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Policy Title :
Counseling Policy
Policy Number :
III. B - 2
Responsible Party :
Student Affairs
Effective Date :
02/12/2013
Revised Date :
_______________________

Purpose

The Counselling Services department, within the Division of Student Affairs, is committed to providing an equal opportunity for all students.
Our purpose is to improve the educational experience and success of students by providing humanistic counselling services addressing personal, academic needs.

The Counselling services staff is responsible for coordinating on-campus counseling services to all students. Our mission is to provide programs and services that enhance personal, academic and career exploration. The ultimate goal of the PMU Counseling Department; is to improve the conditions for learning which includes both prevention and intervention services at all levels.

The Counselling Team works collaboratively with students; academic departments, individual faculty members, student services, and other pertinent departments of the institution to enhance student's academic, personal, and career success.

Statement :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to fulfill its mission, the Counseling Services Office hold responsibility to fully implement guidance and counseling; addressing the academic, personal/social and career development of all students. They are the primary institutions mental health provider and are engaged in every facet of PMU and serve as the first line in each tier of interventions and consultations.  The comprehensive Counseling and Guidance services strive to meet its goals in the following areas.

 

Personal and Social Development

 

  1. Assist students in gaining an understanding of self as an individual and as a member of a local and global community; by emphasizing knowledge that leads to the recognition and understanding of the interrelationship of thoughts, feelings and actions of students, daily lives.
  2. Provide students a solid foundation for interacting with others in ways that respect individual and group differences.
  3. Aid students in learning to apply physical and psychological safety to advocate for him/her.

 

Academic Development

 

  1. Guide students to applying the skills set needed for educational achievement by focusing on self-management, study and test taking skills.
  2. Teach students skills to aid them as they transition between levels.
  3. Focus on developing and monitoring personal education plans, emphasizing the understanding, knowledge and skills students need to develop meaningful personal plans of study.

 

Career Development

 

  1. Enable students to apply career exploration and planning skills in the achievement of life career goals.
  2. Educate students about where and how to obtain information on career prospects for future work goals.
  3. Provide student role initiated conduct to learn employment readiness skills and skills for on the job success, including responsibility, dependability, punctuality, integrity, self-management and effort.
  1. Description of Services

     

    Counseling Services provides:

     

    1. Individual and group counseling – without limitation on the number of sessions. The purpose of this service is to work with students whose personal circumstances, concerns or problems are threatening to interfere with their healthy academic, career and personal/ social development. Specific issues some students face include low self esteem, depression, anxiety, stress, attendance, relationship conflicts, eating disorders, and issues stemming from/related to family of origin. As a result there is continuing need for individual counselling, small group counselling, consultation and referral. Personal counselling is designed to assist the student in learning coping skills that will help them function positively in the academic environment. Personal counselling is an active process requiring participation by the client, both in and out of sessions.
    2. Academic counselling- exists to assist students with issues that affect their ability to encounter in this area. The Counsellor can assist you in learning strategies to overcome test anxiety as well as develop better study habits/test taking skills learned. Embedded in the academic strand are three critical aspects: self efficacy, attribution and empowerment.
    3.  

      Self- efficacy

      refers to each student’s belief in his or her ability to set and attain goals.

      Attribution

      refers to the individual’s belief that his or her own behaviour and efforts can directly impact success and or failure.

      Empowerment

      refers to the educational system equipping the individual with the skills and tools necessary to achieve goals throughout their lifespan. Students are taught to recognize the need for academic assistance, and that assistance is available and accessible to all students. Students will also learn that transitions are a part of life. To learn how to anticipate transitions and what is expected in the coming phases of academic life will make transitions from level to level easier. Understanding expectations of instructors and requirements of subject areas are important information that will help students understand the personal changes transitions require.

