It’s always a good idea to consult with colleagues, deans, counselors, or others who might be able to give you feedback and suggestions for working with a problem student.
Often a referral is not necessary; approaching the student with your concerns can make an immediate impact on their behavior or performance in your class.
No one has the expertise to handle everything an individual may present to them, so we all need to be familiar with the process of asking for help or referring a problem to someone who has the training, experience, and position to do the best job.
When to Refer
- The problems or requests made are beyond your level of competence.
- There are personality differences which interfere with your ability to work with a student.
- The boundaries of your role make it unwise to work with students on personal issues.
- A student expresses a preference (directly or indirectly) to speak with someone else about their concerns.
- After some time and effort, you feel like you are not making progress in helping this student.
How to Refer
Consider helping the student make an appointment, perhaps by walking with the student to the office where the referral is being made or letting the student call from your office. After a referral, communicate to the student your continued concern and openness to help. Be aware of the requirements of confidentiality in the counseling process, but let the student know that you are interested in whatever information they share. There may be times the student wishes to stop talking to you about the problem altogether. Do not expect miracles. Behaviors, attitudes, and feelings take time to change, and a student may show slow progress or, for a while, none at all. Communicate your continued concern and availability.
Making a Referral to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Office hours are 8:00-5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. CAPS generally operates on an appointment basis, although students are seen on a walk-in basis. Walk-in wait times may vary depending on staff availability. Students wanting an initial meeting are advised to call the Wellness Center at (240)895-4289 or campus ext. 4289, or stop by the Wellness Center to make an appointment. Emergencies are always accommodated as soon as possible. In case of an emergency after hours, Public Safety should be notified, and they will get in touch with a counselor or on-call personnel.