Client Rights and Responsibilities
Personal Counseling and Alcohol and Drug Counseling
Welcome to the Kelly Center (KC). The KC's counseling services are available to all Fort Hays State University students, faculty and staff. As a client, you are eligible to receive a variety of counseling services related to personal, drug and alcohol and educational concerns. This handout summarizes important information that KC clients should know. Because the KC serves individuals with a wide range of concerns, some of this information may not be relevant to your particular situation; however, we feel it is important that you read it.
Personal Counseling is a confidential process designed to help you address your concerns, come to a greater understanding of yourself and learn effective personal and interpersonal coping strategies. It involves a relationship between you and a trained therapist who has the desire and willingness to help you accomplish your individual goals. Personal Counseling involves sharing sensitive and private information that may at times be distressing. During the course of counseling, there may be periods of increased anxiety or confusion. The outcome of counseling is often positive. However, the level of satisfaction for any individual is not predictable. Your counselor is available to support you throughout the counseling process.
As a client of the KC, you have certain rights, including the rights to prompt service, respect and confidentiality.
The initial interview is the first step in the counseling process. The purpose of the initial interview is for you and a KC staff member to make decisions about the type of help needed. Following the initial interview, the KC will contact you as soon as possible to schedule your first regular appointment with a staff member or group session. At certain times of the year, when the demands for counseling services are greater than the KC's ability to respond, it is possible that you may be asked to wait for a regular counseling appointment. We will do our best to make this waiting period as brief as possible. It may also be necessary to limit the number of sessions. At times it may be appropriate and/or necessary to refer you to another agency or professional. The KC will assist in the referral process.
The KC staff members are committed to treat all clients with respect, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation or religion. KC staff members demonstrate this respect by keeping appointments, by making every effort to notify you if a change in time is necessary, and by giving you their complete attention and avoiding interruptions during sessions.
Counseling involves the disclosure of sensitive personal and private information by clients. Professional ethics and several laws protect the confidentiality of information shared in counseling. Therefore, no acknowledgement of your status as a KC client will be made, nor will information about your actual counseling be released to any outside agency or individual without your written permission, except as may be required by law. There are a few exceptions to confidentiality which you should be aware of before you begin counseling.
- Staff Consultations and Supervision. The KC staff operates as a team in order to provide the best possible service to clients. Therefore, it is possible that the staff member you are working with may consult with other staff members or other Student Affairs professional staff. These consultations are for professional and/or training purposes only.
- Abuse of Children. If a staff member has reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected, s/he is legally obligated to report this situation to the appropriate state agency.
- Imminent Harm to Self. If a staff member has reason to believe that you are in danger of physically harming yourself, and if you are unwilling or unable to follow treatment recommendations, s/he may have to seek your involuntary admission to a hospital and/or contact a family member or another person who may be able to help protect you.
- Imminent Harm to Others. If a staff member has reason to believe that you are actually threatening physical violence against another person, or if you have a history of physically violent behavior and if s/he believes that you are an actual threat to the safety of another person, s/he may be required to take some action (such as contacting the police, notifying the other person, seeking involuntary hospitalization or some combination of these actions) to ensure that the other
person is protected.
- If you are under the age of 18, there are certain circumstances we may need to discuss with your parents and/or guardians regarding your care. Please discuss any concerns you have about this with your counselor.
The situations described in (2), (3) and (4) are extremely rare. If they should occur, however, it is the KC's policy that, whenever possible, we will discuss with you any action that is being considered. You should be aware that we are not legally obligated to inform you or seek your permission, especially if such a discussion would prevent us from securing your safety or the safety of others. If disclosure of confidential information does become necessary, we will release only the information necessary to protect you and/or another person.
In order for you to make progress, your active participation in the counseling process is essential. Therefore, along with the rights you have as a client of the KC, you also have certain responsibilities. Your fulfillment of the responsibilities listed below is important in helping us to assist the many students who seek our services.
Counseling sessions, except for initial interviews and group sessions, are generally 50 minutes long. Arriving promptly for your sessions will allow you to make the most of them. If you know that you will be late for an appointment, please notify us.
Once you have been assigned a regular appointment with a staff member, it is your responsibility to keep that appointment. If you are unable to keep a scheduled appointment, please cancel your appointment by calling the KC's receptionist, giving as much advance notice as possible. If at any time you decide to discontinue counseling, it is helpful to the KC if you inform the staff member with whom you are working or call the office and notify the receptionist of your decision.
If you miss a regular appointment and have not canceled it in advance, you must contact the KC within three (3) working days of the missed appointment if you wish to schedule another appointment with the same staff member. If we do not hear from you within that time, we are unable to guarantee you another appointment with that staff member.
If you have any questions or concerns about your rights and responsibilities, or any other services you are receiving, you are encouraged to discuss them with a KC staff member.