What is counseling?
Who can use RSU’s Counseling Services?
RSU Counseling Services is operated from E & G revenues from both state appropriations and tuition and fees. Therefore, only currently enrolled RSU students are entitled to free services. Currently enrolled students may receive services up to the last day of classes of the semester or through the summer if enrolled for the following fall semester.
All RSU students, including those enrolled exclusively online or on the Bartlesville and Pryor satellite campuses are eligible to take advantage of Counseling Services. However, students are responsible for all transportation and cost of transportation between their respective campus and the Counseling Services office at the Claremore campus. Counseling Services will not travel to satellite campuses for individual therapy sessions. If an online, Bartlesville or Pryor student wishes to participate in Counseling Services but does not have the resources to do so (e.g. no driver’s license, limited finances for transportation cost), the counselor will recommend an appropriate community referral source.
Non-students, alumni, faculty, and staff are ineligible for counseling services at RSU. Non-student spouses or significant others of a currently enrolled student may receive services only when seen jointly with and at the request of the RSU student if clinical judgment indicates that family, marital, or significant other involvement would be important in order to best address the student’s concerns. These parties will be asked to sign pertinent consent and release forms before they will be permitted to attend counseling sessions with the student. Individuals who are affiliated with one of the University’s outreach programs (such as Upward Bound) but who are not currently enrolled RSU students are not eligible for services. With the exception of crisis intervention, students who are minors cannot be seen for treatment without the consent of a legal guardian.
What types of counseling does Counseling Services offer?
All students are eligible for an initial session/brief assessment of problem areas with a counselor; however, if the counselor determines that a student is experiencing psychological or medical problems that require more intensive therapy or a specialized treatment approach that is not available through Counseling Services, a referral will be made to an appropriate treatment facility off campus. If a student has questions about whether or not they will be eligible for services, they should speak to the counselor who can further explain the criterion for on campus services.
Counseling Services generally provides services listed on the main page. Counselors will perform basic assessments to determine the treatment needs of a client but may decline evaluations of whether a student should remain on campus or evaluations that could be viewed as forensic in nature. Counseling Services does not offer psychological or psychiatric evaluations, forensic/court evaluations or services related to legal proceedings, cases involving child custody or disability evaluations (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid).
How long does counseling last and how many sessions do I get?
RSU’s Counseling Services offers time-limited counseling to currently enrolled students for the purpose of achieving their educational and personal goals. Students are limited to 12 counseling sessions per academic year August 1st-July 31st (6 counseling sessions provided at the Bartlesville Campus). Extensions (i.e. 2-3 extra sessions) are granted on a very limited basis and with the approval of the Director of Student Development and/or Vice President for Student Affairs. Students needing further services or follow-up will be referred to appropriate community agencies.
What information is confidential and what information is not confidential in counseling sessions?
Imminent Harm to Self: If a staff member has reason to believe that a client is in danger of physically harming themselves, the counselor is legally and ethically required to report this information to the proper authorities or another person as needed to ensure safety.
Imminent Harm to Others: If a staff member has reason to believe that a client presents an articulable and significant or serious threat to the health or safety of a student or other member of the campus community or public, s/he is legally and ethically required to take action necessary to ensure that the other person is protected (such as contacting the police and/or university personnel , notifying the object of the threat, seeking involuntary hospitalization or some combination of these actions).
Abuse/Neglect of Children or dependent adults: If a staff member has reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 or a dependent adult is being physically or sexually abused or neglected, s/he is legally obligated to report this situation to the appropriate state agency.*
Court Order: A court order, issued by a judge, may require Counseling Services staff to release information contained in records and/or require a counselor to testify in a court proceeding.
Are there other times (in addition to safety) when the counselor shares information with others?
Yes, but this also is limited. Counselors reserve the right to share clinical information with other professionals to ensure that they are providing the best possible care (i.e. professional consultations ensure that counselors are able to consult with people within their field to ensure a higher quality of client care). At RSU, the counselor often has clinical consultations with the Director of Student Development (who is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and is bound by confidentiality). If the counselor consults with any professional outside of their direct supervisor, no identifying information is given.
Does counseling staff talk to parents or professors?
In cases of an emergency in which someone’s safety is thought to be at risk, counselors can report information to parents and/or university officials or faculty (see the scenarios listed above or the laws regarding FERPA disclosures). However, outside of an emergency situation, counselors cannot communicate with others (including college personnel or parents) without the client’s written permission.