       

      Career exploration (with co-ordination with career department
      Career Guidance- The over-arching purposes of learning and understanding within the Career Development Strand are; to help students develop an awareness of the world of work; to understand the role and meaning of work in our lives and society. Specific skills and understanding include: individual planning processes, knowing and using sources of career information, employment readiness skills and personal skills that lead to job success. Underlying themes include dignity and necessity; the role of one’s preferences and skills in overall job satisfaction, the inter-relationship of all parts of ones’ life such as family community and leisure. The real test of effective learning and understanding is getting and keeping a job. The focus on personal character to develop individual skills of: responsibility taking, dependability, punctuality, integrity, self-management and effort. Employment readiness skills include appreciation and respect of other’s differences and the ability to work effectively as a team member to accomplish the goals of the organization. These are the skills set that contribute to work performance and add value to one’s contribution in the classroom and in the workplace.

 

Appointments


Follow-up appointments will be organized before each semester begins when cases are carried over from previous semester and when cased of academic referrals are made (probation students). On a daily basis, information contained in the appointment book includes all scheduled counseling sessions, walk-ins, presentations, conferences, and other meetings counselors are scheduled to attend.
The appointment book will be secured at end of each day in the filing cabinet where client files are contained. When appointments are made in person, an appointment card will be provided to note the date, time, and the counselor’s name. The student's name will not be written on the appointment card.

Faculty and Staff Service


Faculty and staff members at PMU may consult with Counseling Centre staff and may be seen in a crisis as appropriate. Faculty and Staff will not be eligible for ongoing counseling services. Faculty and Staff are encouraged to refer students experiencing academic, personal, career or disability related issues to the Counselor.

 


General and Daily Services

 

  1. Conduct effective individual, and  group counseling
  2. Conduct quality workshops, presentations, and seminars that meet the needs of PMU community.
  3. Conduct quality activities.
  4. Provide consultation services.
  5. Provide appropriate referrals as necessary.
  6. Provide effective crisis response.
  7. Crisis response
  8. Psycho education
  9. Referrals for psychiatric consultation, medical consultation, and/or community resources.
  10. Workshops, seminars, and lectures on topics of interest to client populations are offered for student groups, classes, faculty development, and staff development.
  11. Various awareness activities are coordinated and promoted on an annual basis by the Counseling staff. Examples include but are not limited to: Eating Disorder Screening/Awareness, Depression Screening, Anxiety Screening, Anger Management, etc.
  12. Counseling on issues related to citizenship education or misconduct.
  1. Access and Services 

    Counselling services are available to all regularly enrolled students. Faculty members and staff at Prince Mohammad University may consult with Counselling Center staff and may be seen in a crisis as appropriate.

    1. Access

      1. Students are introduced to the Counseling through various routes. Orientation is made to new incoming students before classes start. These presentations are delivered by a member of the Counseling staff and offer basic information about the location, hours of operation, and services available.
      2. Faculty and staff are frequently reminded of the Counseling services via e-mail advertisements, electronic newsletters, flyers, and other methods. Most faculty and staff may refer students to counseling services as necessary.
    1. Population Served

Counseling services are offered to currently enrolled students.

      1. At risk students (Probation 1 and Probation 2 standing)- information received through the Registrar's Office before the start of the semester. Poor academic performance may be a serious sign of metal or physical distress, and the counselor's role would be to support the student in determining strategies for academic success.
      2. Students with serious misconduct (with disciplinary sanctions), to ensure the sanctions have been educational opportunities for the student and to follow-up on personal development and conduct improvement. Final decisions in some misconduct cases such as disciplinary probations and dismissal may be subject to counseling assessment.
      3. Groups of students demonstrating collective behavior problems. Such  cases are remedied through group counseling, campaigns, sessions and workshops.
    1. Code of Ethics

The ethical standards are the ethical responsibility of PMU Counselors. The institutions Dean/ Directors and supervisors should know the code to provide support for counseling candidates to uphold them.
The Counselors are advocates, leaders, collaborators and consultants who create opportunities for equitable access and success in support and educational avenues by assimilating the mission of PMU and subscribing to the following tenets of professional responsibility:

      1. Each person has the right to be respected, be treated with dignity and have access to a comprehensive counselling program that advocates for and affirms all students from diverse populations: including age, gender, economic status, abilities/disabilities, spiritual identity and appearance.
      2. Each student has the right to receive information and support needed to move toward self direction and self development.
      3. Each student has the right to understand the full magnitude and meaning of his/her educational choices and how those choices will affect future opportunities.
      4. Each student has the right to privacy and thereby the right to expect the counsellor/ student relationship to comply with all laws, policies and ethical standards pertaining to confidentiality.
      5.  Each student has the right to feel safe in the institutions environment that counsellors help create, free from abuse, bullying, neglect, harassment or other forms of violence.

