Counseling Referral

photo of support spelled out in blocks

When you have decided that professional counseling may be appropriate, refer the student in a gentle yet caring and straight-forward manner. Because many students initially resist the idea of counseling, it is useful to be firm in your judgment that you believe counseling will be useful. Be clear and concrete regarding the reasons for your concern. Except in emergencies (e.g. suicidal thoughts) in which you would consult with a counselor, it is important to allow the student to accept or refuse counseling.

  • Suggest that the student call or come in to make an appointment. Give the Counseling Services phone number (608-246-6076) and location (Room D1618 Truax campus, Room D116 DTEC).
  • Remind the student that our services are free and confidential.
  • Sometimes it is useful or necessary to assist the student more directly in the appointment-setting process. In these instances, you can offer the use of your phone, or call the receptionist yourself, while the student is in your office. In an immediate emergency, you may decide to actually walk the student over to Counseling Services, if on site.

There is an on-call counselor accessible for crisis situations through the Counseling Services office. If possible, a call that you are bringing a student would be appreciated. Since a student can best be helped by counseling if he or she is self-motivated, reserve the more direct approaches of referral for instances that you believe to be a crisis.

Finally, if you are concerned about a student but unsure about the appropriateness of the referral, feel free to call Counseling Services at (608) 246-6076  to access a professional counselor for a consultation.


We are required by law and by professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of all communication between counselor and client (except in cases where harm to self or harm to others is indicated). Consequently, we cannot discuss with others the details of a student's situation or even indicate whether the student is, in fact, in counseling. In order for information about the student to be released to you or others, we must first get the written permission of the student. However, students are typically more trusting of the counseling relationship if they believe that their privacy and confidentiality are maintained by their counselors. Therefore, it is not our usual practice to request a release of information from a student when he or she is referred for counseling. You may, however, wish to follow up with the student about your referral.