While discussing individual counseling sessions on a Twitter #escchat (where counselors form all over the country gather to share ideas via tweets for one hour), the question came up regarding how students request to see the counselor. Last year I knew that I wanted to use a self-referral form similar to that of my internship supervisor's form. Yet I had no structured way to collect these forms other than teachers handing them to me when they could. Thus, I decided to try a more efficient system this year.
This year, I purchased a drop box that was attached to the wall near the library, a central location that nearly every student passes by daily. This box is the perfect size, affordable (very important to counselors on a budget!) and has a convenient slot in the back to hold blank forms and pens. Students tell me they like using it because it feels like they are passing me a secret note… which makes the process fun, too! I like it because it teaches students to be aware that it may take a day or two before I can meet with them, and it is locked to ensure confidentiality.
The form incorporate Kelso's choices and big versus small problems, which (hopefully) encourages students to try to solve a problem on their own first. When I meet with students from these self-referrals, I always go over the attempts they made to solve the problem and use it as a teachable moment (either how they could try next time and/or affirming their choice to seek a trusted adult). The student's description and the indicated level of urgency help me to prioritize sessions, as well. Here is the form I use currently: