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Karen Kirkpatrick
Office Manager

Ph: (540) 464-7667
Fax: (540) 464-7025
Email Cadet Counseling

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Center for Cadet Counseling (CCC)
Virginia Military Institute
VMI Health Center
448 Institute Hill, 2nd Floor
Lexington, VA  24450

Speaking Directly With A Cadet

Consider these suggestion for a direct conversation with a cadet:

  • Ask the cadet if you can schedule a one-on-one meeting.
  • Let someone else in your department or office know about the scheduled meeting so they can be available if necessary.
  • Tell the cadet what behaviors you have noticed that have you concerned, and express concern about them. ("I've noticed you've missed class three times in the past two weeks.")
  • Avoid "why" questions, which may be perceived as judgmental.
  • Ask open-ended questions. ("Tell me a bit more about how things are going for you this semester: What's been difficult? Satisfying...")
  • Listen to the cadet's response. You need not be scared off by an emotional response. Talking about a problem, or labeling a crisis, does not make it worse. It is the first step toward resolving it. Be patient. Don't give up if the cadet doesn't talk easily.
  • Allow the cadet to tell his/her story. Allow silences if they occur. Sometimes what follows can be especially productive.
  • Restate what you have heard so that the cadet will know you understand.
  • Know your own boundaries and limitations and if necessary, get help determining a course of action. Say something like, "I know (name) in (department/office) who has helped other cadets with similar circumstances. I'd like to call him/her right now to get input/advice about this. Will you please stay here while I call?" (If the answer is no, respect the cadet's decision, invite him/her to reconnect with you as needed. If you have lingering concerns, call the CCC, 540-464-7667.
  • Suggest resources and offer hope
  • Encourage the cadet to utilize available resources (dyke, Cadet Peer Educators (CPE), academic advisor, chaplain services, etc.)
  • Convey to the cadet that asking for help is a sign of strength.
  • Suggest a "one time" visit to speak with a counselor at the CCC.
  • Call the CCC, 540-464-7667, for consultation and advice about next steps.