Syracuse UniversityCounseling Center

page-badge-default.jpg

Options Program

The Counseling Center’s Options Program offers assessment and feedback, individual and group education, and short-term individual and group counseling for those students seeking help for substance use related issues. Some students are required to attend the Options Program by another university department, such as the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities (OSRR) or the Athletics Department. The Options Program is also a resource for those who may be seeking help for another mental health or academic concern but who have co-occurring issues related to substance use.  The Options Program does not provide evaluation or treatment services for court-ordered treatment.

Below are frequently asked questions about the Options Program. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact our Options Program Coordinator Beth Salatti at basalatt@syr.edu


  1. Am I eligible for services?

    All currently enrolled, full-time Syracuse University undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for services.
  2. How do I schedule an appointment with the Options Program?

    Schedule an appointment online. CLICK HERE to schedule.

    • If you were referred to the Options Program by another university department, such as the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities (OSRR) or the Athletics Department, please indicate this when scheduling. An Options Intake Appointment will be scheduled for you.

    • If you are setting up an appointment as a self-referral, you will be a scheduled 15-minute telephone appointment with a staff therapist to discuss your concerns and our services.

  3. What will happen during my intake appointment?

    A therapist from the Options Program will conduct a full assessment including alcohol and drug use, anxiety, depression, and other mental health related issues. You should arrive at the Counseling Center 30 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete the initial paperwork. After your paperwork has been reviewed, you will meet with a therapist for approximately an hour. Based on the results of this assessment, your therapist will discuss recommendations with you.  These may include further individual meetings, participating in the Options Groups, or a referral to an outside provider for a more thorough substance abuse assessment.  As with all Counseling Center Services, involvement with our Program is confidential.

  4. If I am required to attend the Options Program, how many appointments will I have to attend?

    On average, students required to participate in the Options Program attend three appointments, however, recommendations may vary based on why the student was referred to Options and what the student’s current and past substance use is. 

    Recommendations may include:

    • Attending an Options Education Group 

      • The Options Education Group focuses on the impact of substance use on physiology, perception and decision making. The group also discusses the progression of use and ways to reduce the risk of substance use.

    • Engaging in individual follow-up appointment(s)

    • Participating in the Second Phase Group

      • The group is focused on understanding your drug and alcohol use as part of the pre-contemplative and contemplative stages of change. There are no requirements to be a member of this group, except for a desire to engage in the process. Members are not required to abstain from drug and alcohol use, but to be interested in examining these issues.
    • Attending a more comprehensive substance abuse evaluation with an off-campus treatment provider. If this recommendation is made, it is the student’s responsibility to complete any recommendation made by the provider. 

  5. Do I have to engage in abstinence to utilize the Options Program?

    Generally speaking, we employ a harm-reduction model rather than an abstinence based approach.  This means that our approach is to help student’s make informed, insightful choices regarding if, when, and how they chose to engage in substance use.  In utilizing this approach, we recognize that some students will continue to use substances, and our goal is to help them do this in a way that causes the least amount of harm to themselves and others as is possible.

    For some students, particularly those with a history of significant substance abuse, an abstinence approach is more helpful, and in some cases necessary.  In such circumstances, our staff will provide recommendations that specifically support abstinence and a rationale for why these recommendations are being offered.

  6. Does the Options Program offer drug testing?

    No, the Options Program doesn’t offer drug testing.
  7. If I was referred by OSRR or Athletics, how will they know I have attended the Options Program?

    At your initial appointment, you will be asked to sign a release of information allowing communication between the Options Program and the referring office. Any release of information will be fully explained to you if one is needed, but generally speaking, the purpose of this release is only to confirm your attendance at an appointment, not to share information regarding your substance use with the referring party. You have the right to decline signing any release. However, the Counseling Center will not be able to confirm your attendance without a signed release of information.
  8. How do I find an Off-Campus Treatment Provider?

    Please CLICK HERE to access the SAMHSA treatment services locator to find an Options Program approved treatment provider.