The Austin College Counseling service supports the academic mission of the College by providing crisis intervention and short-term counseling services to students encountering psychological problems that could interfere with their academic progress. Individual counseling to address personal issues and emotional concerns is available free of charge to all Austin College students. The Counseling service also offers psycho-educational groups, workshops, and self-help resources to assist students with their psychological well-being and personal development. In addition, the Counseling service provides consultation for faculty and staff with regard to student concerns, which may be conducted over the phone or by appointment. The Counseling service is also a resource for referral information when there is a need for long-term counseling or when treatment issues fall beyond the scope of those offered by the College. All members of the Austin College community may contact counseling staff to obtain information and referral options.
Individual counseling is provided on an appointment basis during regular office hours (8:30 am- 5:00 pm; Monday through Friday). Walk-in appointments are accepted, and students in crisis will always be given priority. Students receiving services are informed that their appointments may be rescheduled should another student present a mental health emergency. Counseling staff is available after hours for emergencies and can be contacted through Austin College Campus Police at 903.813.2555 outside of regular business hours.
The Counseling Service strives to accommodate the mental health needs of students whenever possible and to provide high quality, individualized, and comprehensive psychological services. In many cases, a student’s concerns can be resolved in only a few sessions, in particular when the problem is less severe or is situational in nature. Students struggling with more complex issues may find that their problems are not fully resolved within the short-term counseling model; however, the Counseling service makes every effort to provide students with enough help and support to make progress and move forward with issues on their own. In the event that a referral for long-term counseling is necessary, counseling staff will ensure that continuity of care is maintained.
There are times when a student’s psychological needs fall outside of the role and scope of the Counseling Service. Typically this would be determined during a student’s initial counseling session, although it is also possible that during the course of subsequent counseling sessions, more complex issues may arise that necessitate a referral to an off-campus mental health care provider. The following considerations are used for determining when a student’s needs are beyond the scope of care provided by the Counseling Service.
A student may be referred to an off-campus provider when:
- It is determined that a student’s issues cannot be adequately resolved within 3-6 sessions.
- The student presents with a history of treatment that is beyond what the College provides, and there is evidence that the need for the previous level of care will continue.
- The student is seeking counseling services to meet imposed legal requirements, such as conditions of probation, child custody arrangements, or court-ordered anger management or substance abuse treatment.
- The student requires assessment for legal documentation or for disability accommodations.
- The student meets the criteria for substance dependence and/or is in need of medical detoxification.
- The student is suffering from a long-standing eating disorder with no period of remission, or one that poses a medical danger.
- The student presents a danger to self or others that cannot be remediated by outpatient intervention.
- The student presents with evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning which requires intensive intervention.
- The student is non-compliant with treatment recommendations (e.g. Student is not willing to take medication as prescribed to stabilize severe symptoms).
While the considerations listed above will serve to guide the counseling staff in making recommendations and/or referrals to off-campus providers, there may be other factors that play a role in determining the best course of action for each individual student. In keeping with the values of Austin College, the Counseling Service carefully considers student needs and concerns on a case by case basis. The Counseling Service will always keep the student’s best interest in mind, while still maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of the services provided.