How to Make Referrals

When you are concerned about a student and think that it might be helpful for him/her to meet with a therapist at CAPS, it is beneficial to provide that student with an empathic, clear, and concise communication about why you think counseling would be helpful. In other words, share with the student what you have observed (through behavior, written class assignments, etc.) that has caused you to be concerned, provide support and encouragement, and let the student know what CAPS has to offer. For example, you can inform the student that all of our services are free to regularly enrolled students and that counseling is confidential (with a few exceptions that primarily involve safety issues). You might want to share information about CAPS drop-in and crisis servicesgroups offered, etc. If you have had positive interactions with our staff members in the past, this can be helpful information to share as well (e.g., it may help to instill trust, a sense of accessibility and familiarity, etc.).

Please keep in mind that early intervention is preferable to crisis intervention. To ensure prompt attention, it is best to call in advance for an appointment. Having the student make the call increases his/her responsibility and commitment to come for counseling; however, there may be times, especially if the student is in crisis, when it is advantageous for you to call and make the appointment. If you believe the matter is serious and you have doubts that the student will follow through with contacting CAPS, please consider walking with the student to our office (2nd floor of the Health, Wellness, and Counseling Center). A phone call alerting us to the arrival of a student in crisis is very appreciated and will facilitate our serving the student in a timely and effective fashion. Concerns that may indicate that the student is in crisis include:

  • Thoughts of Suicide
  • A Recent Suicide Attempt
  • Fear of Losing Control and Possibly Harming Oneself or Someone Else
  • A Recent Sexual or Physical Assault
  • Recent Death (or discovery of a terminal illness) Of a Friend or Family Member
  • Fear For Her/His Life (e.g., due to threats, a domestic violence situation, etc.)

In the case of a crisis, the student will be seen in a timely fashion by the therapist on-call (i.e., typically within the hour of his/her arrival at CAPS). For a routine counseling session, students can use our "drop-in" system and simply wait to see the drop-in therapist on a first come- first served basis on a day that is convenient for them. Alternatively, students may schedule a first time appointment and return to CAPS at this later date.

Please keep in mind that our services are designed for students who can benefit from time-limited counseling. If longer-term therapy is indicated, the student will be referred to an appropriate off campus resource. Because our services are confidential, we will be unable to relay information to you regarding the student's use of our services unless the student provides us with written permission to communicate with you on his/her behalf.