Policy Title

Time Limited Counseling Model and Scope of Practice


To describe the clinical range within which Counseling Services can effectively treat a presenting client. Describes the counseling model of care from which Counseling Services works.


Potential clients and those referring clients.

Policy Number:3.7.1
Effective Date:08/01/2008
Date Reviewed: 10/01/2016
Last Review Date:
Responsible Official: Clinical Coordinator for Counseling Services
Responsible Office:
Contact Information:



1.0 Specific meanings of bold terms seen throughout this policy can be found within the University's policy definition glossary by following the link below.

1.1 http://www.winthrop.edu/policy-definitions-glossary

Students at Winthrop University may face problems of living that interfere with academic, social, and emotional adjustment. Counseling Services staff will treat these students based on a time-limited counseling (8-12 sessions per academic year) and skill enhancement approach. The practical goal of time-limited counseling in a university counseling center is to reduce the amount of time clients must wait to see a counselor, to facilitate a timely return to adequate functioning, and to refer as many long-term issues to outside resources as possible.

It is beyond Counseling Services’ scope of practice to provide ongoing counseling and psychotherapy for students whose needs cannot be accommodated within such a model (i.e., serious, long-term psychiatric conditions, and individuals who appear to be a recurring high risk to themselves or to the Winthrop community). These students are referred into the community as are those whose needs require a particular type of expertise that is not found in Counseling Services.

Counseling Services does not provide treatment services for alcohol or drug use/abuse. Counselors will meet with students seeking such treatment for a brief time to provide support, assess the students’ needs, and assist them with referrals to off-campus resources.

A determination of whether a specific client’s presenting issues are within the scope of practice is at the discretion of the individual counselor, and questions regarding this determination should be brought to the table during Peer Supervision meetings.

The following are possible factors to consider when deciding whether a client’s concerns fall outside our scope of practice:

1.Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in psychological functioning, requiring intensive intervention (more than once a week sessions, a need for frequent between sessions contact, a need for after-hours contact),

2.Manifestations of psychotic or extreme mood-related symptoms without a willingness to remain on medication, or take other appropriate measures, for stabilization of symptoms,

3.History of intensive treatment and evidence that the need for the previous level of care continues or is likely to be needed from time to time,

4.History or clinical interview indicating that the termination of a short-term therapeutic relationship would be detrimental to the client,

5.Concerns presented fall outside of staff expertise or the scope of Counseling Services,

6.History of multiple hospitalizations,

7.History of repeated suicide attempts,

8.Long-term eating disorder with no period of remission, no previous treatment, or that poses an imminent medical danger,

9.Students who, in the clinical judgment of the counselor, are not appropriate for therapy (i.e. students who want a counselor for a friend, students who cannot identify issues or set goals even with the help of the counselor, etc.),

10.Entrenched, characterological pathology requiring long-term treatment, or serious acting out issues.

This section was intentionally left blank.

This section was intentionally left blank.

This section was intentionally left blank.

© Winthrop University · 701 Oakland Avenue · Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA · 803/323-2211