Scope of Practice: Are You Eligible for Services?
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.
Utah state law requires that students must be 18 years of age or over to consent to health care, unless they have consent from a parent or legal guardian, or meet other statutory requirements. Otherwise eligible students under the age of 18 must have signed consent from a parent or legal guardian to receive care at CPSC.
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.
Eligibility for CPSC Services
Students must be currently enrolled at WSU during any semester in which they receive CPSC services. Individuals who have withdrawn completely from the semester are not considered to be currently enrolled. Due to high demand and limited university resources, the following groups of students are not eligible for CPSC services regardless of current semester enrollment:
- Salaried employees of WSU
- Non-degree-seeking students
- Lifelong learning students
Lifetime Utilization Limit
Because CPSC services are intended to be short-term, student utilization during their entire academic experience at WSU is limited. Students who have received extensive services at CPSC are not eligible to receive further treatment at CPSC, regardless of current enrollment. This limit applies to students who have previously received 30 or more sessions of any one of the following treatment modalities:
- Individual counseling
- Couples counseling
- Family counseling
Group counseling and individual medication management sessions do not count toward the lifetime limit. Students who have exceeded their lifetime utilization limit remain eligible for unlimited group treatment throughout their academic experience.
Individuals who are not eligible for CPSC services as defined above but wish to be considered for treatment may submit a Petition for Exception to Eligibility Policy. A committee led by the CPSC Clinical Director will review all petitions and must approve any exceptions granted.
We can help most students, but we are not a full-service mental health clinic
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 a medical danger
- Significant or chronic substance use/abuse which compromises therapy
- Active symptoms of psychosis at risk for progressive deterioration
Sometimes a referral is the best option
In addition to the clinical reasons indicated above, some other reasons why we may need to 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
- State/Federal benefit programs, including vocational rehabilitation and social security/disability
- 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.
Service 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.
Occasionally, CPSC clinicians may be able to 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
Individuals who believe their circumstances represent an exception to CPSC scope of practice may submit a Petition for Exception to Policy. A committee led by the CPSC Clinical Director will review all petitions and must approve any exceptions granted.