Off-Campus Referral Guide

We offer time-limited counseling services for students. If you would benefit from longer-term or specialized treatment, we may refer you to a provider in the community. This guide contains information to help you with this process.

  • Referrals made by Tufts University Health and Wellness should not be considered to be recommendations.
  • Tufts University does not license, endorse, or recommend any particular provider, nor does it conduct any due diligence about the quality of the care given by any provider. 
  • Tufts University is not responsible for the professional services rendered by those healthcare or counseling professionals and is not responsible for their availability.
  • Those healthcare or counseling professionals will not refer your healthcare matter back to Tufts University Health and Wellness and will not share any personal health information with Tufts University Health and Wellness unless you make a specific written request in accordance with applicable law. 
  • Tufts University urges students (i) to check with their insurance company whether the provider is covered as an “in-network provider” prior to the first appointment; and (ii) to interview the provider at the first appointment to make sure such provider is a good fit.

Obtaining a Referral

Even if you are not working with one of our clinicians, we can refer you to a qualified professional.

If you have already seen the outside provider or have any other questions call our business office for more information.

Referrals when you have the Student Health Insurance

Tufts student health insurance covers off-campus mental health services as long as you have a referral on file. Call our main office and ask for assistance: 617-627-3360.

You can also access our virtual counseling service.

Referrals when you have Private Insurance

If you have private health insurance, we can help you identify a specialist that accepts your insurance. Call our main office and ask for assistance: 617-627-3360.

Finding a New Provider

If you are working with a Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS) clinician, they can refer you to a local provider for off-campus services. We take a number of factors into account when we recommend a community provider. These include your health insurance and other financial factors and your preferences (such as location, hours, etc.).

Searching for a Provider

If you would like to do your own research, we suggest you use the following sources: 

  • Look up specialists on your insurance company’s website. The URL should be printed on your insurance card. You can search by type of specialist and by town or state. We have provided some quick links below but we strongly encourage you search for providers using the information provided on the back of your insurance card.
    - United Healthcare StudentResources
    - Aetna
    - Cigna
    - Blue Cross Blue Shield
    - Tufts Health Plan
  • Interphase Referral Service from William James College- maintains a mental health and wellness referral Helpline Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm, at 888-244-6843 (toll free). This is a free, confidential referral service for individuals across the lifespan living in participating communities. Callers are matched with licensed mental health providers from our extensive database. Each referral meets the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller. More information about the service and terms of confidentiality are on our Contact page. For information about becoming a participating community, please email us or call 888-244-6843 (toll free).
  • Open Path Collective- Open Path is a collective of therapists who have generously agreed to provide in-office treatment for $30 to $50 a session (between $30 and $80 for couples and families). Open Path clients pay a one-time membership fee to work with an Open Path therapist at a significantly reduced rate. Because the rate is so low, clients gain back their membership fee after just one session. Open Path is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Many of our therapists also provide sessions online. Begin your search today.
  • Psychology Today's Therapy Directory- provides a comprehensive directory of therapists, psychiatrists and treatment facilities near you
Contacting the Provider

Once you identify a provider you should contact them via email or phone to find out if they have any availability. 

When you leave them a message it is important you include some basic information: 

  • Name, contact information (phone and email) and best time to contact you.
  • Insurance information
  • Your availability (days and time)
  • How did you find out about the provider (website, CMHS referral, etc)?
  • What do you need treatment for (depression, anxiety, etc)?
  • What services are you looking for (individual therapy, couples therapy, etc)?


Communication Between CMHS and Your New Provider

Before referring you to an off-campus provider, your CMHS clinician may call a few providers to check their availability and the appropriateness of the referral. If you would like, and with your permission, your CMHS clinician may discuss details about your history or prior treatment, either before or after you have met the new clinician. This can be helpful in making the transition, but the decision to do so is up to you and your new clinician.

Making the First Phone Call

You might not be able to reach the provider directly by phone on the first try. Leave a message clearly identifying yourself, saying who referred you, and stating your interest in scheduling an appointment. Make sure to clearly state your name and provide information about when and how you can be reached.

You will usually hear back within a day or so, and the first phone conversation will probably be brief. Verify that the provider accepts your health insurance and has availability for new clients. You can also ask questions about areas of specialty, clinical approach, and fees, etc. The provider will probably ask you a few things about yourself and what you are looking for.

The First Appointment

If you feel comfortable with the phone conversation, you can set up an initial appointment to meet the clinician. You will likely be given some forms to fill out and sign. These will cover services, insurance, payment, confidentiality, your history and the like.

Just like at CMHS, the first meeting with any new mental health care provider often entails a general assessment of why you are seeking help, the nature of your concerns, developmental and family history, and questions to get to know you better and establish a foundation for treatment.

Getting Comfortable with a New Clinician

Sometimes it feels difficult to make the transition from one therapist to another. You will have to establish a level of comfort and it may feel like you have to tell your story over again. This may be true, but it can also be an opportunity to revisit your concerns and how you talk about them.  Maybe you notice familiar themes recurring or perhaps what you emphasize or bring forward has changed slightly. In addition, different clinicians ask questions and respond in different ways, and this is often helpful in opening up new ways of understanding and addressing your concerns.

Finding the Right Fit

You might feel comfortable with your new clinician right away or it could take a few meetings before you have a sense if this is the right fit for you. Try to expect that your sessions will feel different and give it some time to see how conversations develop. If you decide that your new clinician is not a good match, it’s fine to try another provider. You are welcome to contact CMHS again for assistance if you need additional help or other suggestions of area resources.

Referrals to CMHS Psychiatry

At Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS), we offer psychiatric services for Tufts students as an adjunct to counseling.