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How can staff members determine if they should refer a counselee to a more qualified counselor?

When involved in a counseling situation, there are several assessments that need to be made to determine if and when to refer:

Ability. It is tempting to get caught up in the desire to help someone and to try to deal with issues that are beyond your experience. Be honest with yourself: "Do I know what I am looking at here? Have I been trained in how to handle this?" Grief that intensifies over time, prolonged depression, hearing voices, and substance abuse are among the issues that should signal the need to refer.

Time. Even when you are not out of your depth in a particular area, an important question is, "How much time do I have to invest?" When a staff member who is not a counselor starts giving hours in counseling, it is at the least a drain from other areas of ministry. Any addiction is a long-term investment. Even if you have the background and ability to handle that, you may not be able to afford the time commitment. Personally, I set a limit on how many times I will see anyone for ...

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