Scope of Practice

The role of the Student Counseling Service (SCS) at Texas A&M University is to provide brief mental health counseling and related services that advance student development and academic success. Brief mental health counseling is available to eligible students whose concerns fall within our scope of practice. To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled at Texas A&M University and have paid the University Advancement Fee. 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 initial assessment or at any time during the treatment process based on the clinician’s judgment.

Group therapy and workshops are unlimited for eligible students. To receive psychiatric services, students must be engaged in counseling at the SCS and be referred to psychiatry by their clinician. Scope of psychiatric services is determined by psychiatry staff.  Students who have established a psychiatric provider within about a 200-mile radius are typically encouraged to continue with that provider. Brief mental health counseling, including individual and couples counseling, is defined by the SCS as “assessment of and intervention for concerns reasonably addressed within a semester.” On average, students attend 3-5 individual sessions. Crisis services are available for eligible students during regular business hours (M-F 8am – 5pm). The SCS HelpLine (979-845-2700) is available during the academic year outside business hours.  If needing additional crisis help, students are encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or go to a local emergency room.

The following are reasons the SCS may refer students to community resources and are decided on a case-by case basis. Exceptions can be granted with the approval of the SCS Director. The SCS will try to the best of its ability to continue to see students until a community referral has been secured.

  • Clinical Issues include but are not limited to:
  1. Students with chronic mental health conditions that require longer-term, ongoing care.
  2. Clinical presentations, such as some personality disorders, that indicate short-term therapy may be ineffective and/or detrimental.
  3. A need or desire to be seen more frequently than SCS can accommodate. Excessive utilization of SCS crisis intervention services indicates that the standard session frequency is inadequate. The determination of whether or not utilization has become excessive is based on national counseling center standards and trends.
  4. Chronic suicidality and/or recent history of multiple suicide attempts.
  5. Severe and chronic self-injury.
  6. A history of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations.
  7. Issues that require more specialized care than can be provided at SCS, including:
    1. Significant or chronic disordered eating symptoms posing medical danger
    2. Significant or chronic substance use/abuse which interferes with engagement in therapy
  8. Active symptoms of psychosis at risk for progressive deterioration.


  • Other reasons the SCS may refer students to community resources include, but are not limited to:
  1. Lack of motivation or engagement in treatment, as evidenced by:
    1. Unwillingness to provide information sufficient for clinical assessment
    2. Inability to identify a treatment goal appropriate for brief mental health counseling
    3. Inconsistent attendance (More than 2 no shows and/or late cancellations may require a meeting with an administrator to discuss treatment compliance and demand for services)
    4. Poor or non-compliance with treatment recommendations
  2. Ongoing treatment relationship with another mental health provider.
  3. Inappropriate, harassing, menacing, threatening, or violent behaviors. 
  4. Mandated or required treatment, including, but not limited to:
    1. Counseling ordered through legal proceedings, such as substance abuse treatment, alcohol education, anger management, parenting education, or domestic violence treatment
    2. Counseling required by external entities, such as employers, government agencies, academic departments, or classes
  5. Comprehensive psychological evaluation of any type, including, but not limited to:
    1. Neuropsychological evaluations
    2. Forensic assessments
    3. Custody evaluations
    4. Assessment and documentation for service or support animals
    5. State/Federal benefit programs, including vocational rehabilitation and social security/disability
    6. Fitness-for-duty evaluations
    7. Pre-surgical mental health evaluations
  6. When treatment is not advancing, the ethical guidelines of the mental health providers of the SCS indicate the need for termination of therapy and referral to community resources.
  7. Other situations that are determined to be outside the scope of services provided by SCS, or when a clinical staff member determines that treatment would be detrimental to the client or to the proper functioning of the facility.