Counseling Services

The mission of SMU Counseling Services is to offer SMU students a broad range of outpatient services, which are confidential and sensitive to issues of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious preference, and disabilities. Counseling Services promotes healthy student development and functioning via a comprehensive and collaborative approach to treatment. Counseling Services staff work closely together to provide four different levels of care: proactive/preventative education, evaluation, brief psychotherapy, and psychiatric consultation. In addition to the clinical services provided, counseling services staff also serve an integral function within the university community through involvement in various other aspects of student life and development including, but not limited to, teaching undergraduate courses, advising student organizations, participating in student affairs committees, implementing psycho-educational presentations & programs, and training doctoral-level psychology interns.

Staff members seek to provide an open, supportive atmosphere in which individuals feel free to express feelings and communicate problems. It is our belief that all persons should be accepted for who they are, and we recognize and encourage each individual's potential for personal growth and change. Concern and respect for each person's needs is paramount.

The staff of Counseling Services respects client confidentiality to the fullest extent allowed by law. Information about a student's participation in Counseling Services will not be released outside of Counseling Services to anyone, including SMU faculty and staff, without the student's written authorization. There are, however, limits to confidentiality as required by law. These limits may include the following:

  • threat to life (self and/or others)
  • suspected child or elder abuse
  • previous abuse by a counselor
  • court order
  • state bar inquiries into applicant records (ATTN: Law School Students)

As a client of Counseling Services, you have certain assurances:

  1. ADHERENCE TO STANDARDS of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, requiring metal health professionals to:
    1. Work only within the limits of their expertise and competence levels
    2. Safeguard information obtained from interviews, testing or consultation
    3. Inform clients of any aspects of the potential client/mental health professional relationship likely to influence the client’s decision to enter or continue treatment (recording the interview, possible value/role conflicts, etc)
    4. Ensure test results are interpreted clearly and accurately by qualified persons, and used in responsible ways
    5. Protect the welfare and dignity of clients they serve at all times
  2. CONFIDENTIALITY: Information obtained in Counseling sessions or in written form through testing will not be disclosed to any outside agency without your written permission except when required by law.
  3. RESPECT: The professional can be expected to respect you as a human being and convey this respect by:
    1. Keeping appointments or contacting you if a change is necessary
    2. Giving you complete attention during sessions
    3. Avoiding interruptions during sessions
    4. Providing the most effective counseling possible
  4. PROMPT SERVICE: A session is scheduled soon after you call or come by to make an appointment. However, as the school year progresses, a delay may occur. Community referrals will be provided if they represent the most appropriate and best treatment option.
  5. NEGOTIATION: Frequency, number of sessions, goals, type of counseling treatment will be negotiated between you and your professional.
  6. DURATION OF COUNSELING: Since the Center serves a large on-campus population, most counseling is on a short-term basis. However, individual student needs and resources are considered. If the needs of the student exceed the resources of the Center, appropriate referrals in the community will be furnished. Duration of Psychiatric Services will be individually determined.
  7. COST: Counseling Services are free to SMU students.
  8. EVALUATION: During the counseling/treatment process, you may periodically discuss your progress and review your goals with your professional.
  9. QUESTIONS: If you have questions/suggestions about the approach being used, discuss these concerns with your professional. If you feel suggestions are inappropriate, you may refuse to accept them.

Our purpose is to serve you. In order to provide the best possible services, we may exercise certain options in the course of the counseling/psychiatric treatment process such as:

  1. SEEKING CONSULTATION WITH OTHER PROFESSIONALS: Although information will not be released to outside agencies without your written permission, your professional may confer with other professionals within Counseling Services.
  2. TERMINATING OR REFERRAL TO OTHER PROFESSIONALS: When we feel our services are not or will not be appropriate, we may terminate counseling/treatment or refer you to a more appropriate agency. We will discuss any such changes with you before they take place.