How do I refer my college student to Counseling Services?
Encourage your child to call Counseling Services or stop by 222 IWC between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm to schedule an initial appointment. Every effort will be made to see a student the same day if they indicate they are in crisis.
Can I schedule an appointment for my college student?
No. The procedure is for your child to contact us directly to make an appointment. Your student will know their availability better than you. Experience has taught us that if a parent makes an appointment for the student, the student is less likely to follow-through or be invested in counseling.
How do I find out if my college student is going to counseling and how they are doing?
The Counseling Services staff is legally and ethically bound by rules of confidentiality. We will not be able to confirm if your student is coming to counseling or give you any information about individual sessions without your student’s written permission. We understand your desire for information, but we also trust that you understand that confidentiality is an essential part of the counseling process. Rest assured if we assess your student to be at immediate risk of self-harm, we will contact you and/or arrange for your son or daughter to be hospitalized.
May I consult with a counselor or provide information?
We often receive phone calls from concerned parents. Even though confidentiality limits us from giving you information about your specific student, we are able to listen and provide general problem solving advice. Appointment services are available to students only, unless your student requests your presence at their appointment.
Is there anything I can do if my college student is reluctant to seek counseling services?
While we cannot make another person go to counseling or be ready for change, it is certainly appropriate to encourage a student to talk to a professional about their concerns. Consider the following:
- Explain to your child why you are recommending counseling. “I’ve seen/heard … and I’m concerned.”
- Remind them counseling is confidential, not a part of their permanent record, and is used by hundreds of WSU and MSC-SE Technical students each year for a wide variety of reasons.
- Encourage them to take the online self-assessment surveys.
- Suggest that they commit to one session and then decide if they wish to continue.
- Remind them that resilient and successful college students use the wide variety of resources available to them. Successful students are not generally those who go it alone.
- Remember, in the end, it is your child's decision. Students must be open to the possibility in order to take advantage of the services available. Except in the case of imminent danger to self or others, allow your child to refuse counseling. Your suggestion may have planted a seed that will germinate later.
What does it mean that you provide “short-term counseling”?
We are designed to provide short-term, time-limited counseling in order to offer services to as many students as possible. For those students whose presenting issues suggest a need for more long-term services, the staff at Counseling Services can help facilitate a referral to private mental health care in the community. Services at our center will not be an appropriate substitute for long-term intensive psychological services. Some common examples of issues that may be more suited to an outside referral include but are not limited to:
- student issues that may require weekly appointments throughout the year
- student issues which require a specific type of therapy not practiced by our staff
- student issues which required long-term, ongoing psychotherapy before coming to WSU
- student issues that tend to worsen in short-term counseling
Will counseling be a part of their permanent record?
Absolutely not. Counseling records are treated differently from all other records on campus.
How do I recognize if my college student is in distress?
We encourage parents to keep in touch with their students and be aware of significant changes in their academic performance (skipping class, poor grades, lack of motivation), behavior (personal hygiene, mood, sleep, or appetite), or relationships (death of someone close, unwanted break-ups, social isolation).
Certainly references to suicide need immediate attention.
Given the prevalence of depression on college campuses, we encourage parents to be familiar with the symptoms of depression.
Now that my child is in college, what should my role be?
Our hope for our children is that they will become capable, independent, resourceful adults. In order for that to happen, our roles must shift as they leave for college. While our children are still home, we obviously take a more direct role in their lives. But now as our children become adults, we rob them of the opportunity to fully develop if we continue to hover, make decisions for them, or try to be involved at every turn. Resourceful adults are those who are able to problem solve and tackle, often through the help of available resources, what comes their way. While you certainly won’t step out of your student’s life, it is important to take a step back to move to the role of consultant and let them know you believe in them as they continue to spread their wings. Welcome to the next stage of parenting!
How do I take care of myself during the college years?
Keep in mind the following ways to support yourself through this transition:
- Expect to experience a range of emotions
- Reach out to supportive friends, especially those who have gone through this before
- Renew old friendships
- Let wellness be your goal – get adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise
- Pursue old hobbies or long-awaited ones
- Grab that book that has been gathering dust
- Cook your favorite foods that your child would not touch
- Be patient with change
- Remember this, too, is part of your job as a parent – learning to let go
- Celebrate the young adult your college student is becoming