How to Make Referrals

YOUR ATTITUDE of sincere interest and helpfulness toward a student in need is most important.

MUTUAL DECISION regarding referrals creates the best climate for helping a student, unless he/she is seriously disturbed and unable to accept such responsibility. (See section on "Seriously Disturbed Students.") Threats or involuntary referrals make for hostile attitudes and/or unmotivated clients.

PURPOSE of the referral should be made clear to the student, and you should explain how the Counseling Center can assist him/her with his/her problems.

TIMING is important. When a student is receptive toward a referral, offer to pick up the phone and make an appointment for him/her in his/her presence. REASSURANCE is important. Assure him/her that seeking help doesn't necessarily mean that he/she has serious problems. There are many kinds of referrals. The best one is the one that the student will respond to. Depending on the situation, have the student consider friends, clergy, family members, community agencies, and campus offices, especially those in the Division of Student Affairs.

CONTACT a counselor at the Counseling Center later to share pertinent information about the person you referred. If you decide it is important to share information about the student with the Counseling Center staff, it is better to receive permission from the student beforehand.

Usually referrals to the Counseling Center are not effective when you merely suggest that the student see a counselor. It is important to note that referrals are most effective:

  • when you escort the person to the Counseling Center
  • when you call ahead and make an appointment, and
  • when you encourage the student to seek out help for a particular reason or behavior