Referring a Student to the Counseling Center

There are various reasons why you might want to refer a student for counseling . Some examples include:

  • The student's problems are interfering with their academic work and experience in your class.
  • The student's well-being is suffering, they are struggling socially, with self-care, in school, etc.
  • Observations of the student's personal behavior raises concerns.
  • When you believe a student's problems go beyond your own experience and expertise.
  • When you feel uncomfortable helping a student with some issue.

Students experience stress differently and sometimes their concerns can be relatively transient. If you are uncertain or have questions on how to respond to a situation, consult with a counselor in the Counseling Center about how to evaluate the situation and follow the most appropriate steps.

When encouraging a student to seek counseling:

  • Summarize to them what you are hearing from them and how you understand their difficulty (For example, "It sounds like you are feeling really overwhelmed by all of your stressors and it's making it difficult to get to class.").
  • Talk about resources and how the Counseling Center may be helpful (For example, "I have found that other students who felt that way have been helped by talking to a counselor at the Counseling Center.").
  • When talking about counseling, it is important to keep in mind some of the concerns a student may have to the idea and be ready to discuss them.
  • It can be helpful to explain what happens when they come to the Counseling Center and that counseling is confidential (parents/family/friends won't know and it doesn't show up on their transcript!).

NOTE: Limits to confidentiality include danger to oneself or others, in which case proper authorities must be notified for the student's safety.

Off-Campus Counseling

The Counseling Center has a Clinical Case & Referral Specialist who can assist students with connecting to mental health resources off-campus.

The Clinical Case Manager (CCM) provides assistance to students who are seeking long-term therapy or psychiatry (medication), are looking for testing/assessment for mental health concerns, or are interested in services outside of the scope of the WCU Counseling Center (e.g., documentation, court-mandated counseling, etc.). The CCM can either meet with you for a Referred Out Consultation (which lasts 30 minutes – 1 hour) or provide referral resources via email. Whichever option you choose, the CCM will stay connected with you until you are scheduled or decide that you are no longer interested in services.

During your Referred Out Consultation you will:

  • Talk about why you’re interested in meeting with someone off-campus and what you’re looking for in a therapist. This also gives you a chance to share what you like (and don’t like) about therapy and/or your previous experience(s).
  • Discuss what you can expect in therapy and how longer-term services differ from short-term counseling
  • Talk about how your insurance works and call the company to verify how you’re covered for mental health services
  • Figure out next steps in finding support

During your Referred Out Consultation (and beyond!) the CCM will:

  • Answer any questions you may have about finding a counselor, psychiatrist, or other services
  • Listen to your concerns about therapy and seeking off-campus providers
  • Call your insurance company while you are present (either in-person or via conference call) and walk you through the process of obtaining your benefits (including navigating the Call Menu System and speaking with the Customer Service representative(s))
  • Discuss the therapeutic relationship and how different types of therapy may be helpful to address your concerns
  • Help you reach out to providers by sending referral email(s), asking them to contact you to discuss scheduling (with your permission to share information, of course)
  • Follow-up with you and stay connected until you are set up with counseling off-campus
  • Check back in at the end of the semester (or after you’ve been meeting with your therapist for a few months) to get feedback about your therapist and the referral process

What Case Management is NOT:

  • Counseling – our work is focused on helping you get counseling, rather than meeting for regular therapy sessions
  • A Scheduling Service – the CCM provides tools and walks you through the process, but will not make an appointment for you or force you to choose to go to therapy.
  • Forced Counseling - It is your decision whether you’re ready to meet with someone or if you want to wait. Just because you meet with the CCM does not mean you have to schedule
  • An Agenda – the CCM works on your timeline, not theirs. There may be times when they encourage you to be more proactive, but they will not pressure or force you to contact providers

Any questions - feel free to call the Counseling Center (610-436-2301) or contact the CCM directly (

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