Mandated Assessment and Treatment

Dr Sean Murray1

1Curtin University, Bentley, Australia


The Counselling Service (CDS) is best positioned to provide psychological support to students when students seek services voluntarily. Compelling a student to undergo an assessment at the Counselling Service can undermine the possibility that the student will engage in productive treatment. Lecturers and staff at the university who may be concerned about a student often can find ways to encourage students to seek support at the CDS voluntarily. By engaging with the student, expressing genuine concern, encouraging the student consult with the CDS, and/or escorting the student to the counselling service. This may alleviate the concerns that the student may have of seeking help. This ensures that the student receives the necessary support and alleviates the concern of the staff member. However, when a student’s behaviour presents a possible or actual danger or threat to self or others, a mandated assessment may be appropriate. A mandated assessment at the CDS is not a form of disciplinary action, but rather is an administrative procedure designed to safeguard the wellbeing of the student and duty of care for community. A student will be responsible for violations of the Student Code of Conduct and Statute 10, without regard to whether a mandated assessment occurs and/or the outcome of a mandated assessment. The consequence of not attending the mandated assessment may remove all mitigating circumstances when issuing a penalty.


Sean Murray is Head, Counselling and Disability Services at Curtin University. He has held this position for the past 9 years. Prior to working at Curtin he lectured in the Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, at UWA for 2 years. Before he migrated to Australia he held the position of Deputy Head of Department and co-coordinator of post-graduate courses in Psychology at the Medical University of Southern Africa; He was also a lecturer and Associate Director of the Centre for Psychology, at the University of Pretoria. As a psychologist he has worked for several Psychiatric Hospitals in government and military environments; student counselling services; substance abuse programs; and private practice. In 1988 he completed his MA and 1995 his PhD. He is the WA Convener for ANZSSA and serves on the ANZSSA executive as the Regional convenor. He also served on the executive of the Association for Counselling Psychologists for 4 years. He was the international representative board member for the International Association for Counselling Services which is the Accreditation Association for University & College Counselling for 6 years.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education. We are focused on: The quality of the student experience Supporting and empowering students to achieve their educational and life goals Enhancing student wellbeing and development Improving student success and persistence Providing outreach to students at-risk Raising institutional student retention rates For more information, please visit the ANZSSA website at

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