The Catholic University of America

Important Information for Parents to Know about the Counseling Center

The CUA Counseling Center is staffed by experienced, licensed mental health practitioners (as well as practitioners in training) who are best considered generalists in terms of clinical practice, but also considered specialists in terms of working with the college-aged population.  Our Counseling Center provides mental health services such as individual and group psychotherapy and psychiatric medication management/prescription writing (but not the medication itself) as a free service for full-time students, with consultation, referral, and group therapy options available for part-time students.  Although parents may be used to being heavily involved or at least “in the loop” as part of their adolescent child’s mental health treatment process, 18-year-olds are legal adults and thus must give written permission for their treatment provider(s) to communicate with parents about their (young adult) child’s treatment.  Students and their parents should discuss how much information (if any) the student is comfortable sharing with parents.  Students may want more privacy and independence in their treatment – this is part of normal development.  When there are concerns about safety, however (i.e., suicide risk), it can be crucial for parents to be in the loop by being aware of the depth of the struggles their child is facing in order to be able to provide extra support, especially during times of crisis.

 

When considering seeking treatment at the CUA Counseling Center, versus seeking treatment with a practitioner or agency outside of the university, it may give you as a parent peace of mind to call the Counseling Center in order to ask the Counseling Center director or a senior staff member basic questions or talk about concerns you may have about what you can expect from your child’s treatment.  For example, it may be reassuring to know that there are staff members who have a lot of experience working with people with your child’s particular issues or diagnosis (e.g., depression, panic, OCD).  If treatment needs are more intensive and/or more specialized than can be treated within the Counseling Center setting, we can let you know how this is determined.  In the unusual event that off campus treatment is recommended or requested, we can help connect you with local practitioners that are highly recommended. 

 

For students who have special needs (such as a documented disability that would fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act) or who take psychiatric medications, it is extremely important to make plans before arriving on campus.  Contacting the Office of Disability Support Services is helpful in order to find out about accommodations (e.g., testing accommodations) to which a student may be entitled, as well as documentation needed in order to obtain such accommodations. Contacting Student Health Services can be helpful in determining what options may be available for medication management.  With a little planning, the stress can be avoided of running out of one’s prescription medication, and not having access to someone who can be easily contacted (other than going to an emergency room or minor emergency clinic).