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For Parents

Welcome to the Oakland University Counseling Center website! It is our privilege to be placed in a position to assist Oakland University students. If your son, daughter, or family member is an OU student and in need of counseling services, be assured that we are here to help.

You can find general information about our hours, location, services, and staff by going to our home page and clicking on the links there. Listed below are questions which parents and family members typically ask along with our responses.

How can I know if my son/daughter needs your services?

Family members and parents are often the first to notice students who are encountering overwhelming stress or are having problems coping. Their struggles can potentially interfere greatly with their academic performance, personal relationships, and daily behavior. Listed below are some things which might signal the need for a counseling evaluation:

  1. Changes in sleep, appetite, or energy level
  2. Social withdrawal or isolation
  3. Changes in behavior or personal hygiene
  4. Signs of excessive alcohol and/or drug use
  5. Expressions of sadness, unhappiness or mistrust
  6. Change in academic performance; absenteeism in class
  7. Loss of interest in activities which have been previously pleasurable or meaningful
  8. Crying spells
  9. Physical complaints without a known medical cause
  10. Unusual repetitive or ritualistic behavior
  11. Relationship problems with family or friends
  12. Talk or reference, whether direct or indirect, to suicide
  13. Previous emotional disturbance or treatment
  14. Recent traumatic event or loss
How do I refer my son/daughter to seek help from you?

Talk with your son or daughter in a caring and direct manner. Share with him/her what behavior or specific signs you see which concern you. Assure him/her of your support. Validate the strength that it shows when someone has the courage to ask for help. It is not a weakness to come for help. If they are unaware of the OU Counseling Center, refer them to this website. Let your son/daughter know that you will be as involved as they would like you to be. Assure your son/daughter that everyone struggles from time to time and that we all need each other.

My son/daughter refuses to seek help even though we are convinced he/she needs it. What can we do?

This is a difficult position to be in. It is so hard when you are convinced that your loved one needs help and you desperately want to see him/her become less distressed. It can be a very helpless feeling for a parent. Try to continue to be supportive. If you feel it is necessary to inform your son’s/daughter’s RA or RD, communicate that to your son or daughter and be “up front” about it. Continue to listen and be supportive. Call us at (248) 370-3465 and we will be happy to assist you and give you suggestions on how to approach the subject with your son/daughter.

In exceptional circumstances where a son/daughter is judged to be at risk, either because of some references to suicide/death or by not caring for his/her basic needs, parents can facilitate mandated treatment through the court system. The OU staff can help facilitate this. Thankfully, this is rarely needed as most students eventually understand the need for seeking help

If my son/daughter seeks help with the Counseling Center, can I follow-up and find out if they came, and how much will I be involved?

Most parents understand the importance of confidentiality for anyone seeking counseling services. Indeed, providing a safe, confidential setting is the real cornerstone of any counseling process. As legal adults, OU students are afforded that critical benefit also. However, many students who seek counseling services actually desire that their parents know what is going on in their lives, including how they are feeling emotionally and how they are finding the process of counseling. Many students elect to keep their parents informed by themselves. Some students have no problem with a parent talking with his/her counselor. A signed consent form allows that kind of communication to occur.

It has been recommended to my son/daughter that an antidepressant or other medication be used as part of his/her treatment. How do I find out about this?

First, talk with your son or daughter and ask your questions. Use what he/she has learned already. Second, ask your son/daughter if it would be permissible for you to speak with his/her counselor in order to get a more professional “perspective on the clinical rationale for the recommendation, what the treatment goals are, what can be expected, etc

Oakland University Counseling Center

Graham Health Center, East Wing
408 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-3465

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.