Referring people to Counselling and Psychological Services
You may know someone who you think may need counselling. They may have experienced relationship breakups, difficult family situations, loneliness or depression, the death of a friend or family member, or other situations which interfere with academic or personal achievement. Or they may just be distressed but not able to identify the cause.
What should you do about people who appear troubled?
- Listen, don't rush to fix, advise or disagree
- Empathise, put yourself in their shoes
- Remember your role is to provide support and to make suggestions for further support when it seems necessary. Don't get involved beyond what seems comfortable or appropriate to you.
If people maintain contact with you after discussing a referral, continue to be supportive and encouraging, but stay within your realm of responsibility. Remember, readiness is an essential component of effective help, and your support may enable them to seek further assistance later.
Counselling cannot work effectively unless it is voluntary and people hold some hope that it can lead to relief. If people attend from a sense of obligation, they might not be able to talk freely. Raise the idea of seeing a counsellor without forcing the issue. While you might give the phone number or mention the name of a Counsellor you know, you should not ordinarily make the appointment on their behalf.
In rare instances, when people are in crisis, it may be helpful to phone the Service for them, but it is still best to let them do the talking if they can.
Please call us if you are uncertain about making a referral, or you are worried about someone. Staff at Counselling and Psychological Services welcome the opportunity to help in this way. If you are concerned about the seriousness or urgency of a problem but the person is unwilling to be referred, please discuss it with us.