Prevention & Intervention Services
CHOICES is a two hour alcohol skills training workshop delivered to up to 10 students at a time in a group format. It is a research-based program that was specifically developed for college-aged students and has been used on campuses across the country. At SJFC, it is conducted by trained staff of the Wellness Center.
The CHOICES curriculum is designed to help students:
- thoughtfully reflect on their drinking behavior,
- obtain accurate information about college drinking and the effects of alcohol,
- examine risks associated with harmful use,
- identify strategies to avoid harmful drinking, and
- make safer choices about your drinking in the future.
The CHOICES approach includes:
- Information to raise a student’s awareness. Accurate information is presented in a non-judgmental way. Staff will attempt to separate myth from fact on a range of topics: how alcohol works; how much college students drink; effects of alcohol on behavior; the sobering up process; and more.
- Interactive Journaling. Students are provided with an opportunity to put in writing their thoughts and reflections regarding facts about alcohol use, risk factors, safe drinking strategies and personal choices from the perspective: “What does this mean to me?” Research has shown that the journaling method, when seriously undertaken, can facilitate re-evaluation and decision-making about the pros and cons of making changes in attitudes and behaviors regarding drinking.
- Respect for privacy and confidentiality. What students write in their journal or share verbally during the program will not be disclosed by Wellness Center staff to others such as residence life staff, faculty or parents. Journals are not collected or reviewed by staff. Any discussion or sharing is strictly voluntary. All students in the group are asked to respect the confidential nature of what gets shared.
- Program Assessment. We value feedback. We want to know if what we share is understood and we want to know if our methods are helpful in accomplishing our goal of providing students with information that is helpful in making responsible choices about drinking. With that in mind, we administer anonymous pre- and post- session tests about facts and attitudes regarding alcohol and drinking, along with a short evaluation at the end similar to college course evaluations. We summarize and use results to improve the program.
Referral for Other Services
If, in the opinion of the trained staff conducting the workshop, students would benefit from further evaluation of their drinking or other drug use behavior, they will be referred for additional services either in the Wellness Center or in the community. For students attending as a sanction for violating the college’s alcohol or drug policy, the recommendation for this referral will be reported to the Director of Student Conduct.
BASICS is a highly flexible and personalized program for screening persons for alcohol and other drug problems. It is conducted over the course of two individual sessions that last from 60 to 90 minutes each. BASICS has been recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a “model program” of harm reduction associated with drinking among college students. If students or others referring them have concerns about use of other substances (e.g., marijuana), the screening and evaluation protocol addresses these substances, in addition to alcohol. The entire process is conducted in a confidential, judgment-free environment with a trained staff person.
The components of the BASICS program include:
- An initial session to gather information about the quantity, frequency and consequences of the student’s drinking and other drug use, perception of how use of these substances compares with other college students, perception of ability to control use, and attitude toward making any changes in pattern of use. This information comes from responses to interview questions, completion of researched inventories, and an online confidential survey.
- An expectation for self-monitoring use of alcohol and other drugs between sessions
- A second session (usually 2 weeks after the first) devoted to discussing results of information obtained in the first session and in reviewing drinking and other drug use behavior in the time between sessions. Students are provided with a Personalized Feedback Report that includes ideas and strategies to make healthy choices to reduce the risk of problems in the future.
- A confidential follow-up survey conducted by phone or electronically about three months following completion of the second session which lasts 10-15 minutes. Students are asked about their use of alcohol and/or other drugs at that time and also about what aspects of the program were helpful in influencing their current attitudes and behaviors regarding use of alcohol and other drugs.
Referral for Other Services
If, in the opinion of the trained staff conducting BASICS, students require further evaluation and/or intervention of their drinking or other drug use behavior, they will be referred for additional services either in the Wellness Center or in the community. For students attending as a sanction for violating the college’s alcohol or drug policy, the recommendation for this referral will be reported to the Director of Student Conduct.
As time permits, the Alcohol and Other Drug Specialist and Mental Health Counselors of the Wellness Center will provide short-term counseling services for students and consultation services for students, staff and faculty. The focus of these services may include, but are not be limited to:
- Supportive counseling to students while waiting to be seen for an alcohol and other drug evaluation in a community agency
- Counseling of students with co-occurring mental health and substance use problems
- Consultation with faculty and staff concerned about the alcohol or other drug use of an individual student or group of students (team, residence hall members, etc.)