Faculty and Staff Consultation
Protocol for Department of Counseling Services Consultation Roles
Consult with a Counselor in the Department of Counseling Services (732.906.2546) to discuss the best way to successfully refer the student you are concerned about. Generally, it is effective to:
- Express your concern to the student and your desire to be helpful.
- Next, state your limitations (i.e. “I am very concerned because ……and I would love to be able to help, but I am not the best person to help since I am not trained to handle these issues”).
- Ask the student if they are currently in counseling or have been in counseling in the past. If the student is currently involved with a Counselor off campus and there is no immediate danger, encourage the student to discuss the issues with their Counselor. If the student is not in counseling, suggest s/he get connected to a Counselor on campus. If willing, together you can call the Department of Counseling and Career Services at 732.906.2546 to schedule an appointment or you can walk the student to ED 100. If you believe the student needs to be seen immediately, please inform the front desk staff. Counselors can also come to your office or speak to the student by telephone.
In some cases, it will be important to refer the student to counseling. Here are some scenarios in which referral would be important:
- Serious symptoms such as suicidal thoughts or hallucinations.
- Significant changes in mood, behavior, or grades.
- Person is coming to you with personal concerns on a regular basis.
- You are not comfortable handling the information the student is sharing with you.
- You are finding it awkward being in a “listener” and “teacher/evaluator” role simultaneously.
- You observe the student sharing very personal concerns with individuals they do not know very well. Some students have significant difficulty with boundaries and need guidance regarding with whom it is appropriate to discuss personal concerns.
The Department of Counseling Services is asked to consult with campus staff to:
- help clarify strategies in dealing with student issues or
- assess students involved in code of student conduct situations
Our consultant role involves assessing persons/situations for an administrative unit of the College, such as the Director of Student Activities, the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, the Campus Police or the Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Support Services or Dean of Enrollment and Student Support Services. In this role, our obligation is to the College and in most cases does not incur the same level of confidentiality provided in a counseling relationship. When providing consultation we are guided by the Middlesex County College principle of collaboration and the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association.
ACA Code of Ethics Section B:
When acting as a consultant, counselors seek agreements among all parties involved concerning each individual’s rights to confidentiality, the obligation of each individual to preserve confidential information, and the limits of confidentiality of information shared by others.
B.8.b. Respect for Privacy
Information obtained in a consulting relationship is discussed for professional purposes only with persons directly involved with the case. Written and oral reports present only data germane to the purposes of the consultation, and every effort is made to protect student identity and to avoid undue invasion of privacy.
B.8.c. Disclosure of Confidential Information
When consulting with colleagues, counselors do not disclose confidential information that reasonably could lead to the identification of the student or other person or organization with whom they have a confidential relationship, unless they have obtained the prior consent of the person or organization or the disclosure cannot be avoided. They disclose information only to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the consultation.
- When providing consultation, we will inform students whom we are assessing that our conclusions and recommendations will be communicated to the referring administrator/administrative unit. We will inform the person of concern that we cannot always offer confidentiality and we will use good judgment and discretion in what we report.
- All requests for a counselor assessment of a student from administrators or faculty need to be referred to the Director of the Department of Counseling and Career Services to determine counselor would be best able to handle the student issue in question. However, if that is not possible, and the counselor has a previous relationship with the student, the counselor will clarify their role to the student. The Department of Counseling and Career Services will avoid disclosing the student’s previous history with the department to the administrative unit that called us in.
- During the department’s regular operating hours, the administrative unit may want a counselor to accompany them to a particular campus location to help deal with a student or situation. The Director will determine the appropriate counselor to respond to the situation.
- When individuals (as defined above under rationale above) consult with us regarding a situation or person, we will carefully define the limits of confidentiality. The persons seeking consultation must understand that some situations require us to take an action that may require disclosure of information.
- When a person gives us second or third party information, our primary role is to support that person to take action. This may include getting the person of concern to our office, the Campus Police or the College Nurse. We will advise the person that we cannot agree to keep the reporting individual’s identity confidential.
- If the person says that they are unable or unwilling to take action, we will confer with the Director of Department of Counseling and Career Services or Assistant Dean of Enrollment and Student Support Services to discuss next steps.
- When there is reason to suspect imminent risk to the person of concern or another individual, we will contact the Middlesex County College Police or UBH to request a welfare/safety check.
- A counselor will not initiate direct contact with the person of concern without first conferring with the Director of the Department of Counseling and Career Services, or the Assistant Dean of Enrollment and Support Services, or a senior counselor.
- If appropriate, a counselor will contact family members
- When conducting an assessment at the Perth Amboy or New Brunswick campuses, the location used must offer adequate privacy for the person being assessment and adequate security for the counselor. The PA and NB campuses will arrange for the local police to be present in a nearby location.