A family goes through a major transition when a son or daughter goes off to college. Your student is likely both excited and anxious about the prospect of greater independence, and your relationship with your student is bound to change as you find a new balance of dependence and independence.
It is a tricky situation for parents who want to support their sons and daughters by giving them the autonomy they need to grow academically and emotionally, yet still have concerns about the challenges they will encounter. For additional information on this transitional time, please visit http://www.transitionyear.org/.
The Student Counseling Services counselors are available to all Connecticut College students who may be experiencing some emotional upset due to this period of growth and maturation, or due to more chronic problems. We offer students individual, group and couples counseling. Many concerns can be resolved with a very brief course of treatment; other problems will require treatment of a longer duration. In addition, we have a part-time consulting psychiatrist who can assess and prescribe medications for those students who may require them. Students can utilize the services we offer without fear of repercussions to their academic or social standing at the College.
Our offices are centrally located in the Warnshuis Health Center building. Students who wish to schedule an appointment to see a counselor can call 860-439-4587 or email scs@conncoll. We make every effort to see students as soon as possible. If a student is deemed to be in acute distress, he or she will be seen that day.
How services are covered
There is no charge for the counseling or psychotherapy services. However, students who consult with our psychiatrist will be billed for those services only. The student health insurance covers the charges for the initial evaluation and a few subsequent follow-up appointments. Thereafter, students will be billed on a fee-for-service basis. Some students and their families opt to submit these bills to their family health insurance plans for reimbursement. Students are billed through the Bursar under the line, "Wellness Services."
Our services are strictly confidential. The staff will not disclose a student's presence in treatment or the nature of that treatment with other departments of the College or with anyone, without that student's written permission. In general, the only reasons that a counselor would breach confidentiality are: to prevent the occurrence of potential harm to the student or someone else; or if ordered to do so by a court of law. Both situations are possible but not likely to happen.
Since most students are over 18 years of age, and, therefore, legal adults, this confidentiality extends to parents. If you are aware that your son or daughter is seeing a counselor, and would like to discuss his or her treatment with the counselor, ask your student to sign an Exchange of Information form that allows the counselor to speak with you.
Communication with parents
One of the most formidable situations that a parent can face is knowing that their son or daughter is experiencing some adjustment problem or emotional upset in college, especially if that college is a considerable distance from home. The Student Counseling Services staff welcomes phone calls from parents. When you call, we will listen to your concerns about your student and will be supportive. If your student is being seen by us or could be in the future, the information you have could be invaluable to the student's treatment. We might be able to suggest a resource on campus for you to contact, or a way to communicate your concerns.
At the same time, state and federal law, as well as professional ethical guidelines, prohibit any staff member from discussing with anyone, including parents, whether a student is in treatment or what the nature of that treatment might be unless the student has given us written permission to do so. Even if your son or daughter were to have told you that he or she is seeing a counselor, the staff could not communicate with you, the parent, unless he or she had signed a release of information granting us permission to speak with you. This can be frustrating for all concerned. While your student may still dependent on you emotionally and financially, in the eyes of the law they are considered adults and entitled to privacy.
While the Student Counseling Services provides care to students who request treatment, we are not able to seek out students who may be demonstrating some distress. The academic deans and the Office of Student Life are able to reach out and contact troubled students. Parents who would like someone to check up on their student should contact either of those two offices for assistance.
In some rare instances, a student may require more intensive treatment or a more specialized treatment than the Student Counseling Services can provide. There are also students who would prefer to be seen by off-campus mental health providers. We keep an extensive list of local community providers to refer these students. The Student Counseling Services maintains contacts with local hospitals as a back up to our psychiatric services.
The Connecticut College Care Team
The Connecticut College CARE (Concern, Assessment, Response, Evaluation) Team provides coordinated support for students in distress and addresses concerns about student behavior, academic progress, and personal issues, including mental health concerns. The CARE Team gathers information from personal contact with students, faculty, staff and family members, as well as from reports submitted by members of the community.
Students, who might experience some emotional upset outside of office hours or during weekends, are instructed to contact their Housefellow, Floor Governor, Peer Adviser, the Administrator-On-Call, or Campus Safety. They have been trained to handle urgent situations. One of the Student Counseling Services counselors is on-call and available. If you think that a student is in imminent danger of hurting him/herself or someone else, contact Campus Safety at 860-439-2222.