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Counseling Services
Counseling Services
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General Policies & Procedures

Scope of Practice

Counseling Services Staff will provide care to students with mental health, social, and emotional problems that interfere with their personal, interpersonal, and academic lives. Students will be treated based upon short-term, time-limited counseling that emphasizes life skills enhancement. It is beyond SIUE Counseling Services' scope of practice to provide ongoing counseling and psychotherapy for students with moderate to severe psychological issues (such as students with serious, long-term psychiatric conditions, or students who may be at risk of harm to self or others). In these cases, individuals will be provided appropriate referral information for treatment in the community. All decisions about the provision of counseling services to a student will be made solely on the basis of clinical judgment and the availability of necessary resources and are not based on the student's race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, disability, or status as a disabled veteran. If you are referred to an outside resource, you are responsible for any fees associated with such service.

Session Limits

To best meet the needs of as many students as possible, a limit to the type and amount of services available has been established.  While many students utilize an average of 5 sessions, students who are deemed to be within the scope of SIUE Counseling Services’ scope of practice are entitled to no more than 15 sessions per academic year.  Students who need longer term services and whose counseling needs exceed the Counseling Center’s Scope of Practice will be referred to other more appropriate sources of assistance.

Waitlist

At times, counseling demands may exceed our Department’s resources.  If you come during one of these high demand periods, you might be placed on a waiting list or referred to another agency. In the event of an emergency, persons will be asked to complete a crisis form, and be seen by a counseling services staff member to assess safety and determine treatment direction.

Confidentiality and Recordings

Each individual is entitled to privacy in his/her work with a counselor. All contacts with a counselor are confidential to the Counseling and Health Services professional staff. Written permission is required for Counseling Services to release information to others. A court order may require an exception to the lawful protection of individual legal rights to privileged communication with a counselor or psychiatrist.

If it becomes clear in the counseling session that there is a real danger to oneself or to others, we are required to take action. Also, reports of abuse of children or others unable to care for themselves will also require some action to be taken. Confidentiality laws do not apply in these cases.

A record is kept of an individual's work with us. It contains information individuals have provided to us in writing as well as counseling notes of individual sessions. As of Fall 2010, records are kept in secure electronic form for a period seven (7) years after the student's last visit. Previous to Fall 2010, paper records were destroyed after a period of seven (7) years after an individual's last visit. Counseling Services files never become a part of the permanent SIUE educational record .

Additional records of sessions are sometimes taken such as the counselor's personal notes and audio tapes. These are destroyed in a timely manner and do not become part of an individual's counseling record. SIUE Counseling Services is a training site for master's and doctoral level therapists in training. These trainees are required to video record their sessions for quality control and training purposes ONLY. These recordings are destroyed in a timely manner and never become a part of the individuals counseling record.

If you have questions about confidentiality and your privacy, please talk with a counselor.

Release of Information Policy

Prior to a counselor releasing confidential information to a thrid party, the client must complete and sign the Release of Information form.

  • Counseling information cannot be released to the following without the client's consent:

    • parents or guardians, spouse, siblings, or significant other
    • another doctor, lawyer, or health organization
    • insurance company, disability payment source, or state agency

Procedure:

  • A client may review his or her counseling record in the confines of the Counseling Services office with a counselor and only by appointment.
  • A client wishing to grant release of information to another party must complete the Release of Information form.
  • The standard charge for copies is $1.00 per page. This includes records released to an individual, a legal firm, or an insurance company. There is no charge if records are released directly to another physician or health care facility, or another entity of SIUE.
  • A summary of a client's counseling record may be prepared by a client's Counseling Services therapist for $20.00. A summary is a written document created by a therapist based on the contents of the chart describing the counseling episode.
  • Records may be faxed or mailed. A cover sheet or letter must be affixed to accompany all documents.
  • The legal counsel of SIUE may wish to review cases involving probable legal action before the information is released. In a legal case, the whole chart is copied at the written request of the legal counsel. Counseling Services will not release any medical information obtained from another clinic, hospital, or private physician if marked "not for secondary disclosure".
  • Counseling Services will not release records pertaining to alcohol/drug use, mental health, HIV/AIDS, abortion, and sexual assault unless the written consent is signed.
  • In cases of immediate transfer by ambulance or police of a client to any emergency facility or hospital, appropriate information can be sent with the client, including photocopies of clinical notes and identification information. This material should be provided for continuity of care. Also in these cases, all attempts will be made to contact the emergency contact person(s) supplied by the client on his/her Client Intake Questionnaire form or at the client's verbal request to contact such persons as so designated.
  • Pages of the chart with the stamp "re-disclosure is prohibited" may accompany records released by the records technician. The recipient of the information is then prohibited from using the information for other than the stated purpose and will prevent disclosure to a third party.
  • Fees may be waived by permission of the Director of Counseling Services.

Attendance Policies


Late Arrivals

The student will be seen if they are less than 15 minutes late to check in at the front desk. 

The student will be required to reschedule their appointment if they are 15 minutes or more late to check in at the front desk.

"No Show" Policy

A “no show” is when a student fails to show for a scheduled appointment without cancelling or rescheduling the appointment.

A “no show” appointment will count as one of the 15 sessions students are allowed each academic year.  If a student fails to show for two appointments within a 30 day period, he/she will be placed on a 30-day hold.  The next available appointment will be at least 30 days from the second no-show.

Cancellations

A student is "late" in canceling appointments if they do not notify Counseling Services within 24 hours of their scheduled appointment. This is because Counseling Services needs time to be able to make the appointment time available to other students.

