What is a consultation?

Some times you may have a question or concern and you're not sure if you need to meet with a counselor. Counselors are available to answer questions if you have concerns about yourself or someone else. Some common consultation issues are:

  • Whether someone should get help 
  • How to talk to someone about getting help
  • Understanding a mental health problem better

Consultation describes when a Counseling Center staff member provides professional expertise to someone other than a current counseling client (e.g. a family member, faculty or staff, or another student) about mental health issues. Consultations are usually about a distressed student but may also be about specific mental health diagnoses, career paths, residence hall conflicts, etc.

Consultations are not legally confidential because the legal privilege extends only to clients; however, we use our discretion regarding what information we share and we do our best to discuss confidentiality with faculty, staff, and students when they consult with us. There may be some situations where information from a consultation would be shared with others, including the Student Affairs team that meets in regard to distressed or disturbed students. We would make every effort to discuss this with you in such situations.

How to Get the Most From a Consult With the Counseling Center

  • State that you're looking for a consultation (versus making a referral or arranging an appointment, etc.)
  • If possible give a 1-2 sentence summary at the beginning to orient the consultant.
  • Clarify what you're looking for, what questions you want answered or what type of suggestions or feedback you're looking for.  This helps the consultant know where you need help.  If you're not sure what you're looking for, just say you want any general feedback the consultant can give.
  • Have the facts at hand, including direct statements by people involved.
  • Be aware of limits on confidentiality and address them up-front.


We are always happy to answer your questions about counseling or mental health issues. Email your questions to Melissa Fallon, Ph.D.

If you have an urgent question or an emergency, please call the Counseling Center immediately at 607-436-3368 or read more about emergency situations.

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