Policies & Procedures

  • ADHD Policy

    Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a Neurodevelopmental Disorder which affects focus and concentration in a way that interferes with the quality of social, academic, or occupational functioning. Symptoms of ADHD, by definition, begin before age 12 which makes a diagnosis of ADHD very challenging in an adult with no documented prior history of the disorder.

    Students with ADHD are best treated with a combination of services depending on their individual needs, including:

    • Therapy: The VSU Counseling Center offers therapeutic services to support students with ADHD and/or any co-occurring mental health concerns such as Anxiety or Depression.
    • Tutoring: The Academic Support Center provides a variety of services that can help support a student with ADHD. They offer one on one tutoring in addition to workshops on topics such as Time Management, Study Skills, and Test Taking Strategies. Please visit their website or contact their office at (229) 333-7570 for further information.
    • Accommodations: The Access Office works to provide equal access to campus programs and activities for all students. In order to meet this goal, there are circumstances where students with diagnosed disabilities (such as ADHD) are granted accommodations at VSU.
      • In order to receive accommodations for ADHD at the Access Office, students must have had recent testing for the disorder (an evaluation by a psychiatrist without testing or with self-report testing will not be accepted). Please visit their website  or contact their office at (229) 245-2498 for further information.
      • Medication: The standard medications prescribed for ADHD are stimulant medications which includes methylphenidate products and amphetamines, both of which have been placed on the Schedule II Controlled Substance List by the FDA. Unfortunately, there are high instances of these medications being abused. In consideration of this, the Counseling Center’s psychiatrist is very careful in prescribing these medications only to students with an established diagnosis of ADHD.

    Students presenting to the Counseling Center seeking medication treatment for ADHD will fall in one of these categories:

    1. No established diagnosis of ADHD.

    Students seeking services for ADHD with no prior history or diagnosis will be referred to an off-campus psychiatrist for evaluation. Students also have the option to be referred for psychoeducational testing, either to the Regents Center for Learning Disorders located at Georgia Southern University, or another practice that offers this service. Both of these routes will be at cost to the student and can be discussed with their counselor to determine the most appropriate choice.

    1. Student has an established ADHD diagnosis before age 12, is currently receiving medication, and wishes to transfer care to the Counseling Center psychiatrist.

    If a student was diagnosed with ADHD before age 12 and has been consistently treated since then, the Counseling Center will request records supporting that and endorse a referral to the Counseling Center psychiatrist. If diagnosed before age 12, the diagnosis will be permitted from either a general practitioner or psychiatrist. A referral to the Counseling Center psychiatrist is not a guarantee that stimulant medication will be prescribed, it is a referral to be evaluated for ADHD.

    1. Student has an established ADHD diagnosis after age 12, is currently receiving medication, and wishes to transfer care to the Counseling Center psychiatrist.

    If a student was diagnosed with ADHD after age 12 and has been consistently treated since then, the Counseling Center will request records supporting that and endorse a referral to the Counseling Center psychiatrist. If diagnosed after age 12, the diagnosis will only be permitted from a psychiatrist. A referral to the Counseling Center psychiatrist is not a guarantee that stimulant medication will be prescribed, it is a referral to be evaluated for ADHD.

    1. Student has been diagnosed in the past with ADHD but is not currently being prescribed stimulant medication

    If a student was diagnosed before age 12, the Counseling Center will request records supporting the diagnosis and these may come from either a general practitioner or a psychiatrist. If a student was diagnosed after the age of 12, the Counseling Center will request records supporting the diagnosis but will only accept a diagnosis from a psychiatrist. With supportive documentation, the Counseling Center will refer to the Counseling Center psychiatrist, who will evaluate the student and prescribe stimulant medication at his or her discretion. A referral to the Counseling Center psychiatrist is not a guarantee that stimulant medication will be prescribed. It is a referral to be evaluated for ADHD.

  • Confidentiality Policy

    The Counseling Center is part of Student Affairs and is dedicated to providing high quality psychological and psychiatric care. By maintaining a strict policy of confidentiality, your privacy is respected and better care is promoted. An important way of insuring confidentiality is to provide you with detailed information on the Counseling Center's policy on confidentiality and the Georgia law on privileged communication between you and a Counseling Center professional.

    Under Georgia law, counseling records are privileged and confidential. Exceptions to confidentiality can occur only under certain circumstances. These exceptions include serious immediate threat to your life or welfare or to the life or welfare of another person. This includes suspicion of the abuse of a child, elderly person or a person with a disability or imminent danger to the community at large. Disclosures may be made to select University officials when needed to protect the campus community or to ensure the continuity of care in treatment. When possible, you (the student) will be notified in advance if disclosure is deemed necessary.

