Information for Friends, Resident Assistants, Faculty, Staff, and Parents
Concerned about a student in distress?
A key part of the Counseling Center’s role is to provide services to people in the Austin College community concerned about a student in distress. If you are a friend, RA, faculty, staff, or parent of a student who may be having a particularly hard time, please call counseling staff at 903.813.2247 or come by Adams Center.
Helping a friend in trouble
We provide services to students concerned about someone else: a friend, a team member, a sorority sister, or fraternity brother. The friend or acquaintance may be in crisis or struggling with an ongoing issue like a drinking problem or eating disorder. In these cases, we will work with you to be the most help to your friend while taking care of yourself. Often this involves figuring out how to stay in your role (as a friend, team member, etc.) and not take on some other role like “parent” or “therapist.” We will also discuss strategies for helping your friend seek professional help if the problem warrants it. Often a friend’s feedback and concern are critical factors in helping a student seek services. We will meet jointly with you and your friend if that would be helpful.
Consultations for Resident Assistants
Like friends of a student in distress, we often will provide consultation to Resident Assistants concerned about a student on their hall. This usually occurs after the RA has discussed the situation with the Head Resident or Area Coordinator. Our efforts generally center on helping the RA get the student additional professional help and dealing with the group or hall issues generated by the problem. If needed, we can arrange consultations with whole halls to help address serious group issues. For example, the death of a student or severely disruptive behavior (such as suicide threats or out of control behavior) might warrant a consultation with the whole hall.
Information for parents of AC students needing assistance
We welcome calls from parents concerned about their sons or daughters at Austin College. We can provide consultation and problem-solving suggestions; we also appreciate the information and insight parents can provide.
If you feel your student is in crisis, we can discuss services available at the Counseling Center and through other offices, such as the Academic Skills Center. For example, if your student is feeling overwhelmed by academic demands, we can offer counseling as well as referral information for study skills and academic support services.
If we are already working with the student in therapy, confidentiality prevents us from disclosing any information to parents without a signed release and the conversation will be noticeably “one-sided.” For example, we would not be able to tell you whether we have seen the student, much less disclose any information that had been covered in counseling. Still, we value and make use of the information we take in when parents call.
If there are family issues you want to address jointly with the student, and assuming it is logistically feasible, we will provide family therapy. Also, one or two meetings with parents may sometimes be a valuable adjunct to individual counseling. This depends on the specific issues at hand and we will discuss these with you when appropriate. Sometimes it is best to keep the individual therapy private and refer the family to separate counseling services.
Consultation for AC faculty & staff regarding students needing assistance
We encourage all faculty and staff concerned about a student in distress to call the staff at Adams Center. We can provide consultation and problem-solving suggestions. If counseling staff is seeing the student in counseling, no information can be divulged without a release, but we appreciate and will make use of any additional information or perspective you can provide.
Counseling staff can be reached during business hours at 903.813.2247. If your concern is of an urgent nature, please let our receptionist know that to facilitate our response to your call. For after-hours emergencies, the staff can be reached through contact with the Campus Police at 903.813.2555.
In addition, we remind faculty and staff that they are required to notify the staff at Adams Center if students threaten or attempt suicide. We will take immediate action to help assure the student’s safety and provide crisis-intervention services.
We will offer a single consultation session and referral information to faculty and staff with personal concerns. We do not offer faculty and staff ongoing personal counseling.