Stepped Care Model

Stepped Care Model Updated Fall 2021

Luther College Counseling Services follows a Stepped Model of Care.  The guiding principle of stepped care is to provide services for students with the least restrictive means.

Steps within Stepped Care:

Step 1 - Initial screening

All students meet initially with a counselor for a brief screening session in order to determine which counseling resources are the best fit for their presenting concerns. Through both electronic intake forms and face-to-face conversation, students share an overview of their concerns and goals. Students are provided with information and recommendations regarding relevant resources at LCCS, and they work together with the counselors to determine a plan for moving forward.  Screening appointments for new students are generally available within one business day, with some exceptions during peak seasons. Screenings are required prior to participation in all face-to-face counseling services.

Step 2- Campus support

Counseling Service works closely with multiple partners across campus to support student mental health. Interdepartmental referrals are provided for students who would benefit from support in areas such as career development, health, fitness, intercultural connection, academic skills, spiritual formation, case management, and housing. 

Step 3- Peer support

Counseling service cultivates healthy connection and authentic discussion between students,  peer based support includes NAMI, Actively Moving Forward, etc. Students are often referred to student organizations and other peer groups (such as Active Minds) in order to practice healthy connection and active belonging. 

Step 4- Self-help resources

A full range of online tools are available for students who are motivated to work independently on strengthening mental health. A series of videos available through TAO Self-Help provide training in emotional resilience, calming anxiety, managing depression, communication/relationships, and avoiding substance use. Included in the package are activity logs and other online tools designed to engage and train students in skills necessary for emotional flourishing. In addition, links to multiple apps and websites are provided through the self-help resources page. 

Step 5- Groups or workshops

Workshops present skill-building information related to how to help a friend, anxiety, depression, and relationships in a highly structured and fast-paced format. Students can be referred to workshops from counseling service or they can self-refer based on interest.

Step 6 -Therapeutic consultation or one at a time sessions

For students encountering a specific problem or decision, a one-time counseling session can provide the needed support to move forward. Counselors focus with the student on naming the issue and problem-solving next steps, after which the student can follow up with other counseling service resources as needed.

Step 7 - Group Counseling

Counseling groups offer students an opportunity to share concerns, support one another, learn skills, and practice healthy coping. Many counseling groups are focused on specific topics, such as anxiety or mindfulness. Others are open to students who are seeking more general emotional support. 

Step 8-TAO therapy

Students can qualify for brief, individual sessions with counselors from counseling service in conjunction with use of online psychoeducation tools through TAO. This provides students with active engagement with skill-building videos and activities throughout each week in order to support effective learning of the material, while also connecting them with a counselor to serve as a coach. Prior to engaging in TAO therapy, all participants complete a brief screening with a counselor—this is not required for students accessing TAO on a self-help basis. 

Step 9- Individual counseling

Strength- based, short-term and goal-directed counseling is available to enrolled students with concerns that fall within Luther College Counseling Service scope of practice. Rather than specific session numbers, reference to average duration of counseling may help to communicate to students and others in practical terms the short-term nature of counseling, while also indicating that “role and scope” and “resource availability” are primary factors in determining services provided.

*LCCS does not provide mental health counseling services to staff or faculty.  Staff and/or faculty will be referred to local providers, the EAP program and/or The Human Resources Department for any mental health counseling needs. TAO self-help services are available to staff and faculty for free.

Step 10-Off campus referral

Students seeking consultation related to medication are referred to Health Services or other local or community qualified providers in the student's home area. In these situations, open communication between the student, counselor and medical provider ensures a collaborative approach to treatment.

Determining a referral for off campus services:

LCCS may not be able to provide individual counseling under some circumstances.  Decisions concerning these limitations may be made at the time of the intake assessment appointment, or during any subsequent stage of service. Clinical consultation and clinical judgment, in conjunction with the goal to provide the greatest benefit in the shortest amount of time are considerations taken when a referral is made. LCCS will continually strive to provide services to all students requesting services that are within LCCS’s “role and scope” and fall within the mission of LCCS. When a community referral is the most appropriate option for a client, the options should, to the best of the clinician’s ability, address client circumstances regarding insurance, finances, and transportation.