 

Responsibilities to Students

 

  1. Have a primary obligation to the students, who are to be treated with dignity and respect as unique individuals.
  2. Concerned with the educational, academic, career, personal and social needs and encourage maximum development for each student.
  3. Respect student’s values, beliefs and cultural background and do not impose personal values on students.
  4. Knowledgeable of laws, regulations and policies relating to students and strive to protect and inform students of their rights.
  5. Promote the welfare of students and collaborate with them to develop an action plan for success.
  6. Consider the involvement of support networks valued by the students. Understand that professional distance with students, are appropriate at all times.

 

Confidentiality

 

 

Confidentiality and Release of Information


Information regarding a client will not be released to anyone without written permission from the client. In some cases, and in for specific circumstances, exceptions may apply. Counselors may break confidentiality by releasing information to proper authorities if the student:

 

      1. Demonstrates a clear and imminent danger to self or someone else.
      2. Indicates that he/she was abused.
      3. Directs via written request that information should to be released to a specific party or parties.

Client files are not to be copied and released to the client or anyone else. Upon the client’s written request, a summary letter regarding treatment and progress notes will be prepared by their counselor. In some cases, actual case notes must be made available. This might be the situation with court/litigation related matters.
A new consent to release information form, specific to the situation, should be obtained each time information is requested from a client’s record.

  1. Inform students of the purpose, goals and techniques and rules of procedure under which they may receive counselling.
  2. Explain the limits of confidentiality in appropriate ways such as student handbook, counselling brochures, website and verbal notice.
  3. Recognize the complicated nature of confidentiality and consider each case in context.
  4. Recognize the primary obligation for confidentiality is to the student however balance that obligation with an understanding of Guardians, legal and inherent rights.
  5. Protect the confidentiality of student’s records and release personal data in accordance with prescribed policies.

 

Referrals

 

  1. Make referrals when necessary or appropriate to outside resources for student and family support.
  2. Help to educate and prevent personal and social concerns for all students within PMU premises.
  3. Develop a reasonable system of termination of counseling when it becomes apparent that counseling is no longer needed or a referral is necessary to better meet the student’s needs.

 

Parental Access:


Parental access to student information is subject to strict control. Counselors receiving parental requests to receive information about students should verify:

 

 

  1. Identity of the parent/guardian. This requires personal presence of the  person. No requests may be made by phone or email.
  2. The request is noted, and a interview is conducted with the parent/guardian to identify concerns, needs and reasons for parental implication. Possible questions related to the student mental or physical health may be asked by the counselor to assess the situation. No information may be disclosed by the counselor upon the first visit. Another appointment may be scheduled, or otherwise, findings may be sent if needed through email.
  3. Follow-up should be made with the student, without disclosing information about the parental/guardian requests. Questions should be asked to assess the family situation, possible problems or complications such as medical and mental health of family members, cases of separation or divorce, financial situation, family relationships or other that might represent mental or physical threat to the student. Based on the assessment, the need to involve or disclose information to the parent/guardian will be determined and upon consent of the student through Consent to Release Information/Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality (or if necessary and for reasons mentioned in 1.5 i, ii and iii) and upon approval from the Dean of Students or his designee, information may be disclosed. The type and extent of information is determined case by case.

 

Danger to Self or Others

 

  1. Inform appropriate authorities when a student poses a danger to self or others. This is to be done after careful deliberation and consultation with other officials.
  2. Report a risk assessment.

