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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. Students with more specialized counseling needs, including those who would benefit from longer-term counseling, will be provided with 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/gender expression, 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, there is a limit to the type and amount of services available. Students who are deemed to be within SIUE Counseling Services' scope of practice can be seen for up to 10 individual counseling sessions per presenting issue as determined appropriate by the Counseling Services clinical team.  Possible exceptions to this limit will be decided by the clinical team.  Students who complete 10 to 15 sessions and subsequently return to Counseling Services for the same issue will be referred to a community provider.  


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 their 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 to help maintain safety. Also, reports of suspected abuse of children or others unable to care for themselves will also require some action to be taken. Counselors are legally and ethically required to address these kinds of imminent safety risks, even if it involves breaking confidentiality.

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 years after the student's last visit. Prior to fall 2010, paper records were destroyed after a period of seven 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 third 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


  • A client may review their 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 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. 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 of a client by ambulance or police 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 their 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

Inconsistent attendance at scheduled appointments interferes with the effectiveness of counseling, and also limits Counseling Services’ ability to help the greatest number of students. We have developed the following policies in an effort to ensure success in therapy:

  • Late Arrivals and No-Shows: Failure to attend an appointment without first canceling or rescheduling constitutes a no-show. For 50 minute appointments, the student will be seen if they are less than 15 minutes late to check in at the front desk. For 30 minute appointments, the student will be seen if they are less than five minutes late to check in at the front desk. The student will be required to reschedule their appointment if they are late to check in at the front desk.
  • Intake Appointments: Intakes are required for individuals initiating counseling. Students are required to complete an intake questionnaire prior to being seen by an intake counselor.  The intake questionnaire must be completed by 8 a.m. on the day of the intake appointment, or the appointment will be canceled.
  • Cancellations: We expect that clients will notify the office by 8 a.m. the day of their scheduled appointment if they are unable to keep an appointment. Clients who fail to do so will have their sessions marked as a “no show."
  • Frequent rescheduling, canceling and no-showing for appointments will result in being referred to our Care Coordinator to discuss treatment options. 

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. Students who wish to discontinue seeing their outside provider and start seeing a counselor at Counseling Services may discuss this with their intake counselor or the Care Coordinator.

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 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 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

In order to best meet the needs of students, Counseling Services does not provide counseling for SIUE faculty or staff. However, if a faculty or staff member requests personal counseling services, our staff can help arrange a referral to the University's EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or another mental health professional.  

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 stationery (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 be handled by University Housing at 618-650-3931 and not SIUE Counseling Services.
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