Client Information and Guidelines

Eligibility and Fees

All current students are eligible for counseling services; while all faculty and staff are eligible for consultation services. Please be aware that we must set priorities and current UTC students are served first. If your student status changes and you are involved in an ongoing counseling relationship, your services will not be abruptly terminated, but we will work with you to find appropriate community resources. .

All services to eligible individuals are free of charge, with the exception of testing and psychiatric services. A small fee for testing is required to offset the cost of the test materials incurred by the Center.

Attendance

Regular attendance and promptness are required.  The Center offers a text message reminder service to help you remember your upcoming appointment, text message reminders will be sent approximately 24 hours prior to your appointment – but keeping the appointment is ultimately your responsibility. This helps our center ensure we are able to fill the time slot with an appointment to better serve all students.

Not attending your appointment or cancelling/rescheduling your appointment more than once a semeseter will be considered a no show. Clients who no show two times during a semester will be ineligible to continue counseling for the current semester and will receive a referral for community resources. Clients can resume counseling services with our center the following semester. 

If you need to reschedule an appointment you must call our front office at 423-425-4438.

Confidentiality

Simply, confidentiality means that material and information about you, that you share with your counselor, or is contained in your electronic case file at the Center is strictly private and cannot be shared outside of the Counseling Center.  Sometimes, in order to serve you and best meet your needs, your information may, on occasion be discussed with other staff members in the Center.  These communications, often in the form of Supervision or Consultation, remain within the Counseling Center and would not be shared with anyone outside the Center itself. 

Your counseling information and records cannot and will not be released absent your express written consent specifically identifying to whom you want information released and the reason for the release of information.  If you provide your consent for the release of information, you may revoke or withdraw your consent for the release of information at any time.  Though the Center is specifically held harmless if information is released at your request or with your authorization and you change your mind after the release has occurred.  Once information has been released, we have no control over access

to that information in the future through the parties to whom it was released.  In other words, if you ask us to send your records to your doctor, we cannot control what your doctor does with that information thereafter.

There are specific exceptions to confidentiality – and in the described situations, we are mandated to release information regarding your records and counseling.  These are:

  • In cases of emergency where there is, in the counselor’s judgment, an imminent danger of harm to the client (Example: you make the counselor aware that you intend to harm yourself or you present in such a way that it is foreseeable that you will harm yourself because you will not or cannot take necessary steps to protect yourself)
  • In cases of emergency where there is, in the counselor’s judgment, an imminent danger of harm to others (Example: you make the counselor aware that you or someone else intends to harm third parties)
  • State law requires that any knowledge of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect of a child, an elderly person, or an incapacitated person must be reported to the authorities.
  • On rare occasions, Courts of Law have successfully obtained court orders for the release of protected client records or information. Attorneys can also issue subpoenas which, if valid, can mandate the release of information.
  • The Center is a training facility. Counseling interns are expected to discuss cases with site supervisors and/or during a team case conference to ensure our ability to provide the best treatment possible. Information shared remains confidential within the Center.  If you consent, counseling interns may request permission to audio record the session.  This would only be done with your consent, and if you authorize this practice, due care is taken to ensure the recording is immediately destroyed following the presentation to the University supervisor assigned to the academic portion of the intern’s learning process.

 

Dual Relationships

  • Discretion for the Privacy of Others
      • Please extend the courtesy of discretion in the event you encounter another student you know in the lobby or waiting area of the Counseling Center. It is important that all clients of the Center respect one another’s privacy and simply not share with others whom they may have seen or suspect to also be a client of the Center.  Disclosure of participation in counseling is a very personal decision and each person should be allowed to make that decision for themselves.
  • Conflict of Interests
      • It is possible that your counselor, or another counselor in the office, is seeing someone you know or with whom you are somehow involved. This can include circumstances where a counselor is seeing both romantic partners or both roommates individually but may not know because identifying factors have not been revealed.  If this occurs, the counselor is not at liberty to discuss the details of either case with the corresponding client.  If a conflict of interests is identified, the counselor will consult with the Director and all steps necessary will be taken to protect the interests of all parties involved and to minimize or eliminate potential risks of harm.
  • Future Professional Affiliation
      • Your relationship as a client, past or present, of the Center does not preclude you from applying for a position as an intern, graduate assistant, student worker, or post-graduate employee. However, each case is evaluated individually to determine the most appropriate and ethical course of action for all concerned.  Steps are taken to protect the applying student’s confidentiality and to minimize or eliminate any potential risk of harm.

Grievance

All counselors associated with the Counseling and Personal Development Center are bound to follow the Code of Ethics associated with their professional identity and license.  The Center employs and trains Professional Counselors, Psychologists and Social Workers.  You should feel free to ask your counselor for a copy of the Ethical Code that pertains to them. 

If you believe your counselor has behaved in an unethical or otherwise inappropriate manner, the following is the profess for filing a Complaint or Grievance:

  1. Endeavor to speak with your counselor about your concern and to determine if, in fact, there may have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding.
  2. If you cannot speak with your counselor, or if you have already done so and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may register a written complaint/grievance with the Director of the Center. Your written grievance should include the dates of service, your contact information, the name of your counselor and a brief summary of your concerns.
  3. The Director will contact you and will offer you an opportunity to meet to discuss your concerns.
  4. The Director will also speak with the counselor about whom the concerns were raised.
  5. The Director will notify you of the outcome.
  6. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Director’s inquiry, you have the right to bring your grievance to the Provost for further inquiry and review.

***You always also have the right to register your complaint with the appropriate local, state, or national organization to which the counselor in question adhere, or to the appropriate licensing board if applicable.