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The Counseling Center at Marlboro College offers a full range of emotional health services to all Marlboro students. Our focus is on the mind, body, and spirit of our students. The Total Health Center is staffed by counselors who are sensitive to the many issues affecting college students today. We provide individual and group counseling to all Marlboro College students who would like help dealing with personal (including relationship) issues and crisis situations. You may also contact us if your academic area or department has a special request.
If you are concerned about a student or situation but are not sure how to proceed, call the Total Health Center. A counselor will return your call and help you determine an appropriate course of action. Don't carry it all on your shoulders. Consultations are a regular part of our services and are frequently used by concerned parents and roommates as well as faculty and staff.
Advising meetings can sometimes take on a counseling-like quality. Faculty members, staff members, and academic advisors may vary in their experience and comfort adopting or being placed in a personal counselor role. Here are some tips that will help you establish rapport with students and better understand their concerns:
Talk with the student in private.
Show interest and concern.
Repeat the essence of what he or she has told you: "What I think I hear you saying is...."
Respect the student's values and beliefs.
Use empathic words and phrases: "Sounds like you're having a tough time."
Use "I" messages: "I am concerned...," "I would like to help...."
Students will appreciate your willingness to listen and, if the situation warrants, you will have established the trust necessary for an effective and successful referral to the Counseling Center.
Get help immediately when you encounter any of the following in a student:
Expression of suicidal thoughts
Expression of homicidal thoughts
Severe loss of emotional control
Gross impairment in thinking ability
Inability to choose courses
Unwillingness to take required courses
Focus of advising meetings shifts from discussion of coursework to personal issues
Uncharacteristically poor work
Repeated requests for special consideration (without evidence of a learning disability)
Dependency on advisor/"hanging around"
Avoidance of professor or other students
Behavior which regularly interferes with classroom decorum
Complaints from peers
Marked change in personal hygiene
Dramatic weight gain or loss
Frequent falling asleep in class
Irritability, particularly in conjunction with unruly behavior
Garbled or impaired speech, disjointed thoughts
Unusually soft or loud voice, or unusually slow or fast cadence in speech
Tearfulness or intense emotion
When unexpected crises occur (such as the death of a student), you may wish to invite us into your residence halls, classroom, or organization to provide community support. We can assist you in discussing such a trauma and its impact on your class or organization. We also welcome your interest in allowing us to provide educational programs on topics such as stress management, depression, listening and communication skills, and other subjects relevant to your group.
Many times, simply acquiring sound psychological information can help with problems. Books, self-help cassettes, and videotapes are available on topics such as stress management, weight control, grief, depression, anxiety, and relationship enhancement. These materials, which are available to all Marlboro College students, staff, and faculty, can be obtained at the library in the Consumer Health Collection. How to Make a Referral
If you become aware that a student is having personal or family problems (for example, illness of a family member), it is often useful to ask: "Who have you talked with about this?" If you feel that the student would benefit from a referral for counseling, and the student is not currently getting counseling, it is usually best to express your concern and recommendation directly to the student. It is also generally better to suggest counseling and allow the student to make his or her own decision. But if a student needs help immediately, offer to call the Health Center with him or her present. If you call the Health Center on behalf of a student, identify yourself and explain to the receptionist that you are assisting a student in making an appointment; then allow the student to speak to the receptionist to arrange an appointment time.
It is almost always appropriate for you to check back with the student to see if she or he has followed through on your referral to counseling. If you want information from the Counseling Center staff about the student, please let the student and/or our staff know. We will need to have the student sign a release of information form if they choose to give our staff permission to give you information about the student.