What if I want the counselor to let someone know that I am being seen?
Students utilizing counseling services are welcome to sign a voluntary release of information. If you would like a parent, professor, employer etc. to know that you are attending counseling, you may sign a release of information and specify the type of information you would like released. This information is only shared if you would like it to be and can be limited to your wishes.
What if I am an RSU student who has a child that needs counseling?
RSU counseling services cannot be utilized by a student’s child. However, if you have questions about providers in the area, the counselor can help educate you on options available in the community in the Claremore or Tulsa metro areas.
Does Counseling Services offer couples counseling?
At this time, Counseling Services prefers to refer students requesting couples counseling to community resources. These resources are low cost and very affordable to students.
Does Counseling Services provide medication?
No. Only licensed physicians and psychiatrists can prescribe medications. If a student wishes to discuss the possibility of medications, they are encouraged to speak to their primary physician. If a student does not have insurance or a primary provider, they can go to the Student Health Center to speak to a Doctor about their symptoms. However, use of the Student Health Center to provide psychotropic medications is discouraged. Due to the specialized nature of these drugs and the need for close monitoring when taking psychotropic medications, it is recommended that the student be monitored by a primary physician. In rare instances where psychotropic medications are prescribed, it will be short-term and students will be encouraged to follow up with mental health counseling as well.
What can I expect in counseling?
Counseling will begin with a brief questionnaire about your history and an explanation of the limits of confidentiality and applicable state and federal confidentiality laws. The counselor will allow you to explain what issues brought you to counseling. Together you will conceptualize what issues you would like to work on and begin to formulate possible solutions. Often clients report feeling worse before feeling better. This is to be expected, and at times of discomfort, it is very important that clients share that information with their counselor.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment?
Counseling Services understands that there will be times when students need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. If possible, please try to notify the counselor ASAP if you know you will not be able to make it to your appointment so that your appointment time can be used by someone else who may need or request it. If you are over 15 minutes late for your session, the counselor reserves the right to either shorten your session time or ask you to reschedule. This is so the counselor can maintain scheduling times with other students. Counseling Services does not call to remind students about their appointment times.
What if I am not satisfied with the quality of counseling that I receive?
If at any time a student becomes dissatisfied with the services that he/she is receiving, he/she is encouraged to contact the Director of Student Development at 918-343-7707.
What happens if I have an emergency after hours?
If a student experiences an emergency during business hours (Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm) and has an urgent need for counseling, he/she should inform the receptionist in the Student Affairs office and he/she will be seen as soon as possible. If the student cannot be promptly seen, he/she will be referred to the local ER for services. For an emergency after business hours, students can call the Grand Lake Crisis Line at 1-800-722-3611. The crisis center will triage the call and refer as needed to other providers. Campus police are also available 24 hours a day to assist students and can be reached at 918-343-7624.
How are my records kept?
The counselor is required by law to maintain a copy of case relevant material for a period of 7 years from the last contact. After each session, the counselor will document the session’s content, progress, areas of concern, etc. This material is printed and kept in a file for each client. This documentation is always locked in a file cabinet and office doors are locked when the counselor is away (i.e. double locked). It is important to note that your counseling records are protected under applicable FERPA laws and as such will not be connected to your academic records and/or transcripts. The counselor will also document any phone or email communication, releases of information, consultations with other providers or counselors, and appointment no-shows and cancellations.
Can people contact the counselor via email?
Yes, the counselor is available to set appointments and have contact via email. However, clients are encouraged to limit this communication to setting appointment dates or other “housekeeping” type content. Email is not a confidential medium (as the university IT staff has access to all incoming and outgoing emails on the server) so issues that the client would not want shared should not be shared via email. In addition, emails will only be answered during business hours. If a client has an emergency, please see the above information.
What if a student is also seeing a counselor off campus?
Optimally, students should only see one counselor at a time. In special circumstances, a student may wish to see an outside therapist in addition to the on campus counselor. If a client does engage in therapy with more than one provider, a release of information between providers will be requested so that providers may coordinate care in accordance with ethical and professional guidelines.
What if I prefer to see a counselor off campus?
The counselor keeps a list of counseling services available in the Claremore and Tulsa metro areas if a student prefers to see someone off campus. However, students need to be aware that they are financially responsible for psychological services provided off campus. Students seeking services off campus are strongly advised to get fee schedules from the provider to see how fees are addressed, whether the provider accepts insurance, offers sliding scales, etc.