Informed Consent Statement
This statement provides you with important information about our services and policies. Please read this material carefully. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to discuss them with your counselor. We hope we can be of assistance and look forward to working with you. Thank you for your cooperation.
1. SERVICES PROVIDED. The Counseling Center is available to provide counseling and psychological services to A&M-Commerce students. Our staff includes counselors and psychologists, a legal adviser and a consulting psychiatrist. We offer individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, psychiatric evaluation and medication management, biofeedback services, consultation, training and outreach. Your intake counselor will work with you to determine which services are appropriate for you. If group therapy is most appropriate, your intake counselor will arrange for you to meet individually with a group leader to explore this option. If individual therapy is most appropriate, your intake counselor will work with you to find a counselor who will be a good match for you. This person may or may not be your intake counselor.
2. LIMITATIONS OF SERVICE. Based on our mission and resources, the Counseling Center offers short-term counseling and emphasizes a brief treatment approach. While we do not have strictly defined session limits, we cannot address all mental health needs. The delivery of services is based on a determination of the professional staff as to the appropriateness of the services requested. Most students are seen an average of five to six sessions. If it is determined that your treatment requires resources or services beyond what we can provide, then we can assist you with a referral to an appropriate mental health provider. Circumstances that might warrant a referral include: long-term treatment and/or long term medication maintenance; more intensive treatment; or specific services or approaches to mental health treatment not available at the Counseling Center. AFTER HOURS CRISIS SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE BY CONTACTING THE UNIVERSITY POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 903-886-5868.
3. EFFECTS OF COUNSELING. Most of our clients can expect to benefit from counseling, making positive changes in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. However, the results of counseling can be variable, and a positive outcome depends on the effort expended by the client as well as the counselor. Even the most successful counseling may at times be painful as you deal with emotionally difficult issues. As you make personal changes, potentially stressful changes may occur in your relationships with others. There are times when clients may feel that their counselor is not a good match for them. If that situation should occur, you have the right to request a different counselor, as well as the responsibility to inform your counselor of your desire to change. You also have the right to terminate counseling at any time.
4. ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICE. In order to be eligible for personal or group counseling services, you must be currently registered as a student. ALL SERVICES ARE FREE OF CHARGE.
5. CONFIDENTIALITY. Our counseling staff adheres to the ethical principles and codes of conduct for counselors and psychologists as outlined by the appropriate state licensure boards. Information shared by you in a counseling session or obtained through psychological testing will be kept in strict confidence. The counseling staff operates as a team to provide the best possible services to clients. As professionals, we confer with each other. These consultations are for professional and/or training purposes only. Written and electronic records of your contact with the Counseling Center do not go into your academic record, and no information will be disclosed to anyone outside of the Center without your written permission.
THERE ARE SOME SITUATIONS IN WHICH WE ARE LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO DISCLOSE INFORMATION OR TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOU OR OTHERS FROM HARM: (a) if we believe that a child or vulnerable adult is being abused, we may be required to file a report with the appropriate state agency, (b) if we believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to self or others, we are required to take protective actions; these actions may include seeking hospitalization for the client, contacting others who can help provide protection or contacting the police, or (c) if a court issues an order for the release of records. PLEASE NOTE: THE EXCEPTIONS TO CONFIDENTIALITY DO NOT OCCUR VERY OFTEN. Should they occur, it is the policy of the Counseling Center that, whenever possible, we will discuss with you any action that is being considered.
6. CHANGING APPOINTMENTS. If it is necessary to change or cancel your appointment, please contact the Counseling Center as soon as possible. This will allow us to free that time for another student. To the best of our ability, we will notify you in advance if your counselor is ill or unable to meet with you. Coming on time and regular attendance is important to facilitate the counseling process.
7. PSYCHIATRIC APPOINTMENTS. The Counseling Center has a part-time consulting psychiatrist. AN INITIAL APPOINTMENT WITH THE PSYCHIATRIST IS MADE BY YOUR COUNSELOR. Typically, appointments are arranged to: (a) assess any medical basis for your current difficulties and discuss treatment options, (b) determine whether medication will be helpful to you and, if so, obtain a prescription, or (c) monitor medications you are currently taking. You can only meet with the psychiatrist if you are in treatment with a staff counselor. It is very important that you be on time for your appointments and you notify the Counseling Center as soon as possible if you are unable to attend an appointment. This is helpful in that advance notice of canceled appointments allows us to reschedule the time for other students.
8. COUNSELING RECORDS. COUNSELING RECORDS ARE NOT PART OF ACADEMIC RECORDS AND NO ONE EXCEPT THE STAFF OF THE COUNSELING CENTER HAS ACCESS TO THEM WITHOUT YOUR WRITTEN PERMISSION. Counseling records are stored in locked files and/or electronically on a secure server that is only accessible by our staff. Your record will be destroyed either five or ten years after your last date of service, depending on specific board requirements. For confidentiality reasons, we do not use e-mail for counseling. With your permission, we may use e-mail to contact you regarding appointments or to send information you may have requested.
9. SUPERVISION OF STAFF. Both counselors and psychologists seeking licensure receive supervision of their counseling work. Interns may be required to have sessions recorded for review by their supervisors. If your counselor wishes to record your session, you will be asked to give your written permission. Any information shared with supervisors will be treated confidentially, the goal being to give you the best service we can. If you do not wish to be recorded, your wish will be respected.
10. EVALUATION. The Counseling Center seeks to assess the effectiveness of its services. You will be asked to complete an intake questionnaire prior to your first session as well as periodic evaluations during the counseling process. This will allow the counselor to better assess your needs and check on your progress on an ongoing basis. Some of your information may be used for administrative purposes; however, any use of information will be in aggregate form, and you will not be personally identifiable.