 

Responsibilities to Colleagues and Professional Associates

 

  1. Establish and maintain professional relationships with faculty, staff and administration to facilitate optimum services.
  2. Treat colleagues with respect, courtesy and fairness
  3. Recognize that faculty, staff and administrators are high functioning in the personal and social development skills; can be powerful allies in supporting student success. Counselors work to develop relationships with all in order to advantage the students and the institution as whole.

 

Maintenance of Counseling Files


A file is maintained in the Counseling Office for each student counseled at some point of his/her career at PMU. Counselors are responsible for the maintenance and security of student files and all information contained within them. Student files are maintained in accordance counseling standards keeping details of the case, progress, counseling program and visit records. All information contained in client files that identify the client by name will be kept confidential.
Files should be made accessible only to Counseling staff members.

Content of Files


The following documents are routinely included in individual student counseling files:

 

  1. Student Information (Banner)
  2. Counseling Meeting Form
  3. Record of Appointments
  4. Medication list if applicable (supplied by the student)
  5. Session notes and summary of recommendations updated on Banner
  6. Any other documents that are part of the student'streatment plan (e.g. confidentiality waiver forms, letters written on behalf of the student, referral information, homework/worksheets, etc.

 

Handling of Students' Files


It is recommended that the same counselor handles the cases for stability and continuity of services and for constructive rapports.
At the start of each day, the counselor will review the appointment book and pull client files for those clients scheduled for appointments that particular day. These files are organized out of view. As a client arrives for his/her appointment, after session, or once session notes have been completed, the counselor will return the file to the file cabinet in the file room.
At the end of the day, the counselor will note any missed appointments based on the files that remain in the counselors’ file boxes in the file room. Missed appointments are important for the assessment of individual cases and for future follow up.
Counseling information and reports contained in the student files are permanent records and are subject to confidentiality policy at PMU.

Quality and  Evaluation of Services


The Department of Healthcare and Counseling seeks feedback from students who have received services regarding their satisfaction with their experiences with the department every semester. Surveys shall assess aspects including but not limited to scheduling, contact with staff, counseling services, and outcomes. The results of these surveys will be utilized for necessary improvements/adjustments to the Healthcare and Counseling services, for planning and statistical reports.

 

  1. The main goal of assessment is to improve the effectiveness of our services and programs to demonstrate how well we serve the populace; to provide strong indicators on how/ where to improve and those practises that are working effectively.
  1. Assess the effectiveness of their services in having and impact on students’ academic, career and personal/social development, through surveys, accountability measures and opportunity and attainment gaps.
  2. Adhere to professional standards regarding selecting and interpreting assessment measures, and only utilize assessment measures that are within the scope of practice for the institution.
  3. Monitor the use of assessment results and interpretations in taking reasonable steps to prevent misuse of information.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY

 

Confidentiality is an ethical standard that protects students from the disclosure of their information without their consent. Student contacts with the Counseling Department are confidential. We will not provide information (without your written consent) about students to friends, partners, faculty, parents, employers, or anyone else outside of those associated with the Counselling Center. Those associated with the Counselling Center are the staff counsellors and Dean/ Director of Student Affairs. The Counseling Department will release information from the counselling sessions to third parties only at the request of the Student according to policy. The "Authorization for Release of Information" form, signed by the client and a witness, will be used for this purpose. The student must give informed consent and his/her Counsellor will discuss (if feasible), prior to release, the information to be released, to whom, and for what purpose. The student will be advised about the possible effects of disclosure.
There are, however, limited exceptions to this policy. When the Counselling
Department believes that a client poses a clear and present danger to himself/herself and/or to others, the Counselling Department may selectively release information, without the student’s consent, to aid in the care and protection of the student or endangered others. The student’s files should not become part of any permanent record at the College, but are the property of the Counselling Department. A client's file is maintained at the Counselling Center for a period of time from the date of last contact. A student's file may be destroyed after an appointed period. Students may review their records, in the presence of counselling staff members upon written request. The request and fact that a review occurred will be entered in the student's record. Students may receive copies of the record or otherwise reproduce it (in part or whole) as deemed appropriate by the Counselling staff. Your signature indicates that you have been provided and read the Confidentiality policy. Please feel free to review or ask questions about the policy when you meet with your counsellor.