Scope of Practice

The role of the Weber State University Counseling and Psychological Services Center (CPSC) is to provide brief mental health counseling and related services to help Weber State students identify barriers, improve coping, and achieve personal goals. Our services are available to eligible students whose concerns fall within our scope of practice. Those whose needs cannot be accommodated within our treatment model will be referred to community resources for care. Such referrals might occur immediately following an intake, or they might occur after some treatment and a further assessment of need has taken place.

Eligible Weber State students may receive up to 12 sessions per academic year. Sessions of different treatment categories, such as individual and couples therapy, or individual therapy and medication management, are counted separately. It is not customary, however, for individuals to utilize the maximum number of sessions in multiple categories. Group therapy is an exception; clients may attend as many group sessions as desired without impact on their session limit.

Some examples of clinical issues that will likely be addressed through a community referral include but are not limited to:

  • Individuals with chronic mental health conditions that require longer-term, ongoing care.
  • Clinical presentations, such as some personality disorders, that indicate short-term therapy may be ineffective and/or detrimental.
  • A need or desire to be seen more frequently than CPSC can accommodate. Most of our clients are seen 1-4 times per month.
    • Excessive utilization of CPSC crisis intervention services indicates that standard session frequency is inadequate.
  • Chronic suicidality and/or recent history of multiple suicide attempts.
  • Severe and chronic self-injury.
  • A history of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations.
  • Issues that require more specialized care than can be provided at CPSC, including:
    • Significant or chronic disordered eating symptoms posing medical danger
    • Significant or chronic substance use/abuse which compromises therapy
  • Active symptoms of psychosis at risk for progressive deterioration

Other reasons why we may deny services and/or refer individuals to community resources include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of motivation or engagement in treatment, as evidenced by:
    • Unwillingness to provide information sufficient for clinical assessment
    • Inability to identify a treatment goal appropriate for brief therapy
    • Inconsistent attendance
    • Poor compliance with treatment recommendations
    • Failure to follow through with recommended treatment in the context of multiple crisis intervention sessions
  • Ongoing treatment relationship with another mental health provider
  • Inappropriate, harassing, menacing, threatening, or violent behaviors 
  • Mandated or required treatment, including but not limited to:
    • Counseling ordered through legal proceedings, such as substance abuse treatment, alcohol education, anger management, parenting education, or domestic violence treatment
    • Counseling required by employers, government agencies, academic departments, or classes
  • Individual counseling initiated only to earn credit for a class
    • Some CPSC groups may allow participation for this purpose, with expressed approval by the group facilitator
  • Comprehensive psychological evaluation of any type, including but not limited to:
    • Neuropsychological evaluations
    • Forensic assessments
    • Custody evaluations
    • Assessment and documentation for service or support animals
    • Fitness-for-duty evaluations
    • Pre-surgical mental health evaluations
  • Medication-management-only treatment plans, including following termination of short-term psychotherapy
  • Inappropriate utilization of couples/family therapy to treat the individual mental health needs of a person ineligible for individual CPSC services. Couples/family therapy is reserved for couples/family issues.
  • Other situations that are determined to be outside the scope of services provided by CPSC, or in which case a clinical staff member determines that treatment would be detrimental to the client or to the proper functioning of the facility.

Denial/Referral Process

During the intake appointment or during any subsequent stage of treatment, a CPSC clinician may determine that a client’s needs appear to fall outside our scope of practice. In such instances, the clinician is encouraged to consult with colleagues and/or the Director regarding case disposition. If the clinician is a trainee, the supervisor must be consulted.

When a community referral is the most appropriate treatment option for a client, he/she should be provided with approximately three referral options. These options should, to the best of the clinician’s ability, address client circumstances regarding insurance, finances, and transportation.

CPSC clinicians are not case managers, and are not responsible for ensuring that clients follow up on referrals provided. Such contacts are encouraged, however, in cases with a moderate or higher level of risk or instability.

Possible Exceptions to Exclusionary Criteria

Occasionally, CPSC clinicians may provide services that extend beyond our scope of practice. Circumstances which may warrant such services include but are not limited to:

  • Appropriate management of a crisis occurring when the majority of a student’s 12 sessions have been utilized
  • Coverage through upcoming graduation within the semester
  • Completion of treatment for clients making good progress, but needing limited extension of services
  • Supporting high-functioning clients with chronic conditions on well-defined short-term therapy goals
  • Longer-term therapy for committed and progressing clients comprising 5% or less of any clinician’s caseload, for training and diversity

When a client’s circumstances represent a possible exception to exclusionary criteria, the clinician must present the case to CPSC clinical staff for consultation and approval.