Counseling Frequently Asked Questions

What is Counseling?

Counseling involves a one-on-one relationship with a mental health professional. Generally, you meet with this professional on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for 50 minutes. The purpose of counseling is to assist you in resolving a variety of problems, including but not limited to mood changes, relationship problems, anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.

Do I need to have a mental illness to see a counselor?

No. CAPS offers mental health counseling for students in distress regarding a wide variety of problems that may or may not involve a mental illness. You do not need a mental health diagnosis in order to get services, nor does continuing services require that you are given a diagnosis.

What kinds of services are provided?

Personal Counseling: Individual sessions with a mental health counselor who will help you address concerns you may have regarding a variety of mental health issues

Therapy Groups: Counseling Services offers various therapy groups for specific student populations. See our therapy group page for current information

Marital, Couples, Family therapy: Families and couples may be seen for counseling. Improved communication and learning to resolve conflict are the focus of these sessions.

Psychological Testing: Limited psychological and psychoeducational testing is offered to students who present with difficulties performing academically. Currently, we offer testing during the Spring and Summer semesters only. See our Psychological Testing page for more information.

What will my counseling cost?

Counseling services are available to enrolled students at no additional charge.

Who is eligible to use counseling services?

During the Fall and Winter semesters, currently enrolled students are eligible for services. During the Spring and Summer semesters, students who are enrolled in the Fall semester are also eligible. Graduate students who are progressing towards a degree are also eligible. Only students are eligible to receive Counseling Services.

Can Faculty and Staff go to CAPS?

Counseling services are available for students only. We offer consultation services to Faculty and Staff for concerns regarding students. See our Faculty and Staff Services page for more information.

Are there time limits as to how long I can meet with my counselor?

CAPS offers brief, solution-focused therapy. Our goal is to provide you with the skills necessary to manage your presenting concern and make progress with regard to your functioning as quickly as possible.  Referrals to community mental health providers may be most beneficial for students whose presenting issues include long-standing difficulties with mental illness that cannot be expected to resolve in a reasonable amount of time or with the services we have available. Your counselor will discuss any referrals with you personally.

What are the hours for CAPS?

We are open from 8am-5:00pm on Mondays through Fridays.

Where is CAPS located?

CAPS is located in 264 University Center.

How long will I have to wait for a first appointment?

We currently do not have a waitlist and are accepting new clients. Depending on your availability, appointments are generally able to be scheduled within one week.

What will happen in my first appointment?

You are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to your first appointment. This allows you to complete a computerized intake form that helps the therapist gather information necessary for the first session. You will meet individually with a counselor, who will gather detailed information about your current concerns and various areas of your life, including personal, social, academic, work, and psychiatric history. Gathering information regarding your history is an important element of fully understanding how best to approach the particular problem for which you are seeking help.

How long do appointments take?

All appointments are scheduled for 50 minutes, including first appointments.

What about confidentiality in counseling?

CAPS strictly protects your confidentiality within the limits allowed by law. In general, limits to confidentiality include when someone, including the client, is at risk of immediate harm. Reports of abuse of a child, disabled, or elderly person are also required to be reported to the proper authorities. Within some court cases, mental health records can be subpoenaed if deemed relevant to the case. Questions regarding confidentiality will be addressed at your first appointment.

Will my sessions go on my official student record?

No. Session records are kept within CAPS. We do not report your attendance or any personal information to any unit in or outside the university without your written permission.

What if someone just needs information about a referral?

CAPS also provides consultations for people just seeking information about mental health resources or referrals. Ask to be scheduled for a consultation. This will avoid you having to fill out any intake information.

If I'm worried about someone other than myself (i.e., friend, roommate, family member, etc), what should I do?

CAPS provides consultations for people just seeking information about mental health resources or referrals. If you are unsure how to handle a situation with a friend or family member, we can offer a one-time consultation to provide you with any information, resources, or referrals. Ask to be scheduled for a consultation. This will avoid you having to fill out any intake information. If you require more than one session to address your concerns, we ask that you complete the intake information and be scheduled for counseling.

Do you have crisis counseling?

Yes. In the event of a crisis, you have two options for obtaining crisis counseling.

1)    During office hours, come directly to CAPS. Please notify the Administrative Assistant that you would like to see the Counselor on Duty. You can indicate on the intake form that you are in crisis and need to be seen today. Arrangements will be made for you to be seen within 30 minutes.

2)    After hours, contact the Department of Public Safety at 762-3333 and state that you need to speak to the Counselor on Duty. A counselor will contact you to assess your concerns and address any immediate issues.

Can someone request a particular counselor?

Yes. You have every right to request a particular counselor based on your preferences. Requests will be granted whenever possible.

What if I feel that I am not a good match or I'm not comfortable with my counselor?

It is best to address this with your current counselor. He/she can assist you in communicating any preferences you may have and discuss any problems that occurred with regard to your comfort in counseling. Although limited, we do have multiple counselors available and are happy to transfer you to another counselor if needed. We can also provide you with referrals to a community provider if that best fits your needs and preferences.

Can someone receive counseling by email, Instant Messaging, Facebook, etc?

No. We exclusively provide our services through personal contact with a mental health professional. Among other reasons, this is the only way to ensure the level of confidentiality that we are committed to providing for all of our clients. If you are unable to come in to the office, here are some options for you.

1)    Important information about mental health issues is available online (See Online Resources page and Self Help page) that may address your concerns.

2)    We can provide a one-time consultation over the phone. Call 810-762-3456

Where can someone get help with study skills like note-taking or doing better on exams?

Contact the Academic Enrichment Center, which is located within the Academic Advising and Career Center, 285 University Pavilion, 810-762-3085