Scope of Practice Guidelines

The goal of Counseling Services is to provide Western Michigan University students who seek support with the most appropriate and best care available. Counseling Services provides short-term, goal-focused mental health counseling for enrolled Western Michigan University students. The services are available to students whose concerns fall within the counseling center’s scope of practice.

Students whose needs require long-term, intensive, and/or a particular type of expertise that fall outside of our scope of practice will generally be referred to community resources for ongoing treatment. In cases where a student’s ongoing needs necessitate a referral to community resources, Counseling Services can often assist the student in managing the presenting concerns and provide support until the student is able to connect to the appropriate resources.

The counselors will assist students in accessing appropriate resources and provide referral options during the initial intake, or as these factors become more apparent during the course of services.  Occasionally, clinicians may provide services that extend beyond our scope of practice. 

Students with the following concerns will likely need a higher level of care than what is within the role and scope of the Counseling Service:

Long-Term Counseling/Case Management
Counseling Services utilizes a brief, short-term model of treatment for individual and couples counseling.   Counselors on average meet with students one to eight sessions on a bi-weekly basis. On-going group programming is also available to students with no session limits. If a student’s concerns or situation requires longer-term therapy, referrals will be provided for off-campus resources.

Mandated Counseling
Counseling Services does not provide counseling for students mandated or referred by the legal system (e.g., court, probation officer) or students encouraged to seek counseling by their attorney due to having legal difficulties.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment
Counseling Services is unable to provide the recommended course of treatment to students presenting with a primary Substance Use Disorder.

Formal Psychological Testing
Counseling Services does not have the evaluation and/or testing instruments to perform a formal psychological evaluation (to diagnose disabilities, neuropsychological testing, court-ordered evaluations, substance-abuse assessments, or student’s suitability for an academic program).

High Level of Risk of Harm to Self or Others
Counseling Services works closely with Sindecuse Health Center providers in order to provide a multidisciplinary treatment approach. However, there will be times when the potential risk of harm to self, others, and/or symptoms posing a medical danger requires more intensive treatment and support than Counseling Services and the health center are able to provide. 

Individual Counseling Initiated to Earn Class Credit
Counseling Services does not have the resources to work with students who initiate individual counseling to earn class credit.

Regardless of Counseling Service’s scope of practice, counselors are available to assist WMU students in accessing appropriate resources and during a crisis and/or urgent situation.