Significant people in the lives of students sometimes develop concerns about them. The Counseling Center is available to help with those concerns, through the process of consultation. During a consultation with a member of our staff, usually by phone, we listen to your concerns and offer some advice or recommendations about what you can do. Generally, we assist you in working further with the student rather than contact the student ourselves. In so doing, we are respecting the student's right to privacy and self-determination in seeking psychological assistance.
Changes in a student's behavior may indicate a personal problem. For example, missing classes or work may reflect difficulty sleeping at night, trouble being in public, or fear of disappointing others by a low performance. Behavior that is out of the typical range for university students may also represent a psychological problem. Signs to look for include:
You may be comfortable approaching a student you know, or a student may initiate a talk with you. In either case, address your concern in a private place and when you have at least 15 minutes to talk without interruptions. Take an attitude that is non-judgmental but caring, saying that you are concerned about him or her. Be straightforward about the appearance, functioning, or behavior that you have noticed. Do not press the student to disclose personal information to you, but let him or her know that you would like to be helpful and that there are additional resources on campus where assistance is available.
Tips and suggestions for when you're concerned about a student.
UC has many offices that assist students with academic and personal needs. These include Educational Services, Women's Center, Ethnic Programs and Services, Center for Access and Transition, Career Development Center, Campus Ministry, Financial Aid, University Health Services, Impact Solutions, and others. For students who may have a significant attention disorder, learning disorder, anxiety disorder, depression or other mental health condition, Disability Services Office is a good contact for investigating possible accommodations. It is important to convey to students that, while you care about them and want to help, your expertise in some areas is limited and people at these other offices have the training and skills to be more effective.
There is still enough stigma associated with using counseling that some students may be reluctant to contact the Counseling Center. You can address reluctance by "normalizing" the use of such services-conveying that hundreds of students use the Counseling Center every year and counseling is a part of general health care, with a focus on emotional and interpersonal satisfaction. It helps students to hear that seeking counseling is not a sign of weakness, "craziness," or an inability to handle one's own problems, but rather a sign of strength in seeking out resources.
Note to the student that services are confidential. The first contact will be a Brief Assessment and Consultation. The BAC (15 minutes) is conducted by phone. The counselor will ask a series of questions and discuss various options that may be appropriate for the student. You can give the student our phone number, 513-556-0648 and suggest (but not require) the student use your phone to call from your office to set up an appointment. If you are very concerned about a student, you can offer to walk with him/her to the Counseling Center. You can ask a student to let you know how things went if they do agree to go to the Counseling Center. You can also suggest they visit our website for more detailed information, www.uc.edu/counseling.
Giving students specific information may also increase the likelihood of their initiating contact with us. We are located in 1216 Crosley Tower. Our hours are Monday through Friday 8am.- 5pm; we are closed 12-1 for lunch. We have emergent walk-in or call-in coverage 1-4 M-F. After the BAC, the therapist will schedule an intake interview, which lasts about one hour. During that time we learn about the student and the student learns about our procedures. Follow up appointments are normally 45-50 minutes, during which we work with the student on focal problems. We do refer students elsewhere when we do not have specific expertise to assist them or when treatment for a situation goes beyond the scope of our time-limited model. However, we work with students until they feel stable and better able to cope.
When to Refer
Information on when to refer a student to the Counseling Center.
Some situations require immediate attention. If a student's behavior is highly disruptive, creates a risk for others' safety, appears very disorganized or out of control, or if the student expresses an intent of self-harm or suicide, seek immediate assistance by calling the Counseling Center (513-556-0648) and asking for the therapist on-call for emergencies, or call Public Safety at 911.
It is always best to be extra cautious.
If you want to discuss your concerns about a student with a staff member of the Counseling Center, call and request a consultation. We have staff available for consultation. We will listen to your concerns and provide specific guidance and advice tailored to the situation. We may suggest such approaches as:
Sometimes we provide a series of consultations about a student. You can keep in touch with us about a student as you address concerns.
When to Seek Consultation
Information on when to seek consultation from the Counseling Center.