Making a Referral for Counseling

Even though you may be genuinely concerned about students, and interested in helping them, you may find yourself in situations where it would be better to refer them to other resources. Circumstances that might necessitate a referral include:

  • the problem is more serious than you feel comfortable handling.
  • you are either extremely busy, or are experiencing stress in your own life, and are unable or unwilling to handle other requests for help.
  • you have talked to the student and helped as much as you can, but further assistance is needed.
  • you think your personal feelings about the student will interfere with your objectivity.
  • the student admits that there is a problem, but doesn't want to talk to you about it.
  • the student asks for information or assistance that you are unable to provide.

Let the student know your reasons for making a referral (e.g., lack of time, conflict of interest, limited training) and emphasize your concern that they do get help from an appropriate source. It may help the student to know that you support his/her desire to seek help.

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