COUNSELING CENTER GUIDE FOR FACULTY AND STAFF 
The role of professors and support staff can sometimes prove to be complicated when it involves students who may require some extra support on campus.  Below are some typical questions that have been presented to our office.  Please read through the situations below as it may help in working with your students this semester.

Please know you can always feel free to contact our office (x 6370) to speak to any of our counselors about any of the issues below or other concerns you may have about your students.

1. What type of students should be referred to the Counseling Center?
2. If any of the above issues are going on, should I automatically send the student to the Counseling Center?
3. How do I know if it is a disciplinary situation or situation for the Counseling Center?
4. How do I refer a student to the Counseling Center?
5. Can I make Counseling a condition for a student to be in my class?
6. What do I do if my student refuses to seek Counseling services?
7. Can I tell the student that Counseling is confidential so they feel better about going?
8. If I have a relationship with a counselor, can I just refer my students to him/her or just call him/her when I need to discuss a student?
9. I know that a particular counselor in the Center is a liaison to my Department.  Does that mean I should always reach out to him/her when I have a concern about a student?
10. If I refer a student to the office, after the counselor meets with the student, will they then reach out to me to let me know what happened?
11. What if I tell my students that their work or discussions with me are confidential, but they then disclose something of concern to me that I feel I must reach out to your office?  I wouldn’t want the student to know I reported it to you.
12. Is it okay for me to give out my personal information to students (phone number, email), especially if I feel they could use a little extra support, but may not really need counseling?

1. What type of students should be referred to the Counseling Center?
While there is no specific “type” of student who you should refer to our office, you  can refer students who:
  -  You feel would benefit from speaking to a counselor.
  -  You are concerned about.  Some behaviors or signs of concern that may prompt you to refer a student are:  easily agitated, extremely introverted, appears disheveled, always unprepared for class, seems anxious when taking exams, very unfocused, is failing your class, disruptive, poor attendance, visible cuts or bruises are apparent more than once, sleeps in class, written assignments are not based in reality or shares personal information about themselves that concerns you.  Top of page

2. If any of the above issues are going on, should I automatically send the student to the Counseling Center?
When possible, the first thing you should do is approach the student before or after class.  Address your concerns with him/her.  The student may have a simple explanation about what is going on for them. They may require tutoring, or are tired due to working a night shift.   If it is a behavioral issue, once addressed, the negative behavior may cease.  If it persists, it may be more of a disciplinary action for the Office of Student Conduct (L-418) or Security vs. the Counseling Center.  Top of page

3. How do I know if it is a disciplinary situation or situation for the Counseling Center?
If the student is exhibiting violent, threatening and/or aggressive behavior towards you or other students in the class, it is more likely an issue for the Office of Student Conduct (L-418) or Security.  These behaviors may include yelling, making verbal threats, using profanity in an angry tone, invading another student’s or your personal space in a threatening manner, throwing objects, etc.  After meeting with the student, if the Student Conduct Officer feels he/she would then benefit from Counseling, he will refer the student to us.    Top of page

4. How do I refer a student to the Counseling Center?
After speaking to the student, you can then introduce our office.  Please mention to them that many students come to the center and benefit from our services. (share with them some of the things we do).  You can give the student our office location and number (L-422, 718-631-6370), or walk the student to our office to assist them in actually getting to us and scheduling the appointment.  Please keep in mind that if the student feels they are being judged, accused of something, or feel you think they are “crazy” they are less likely to come.    Top of page

5. Can I make Counseling a condition for a student to be in my class?
No.  Counseling is not a punitive action.  Also, we cannot force a student to be in counseling, or prevent them from attending classes based on their participation in our office.  If you are that concerned about the student’s behavior that you feel they should not be in your class, it may be a good indication that this is more a disciplinary issue that should be discussed with the Office of Student Conduct (L-418).  Top of page

6. What do I do if my student refuses to seek Counseling services?
You cannot force the student to seek counseling, you can only recommend it.  Counselors do not normally reach out to the students you recommend either, unless it is a situation of great concern.  Having us reach out to a student who doesn’t know us sometimes is more disturbing to the student.  You can always reach out to our office for other things we can do to engage the student, and we can always provide you with a hotline you could give to him/her.  If possible, familiarize yourself with the Referral section of our website, as there are many resources there that you may be able to share with your students that they may find helpful.   Top of page

7. Can I tell the student that Counseling is confidential so they feel better about going?
We prefer you do not tell the students that what they say to us is confidential, as we do not guarantee confidentiality.   Doing so may give them a false sense of security, where they disclose things that may not be confidential.  Confidentiality will be addressed by the counselor.   Top of page

8. If I have a relationship with a counselor, can I just refer my students to him/her or just call him/her when I need to discuss a student?
We understand that you may work closely with specific counselors based on your prior experiences with them.  While you can refer your students directly to the counselor you are most familiar with, please know that in situations where there is an emergency, if that particular counselor is not available at the time the student must be seen, you should work with any counselors in our office.  Also, know that if you do refer a student to a specific counselor, it does not always mean they will continue to work with that counselor.  Sometimes the student and counselor’s schedule do not coincide.  If this is the case, the counselor would then refer the student to another counselor in the office or even to an outside agency.  If you are unsure on what to do, you can always reach out to the counselor you know who can then guide you in the best interest of the student.  Remember, in cases of an emergency, any counselor will be more than happy to help you.   Top of page

9. I know that a particular counselor in the Center is a liaison to my Department.  Does that mean I should always reach out to him/her when I have a concern about a student?
First, please know that all full time counselors are a liaison to an Academy, a Department and even another Student Affairs office.  With that said, the same principal applies here as it did to the above question.  While you can reach out to your counseling liaison, and refer students to him/her, do not feel that they are the only counselor who can assist you.  If that counselor is not available to speak to you the moment you call, there will be another counselor available for you to talk to if you feel it cannot wait.  In cases of an emergency, reach out to any counselor in our office.  We are all more than happy to assist anyone who needs.   Top of page

10. If I refer a student to the office, after the counselor meets with the student, will they then reach out to me to let me know what happened?
If you referred a student to a specific counselor or alerted the office that this was a specific referral from you, you can follow up with the counselor, or the counselor may reach out to you.  In most cases, the counselor will only be able to state whether or not the student attended the session and if the situation has or is being addressed.  No specific details can be given, including informing you if the student will continue with us (unless they give us permission allowing us to share with you).   Top of page

11. What if I tell my students that their work or discussions with me are confidential, but they then disclose something of concern to me that I feel I must reach out to your office?  I wouldn’t want the student to know I reported it to you.
You should never tell students that anything in your class is confidential.  This includes homework, in class assignments, and correspondence via email, blackboard, and/or e-portfolio.  In fact, if you are using any electronic forms of communication, you should indicate in writing that what they may disclose is not held confidential.   Top of page

12. Is it okay for me to give out my personal information to students (phone number, email), especially if I feel they could use a little extra support, but may not really need counseling?
It is best if you do not give out your personal information to students.  This is why you have office hours, a departmental number and/or an official QCC email account for them to reach out to you.  When personal information is given out, boundaries are crossed, and students then feel they can start disclosing anything to you.  In some cases, simple correspondences of support have escalated into major situations that the faculty/staff member did not know how to address or handle.   Top of page

Developed by Gina Capozzoli, Assistant Director of the Counseling Center

Links

ST-100 Links