Reasons for Referral Failure
On occasion, despite oneís good intentions and accurate knowledge of resources, a referral is not successful. Before you judge yourself, the student, or the referral source too harshly, consider the following possibilities:
- The student may not have been ready to receive the kind of help offered. Readiness is an essential component of effective help; it is not a one-way process.
- There may have been a disparity between the studentís expectations and the actual nature and extent of help provided by the referral source.
- The referral source may have been inappropriate for the type of help needed.
- The referral source may not have been aware of the studentís actual needs due to misunderstanding, misinformation, or poor communication.
- There may have been an incompatible relationship between the student and the referral source.
Should you, in a follow-up contact, discover that the referral was unsuccessful, there are several steps you can take. Continue to be receptive to the student, try to determine the reason for failure, and once again explore options with the student.
- If lack of readiness is the problem, be accepting of the studentís feelings, but communicate your limitations and encourage the student to consider other options for assistance. It is possible that at a later date or under different circumstances, the student will be more receptive.
- If disparity or inappropriateness is the problem, define more carefully with the student his/her needs and expectations and investigate more thoroughly the nature of the help offered by the referral source. Then try again!
- If lack of awareness on the part of the referral source is the problem, with the studentís permission, make direct contact with the referral source to correct or provide information about the studentís needs.
- If incompatibility is the problem, encourage the student to try another person or another agency rather than giving up. If you feel comfortable providing a specific individual for referral, do so.
- New Mexico State University Counseling Center
- Hours: Monday—Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Garcia Annex, Room 100
- MSC 3575/ P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001