If a student establishes a pattern of late cancellations, then they may be required to wait a longer period of time before being seen, or may become ineligible for services.

Psychiatric Care Policy

After a counselor has established an ongoing therapeutic relationship with a student and has thoroughly assessed his or her situation, the counselor will decide whether medication may be an appropriate treatment option. Counseling Services has a part-time psychiatrist on staff to address the medication needs of current clients. The psychiatrist provides services only to eligible clients referred by a counselor at Counseling Services. Students who want medication are not eligible to see the psychiatrist at Counseling Services unless they are ongoing clients at Counseling Services. If a client discontinues counseling, he or she will no longer be eligible for psychiatric care at Counseling Services. If you would like more information about psychotropic medications, please see our Medications and Therapy resource page.

Policy Regarding Multiple Providers

In accordance with APA Ethical Guidelines (10.04 Providing Therapy to Those Served by Others), Students may see only one individual therapy provider at a time; therefore, if a student is already receiving mental health services outside of SIUE, they are encouraged to continue working with that provider.

Counseling and Disability Support Services' Assessment Protocol for Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

It is important for students to understand that the assessment and diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is a serious matter. Therefore, SIUE is dedicated to a diligent and professional protocol of assessment when ADD/ADHD is suspected. Please click the link to learn more about Counseling Services & Disability Support Services' partnership to ensure adequate diagnosis and quality of care.

http://www.siue.edu/counseling/Services_Assessment.shtml

Student Complaint / Grievance Policy

Student complaints are handled largely through the existing chain of command. Given the existing laws regarding confidentiality and psychological/health services, a therapist/health service provider is restricted in terms of what he or she can disclose. If a student has a complaint about an employee or consultant of Counseling Services or Health Service, he or she is directed to speak with that employee's director, or if necessary, the immediate supervisor of the employee. The complaint should initially be lodged informally by speaking with someone in the department. However, the complaint can be lodged more formally in writing first to the Director within five (5) working days of the incident. The written complaint or grievance should include a description of the incident, date, time, and persons involved in the complaint.

After receiving the grievance, the director shall then respond within five (5) working days of the date that the grievance was signed and filed. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of that discussion or response, he or she is directed to the next higher level of administration. In each case, careful consideration is given to the emotional stress the student may already be in as well as any complications arising from a possible mental or physical illness. If a complaint comes from a non-student, it is handled administratively first by the director, then by the Associate Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs, and finally, if necessary, the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs. The Director reserves the right to consult with the General Counsel of the University around issues or complaints that may have legal implications. Documentation of a student complaint would become part of the confidential record.

If the student is not satisfied with his or her current therapist or health care provider, he or she can request another therapist within the department at no charge or accept a referral to another provider outside the university. Any costs incurred by the student seeking these services outside of the university are not covered by the university.

Any complaints, if found to have merit, will be used in the supervision of the employee involved to improve the person's skills and function. If the complaint is significant, the student may take legal action as prescribed by current statutes. Each week the clinical staff meets in a case conference to discuss problematic cases to ensure quality of service to the student.

Policy Regarding Services for Faculty and Staff

Counseling Services, in accordance with Code 1.17 of the American Psychological Association's Code of Ethics, is not able to offer its services for personal use amongst SIUE faculty and staff because of the conflicting relations that can quickly arise. However, in the event that a faculty or staff member requests personal counseling services, a referral to Magellan Health Services or another mental health professional will be provided (http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/employees/benefits/pages/employeeassistanceprogram.aspx).

Guidelines for a Housing/Counseling Considerations Cancellation Request

If you are submitting a Cancellation of Single Student Housing Contract request and indicating Counseling Considerations as your reason, please note the following guidelines. These guidelines will be used when reviewing the cancellation request.

  • The process of verifying and reviewing a Counseling Considerations Cancellation Request can take two weeks or more before a decision is made and the student is informed of the decision.
  • The student is strongly encouraged to sign a Release form with his/her Medical/Mental Health Professional. This will allow University Housing to verify the submitted information.
  • If the student is currently seeing a Medical/Mental Health Professional (private or University), the student will need to provide documentation from the Medical/Mental Health Professional, on the professional's stationary (prescription pad notes will not be accepted).
  • If the student is not currently seeing a Medical/Mental Health Professional, the student will need to do the following:

    • Make an appointment with a Medical/Mental Health Professional. You may choose SIUE Counseling Services (618-650-2842).
    • Be seen or under treatment for a minimum of FOUR visits (more visits may be necessary if clinically required) with the Medical/Mental Health Professional.
    • Provide documentation from Medical/Mental Health Professional, on professional's stationary (prescription pad notes will not be accepted).
  • Documentation from the Medical/Mental Health Professional must include:

    • Length of time the student has been seen/under treatment by Medical/Mental Health Professional.
    • Treating Medical/Mental Health Professional's contact information.
    • Psychological disorder and therapeutic rationale for release from University Housing contract.
  • At SIUE Counseling Services, the student's issue must be clinically significant and be directly related to the Housing situation. Merely having a psychological disorder does not indicate that the Medical/Mental Health Professional will recommend that a Housing contract be canceled. Therefore, a recommendation will not be made merely to assist a student in canceling their Housing contract. Each request will be reviewed by the entire clinical team before a recommendation can be made. Ultimately, the final decision will be made by University Housing.
  • Once a decision has been made, all disputes of the cancellation decision will handled by University Housing at 618-650-3931 and not SIUE Counseling Services.
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