Information for Parents & Family

It is our privilege to be placed in a position to assist Calvin students. If your son, daughter, or family member is a Calvin student and in need of counseling services, be assured that we are eager to help. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

I think my family member needs your services. How can I know for sure?

Family members and parents are often the first to notice when students have trouble coping. Academic performance, personal relationships, and daily behavior can all be negatively impacted by emotional difficulties. The following signs suggest the need for a counseling evaluation at Broene:

  • changes in sleep, appetite, or energy level
  • social withdrawal or isolation
  • changes in behavior or personal hygiene
  • signs of excessive alcohol and/or drug use
  • expressions of overwhelming sadness, anxiety, mistrust, or anger
  • changes in academic performance or absenteeism in class
  • loss of interest in activities that were previously pleasurable or meaningful
  • physical complaints without a known medical cause
  • unusual repetitive or ritualistic behavior
  • relationship problems with family or friends
  • talk or reference to suicide (whether direct or indirect)
  • previous, chronic emotional disturbance or treatment
  • recent traumatic event or loss

How do I encourage my family member to seek help from you?

Talk with your family member about your concerns in a caring and direct manner, sharing the behavior or specific signs you see. Provide assurance of your support. If your family member is unaware of the Broene Counseling Center, refer them to this website. Let them know that you will be as involved as they would like you to be. Assure your family member that everyone struggles from time to time and that we all need each other—asking for help demonstrates strength and courage.

My family member refuses to seek help even though I'm convinced s/he needs it. What can I do?

It can be a helpless feeling when a family member seems to need help but is not open to seeking counseling. Provide gentle encouragement toward counseling and avoid making the issue into a power struggle. Continue to listen and be supportive. If you have concerns about the safety of your family member, do not hesitate to call their Resident Director or Campus Safety (616-526-3333).

If my family member seeks help from the Broene Counseling Center, will I know?

A confidential counseling setting allows participants to feel comfortable and safe while addressing their concerns. Counselors are legally and ethically mandated to maintain client confidentiality. As a result, families are not provided with counseling information unless their family member has provided written consent. We want you to know that we value your relationship with your family member and are committed to providing them with quality care.