immediately at (508)793-3363.

If it is during a time when the Counseling Center is closed call Public Safety immediately at (508)793-2222

Students at Holy Cross attend psychotherapy sessions on a voluntary basis. If the student is skeptical or reluctant to accept a referral for any reason, express your acceptance of those feelings so that your own relationship with a student is not jeopardized. Students often need time to think over the decision to begin psychotherapy. They have the right to refuse a referral, but will probably accept one if they are not pressured too much by others who are concerned.

If the student agrees to the referral, encourage the individual to call or come into the Counseling Center to make an appointment. The student will be given an initial appointment with a clinician. There are no charges for the services provided by the staff of the Counseling Center. After referring a student to the Counseling Center, it might be a good idea for you to have a follow-up contact with that student to show your continued interest in the student’s welfare.