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Getting Started

Come as you are—you are welcome here. Even if you've never been to a counseling session before, we'll help you feel comfortable and achieve your goals.


Whatever you’re going through, we are here to help. You may feel nervous and even find it difficult to walk through our doors. Most students, however, are surprised at how comfortable the counseling experience feels when they are working with a therapist. We encourage you to allow us to become a part of your support system by utilizing our services.

  • We provide 50-minute therapy sessions on a regular basis, as clinically appropriate. There are no fees or session limits, but the services are designed to be short-term.
  • We provide both individual therapy and couples short-term therapy. To be eligible for couples therapy, only one partner needs to be enrolled at SCU.

Start Where You Are 

If you are interested and would like to connect with a therapist or discuss your options for getting support, the first step is to sign up for a phone consultation by calling us at the Cowell Center at (408) 554-4501 during business hours (between Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Appointments are available weekdays between 9:00 a.m. - 4:00p.m. CAPS appointments through the Cowell Health Portal are limited to Therapists in Residence appointments for undergraduate students living on campus.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please see our Contact the Cowell Center page for information about accessibility.

  • If you need to speak with a therapist today, you will be scheduled for crisis appointment at CAPS or directed to CAPS 24/7 for same-day support.
  • If you do not need immediate support and this is your first time seeking services at CAPS or you have not engaged in services with CAPS in over a year, you will be scheduled with a CAPS therapist (usually the same week) for a phone consultation to assess your needs.

When you call, the front desk staff will ask for the following information:

  • Name and student ID number
  • Phone number
  • A brief reason why you are interested in starting counseling services

Phone consultations are strictly over the phone.* You do not need to come to the Cowell Center in person for the appointment (unless you want a private space to take the call)


What Happens in a Phone Consultation 

During your 20- to 30-minute Phone Consultation, a CAPS therapist will listen to what you need and review appropriate resources and options with you, which may include participating in a group or workshop, meeting with a CAPS therapist for short-term therapy, connecting you with a CAPS Case Manager or with a community provider for specialized resources or ongoing support, or consulting with a psychiatric provider.

Please note: the Phone Consultation is not a therapy appointment but a way to gather information and determine what services or resources are most appropriate for you.

  • If it is determined that short-term therapy with CAPS is a good fit, then your phone consultation therapist will help match you with an available therapist at CAPS. We will do our best to connect you with a therapist based on your personal preferences. After you have been assigned a therapist, they will contact you within one week through the Cowell Health Portal to schedule you at the earliest available date for your initial intake therapy session. You can decide whether you would like to meet in-person or through telehealth.
  • If therapy at CAPS isn’t the right fit for you or you would benefit from longer term therapy or specialized therapy, you can meet with a CAPS Case Manager for support connecting with off-campus providers. Alternatively, we will provide you with information about CAPS 24/7 and the process of getting connected with a CAPS 24/7 Navigator for referral support that can best fit your needs.


*You must make sure your phone does not block or silence unknown callers. If you miss the call, the CAPS therapist will leave a voicemail and attempt to call you once more after 5 minutes. The time it will take for you to call back will determine if the appointment can still proceed.