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SMC|Student Services|Psychological Services|Making a Referral

Making a Referral

 

The ability of faculty/staff to recognize signs of emotional distress and openly acknowledge these concerns directly to students are noted by students as the most significant factor in their successful problem resolution. Whenever possible, speak directly and honestly to the student when you sense academic and/or personal distress. Please refer to our Faculty and Staff Guide: Assisting the Emotionally Distressed Student for more detailed information about how to interact with students.
 
The following techniques will help you make a successful referral:
  • Approach students in a supportive manner and request to see the student in private. This may help minimize embarrassment and defensiveness.
  • Focus on things you have directly observed, showing curiosity and concern.  (e.g., "I've noticed that you have been tearful during class and I was wondering if everything is okay.") Refrain from making judgments or diagnoses.
  • Invite students to identify what they think is preventing them from performing as well as they can - Examples -attending class, completing assignments, etc. Demonstrate respect by listening carefully and trying to see the issues from the student's point of view--without agreeing or disagreeing (e.g., "It sounds like your struggles at home are making it difficult to get your assignments done on time.")
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries, remaining mindful not to step into the role of counselor. Do not ever agree to confidentiality.
  • Explain that personal counselors (in Psychological Services) are available to help and support students during difficult times.
  • Students often have a number of concerns about counseling and seeking assistance that, if not directly discussed, can deter them from acting upon a referral. It is useful to anticipate these issues and subsequently to make responses that are factual, encouraging, and appropriate. 
E.g. "You are capable of handling most of your problems. There are some,
however, that are difficult to handle alone.  Recognizing when you need assistance, and then getting it, is a sign of good problem-solving ability and is not a sign of weakness."
  • Explain that it has been helpful for other students with similar issues to have someone they can speak to in confidence.
 
E.g. "Many students experience struggles that interfere with their academic performance and have said that talking to a counselor in Psychological Services has been really helpful. The services are confidential and will not appear on your college record. What you share with a counselor is considered confidential and is not released to anyone without your permission." 
  • If you wish to refer a student for counseling, please call (310) 434-4503 and we will help you get the student in with one of our staff as quickly as possible.  Early intervention is preferable to crisis intervention.  Please note that a CRISIS CAN BE HANDLED ON DEMAND by just calling Psychological Services during operational hours.  If a crisis occurs outside of these hours, contact Campus Police, x4300.  
  • Please direct students to Psychological Services located within Liberal Arts Building, room 110 to schedule an appointment. Please inform the student that they will be required to complete some paperwork including a consent for treatment.  It helps to remind them that everything they discuss is confidential.  It also helps if you tell the student why you are recommending they seek psychological support.
  • If you determine that the student should be seen immediately, please call Psychological Services prior to bringing the student in or sending him/her over, so that enough information is gathered in preparation of handling the crisis, and to ensure that a counselor will be made available to provide assistance to the student.
  • Walk-in hours are set aside each day for students who may not necessarily be experiencing a serious emergency, but who want to be seen the same day. Standing walk-in hours are Monday - Thursday from 10am to 12pm and 3:00p.m. to 4:00pm. Friday walk-in hours are from 10:00am to 11am.