    No one outside the Counseling Center professional staff may have access to your records, and no one outside the Counseling Center may be given information without your written consent. This includes your parents, teachers, housing staff, friends, insurance company, etc. If it is important for us to discuss your care with anyone outside of the Counseling Center, we need written authorization from you to do so. If you feel this is needed, please discuss the needs with your counselor so we can best meet your needs without divulging unnecessary information. It is important for your parents to understand this limitation as we are bound by law to protect your clinical information. We must have a signed, written release of information form to discuss your care with your parents once you become 18 years of age. A form is available at our reception desk for your specific release of Counseling Center information.

    It is important for you to know that Georgia law outlines a protected relationship between mental health professionals (specifically, psychologists and psychiatrists) and their clients. This privileged relationship means that clinicians may not reveal or be compelled by law to reveal any communication, observation, test result or other information gained as a result of the treatment relationship. Information conveyed to the Counseling Center by someone other than yourself is not considered confidential and may be shared directly with you. Privileged communication between you and your counselor or psychiatrist may be waived by a judge in child custody adoption cases, in lawsuits where mental condition is an important consideration, and in criminal lawsuits.

    In order to provide you with a continuum of high level care, there may be times when a Counseling Center staff will need to contact you or respond to you via electronic mail, voice mail, facsimile machine, cellular phone and/or answering machine, unless you instruct us otherwise. It is important for you to realize there is the potential that these messages could be inadvertently received or overheard by an unintended third party. E-mail is not a secure means of communication (i.e. may be intercepted by others outside the intended audience). Counseling Center staff members prefer to minimize our use of email with you whenever possible.

    During the academic year the Counseling Center office is open from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Thursday and from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Friday. During summer and break periods, the hours are the same. Our phone number is 229-333-5940. Emergency services are available 24 hours every day of the year. The emergency services can be reached during hours the Counseling Center is not open by calling 229-259-5555, which is the number for the University Police Department, who will contact the counselor on-call. We understand that confidentiality and comfort level in talking to campus police can be an issue. If you desire, you do have the option of only using your first name. The VSU Police dispatcher will also request a phone number where you can be reached. When the on-call counselor staff talks with you, at that time, your name and student number will be needed for our records. If you have any questions on confidentiality or procedures, please bring them to the attention of your counselor.  The Counseling Center encourages you to help us maintain high quality care by your active participation in and knowledge of the treatment process.

  • Emotional Support Animal Policy

    In accordance with the recommendations of the American Counseling Association, the VSU Counseling Center does not provide documentation for Emotional Support Animals. Please contact the Access Office (229) 245-2498 with any questions regarding Emotional Support Animals.
  • No Show Policy

    NO-SHOW AND LATE CANCELLATION POLICY

    VSU Counseling Center

    The Counseling Center staff is committed to providing efficient and effective counseling services to as many Valdosta State University students as possible. The demand for counseling services is typically high and we ask that you only schedule appointments that you are confident you will keep.

    If you need to cancel an appointment, we require that you do so at least 24 hours in advance to avoid penalty. Starting August 1, 2019, the VSU Counseling Center will begin charging a fine of $15 for clients who no-show appointments or who cancel sessions less than 24 hours in advance. If you must cancel your appointment less than 24 hours beforehand, please be advised that will be classified as a no-show resulting in a $15 fine. Any appointment that is attended ten minutes late will be classified as a no-show and the same fine will be assigned to your student account. Email will not be an acceptable form of notification in any circumstance.

    We would like to specify that this policy refers to all services offered at the VSU Counseling Center to include individual counseling sessions, couples counseling sessions, group counseling sessions, and psychiatric appointments. Please be aware of the following:

    • Three cancelled appointments or reschedules in a row within one semester, even within the 24-hour notification window, will result in a $15 charge to the students account.
    • Three no-show/late cancellations in a row within one semester will result in an email notification of suspension of services for one semester along with a list of local referrals to community providers following the last no-show/late cancellation appointment. 
    • If a student has two or more cancellations, they will not be scheduled any sooner than two weeks out.

    Academic demands should be planned for and are not considered an emergency. Please plan ahead and cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the fee and insure that you arrive to your scheduled appointments on time. Any fines that should be accrued will be automatically billed to your VSU student account. There is an appeals process in place for any fine in which a student can verify with proper documentation (e.g. hospitalization, police reports) that validates a missed/rescheduled appointment. All appeals will be reviewed by the Director of the Counseling Center.

    Definitions

    Cancellation: calling (not emailing) 24 hours prior to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

    No-show: not showing up or coming in later than 10 minutes to a scheduled appointment. 

    Late Cancellationn: Less than 24 hours’ notice for cancellation of an appointment.

    Thank you for helping us to serve everyone better and ensure that great therapy services are afforded to all students at Valdosta State University.

    I have read and understand the above explanation of Counseling Services’ policy:

    Printed Name: ______________________________________________________________

    Signature: ­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________________________________ Date: _______________