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Getting Started at CAPS

If you would like to discuss your concerns and options for getting help, please call CAPS at (408) 554-4501 during normal hours of operation (M-F, 8:30AM to 5:00PM). You will be scheduled for an initial consultation (triage) appointment, which consists of a 20 to 25 minute phone call with a counselor at CAPS. 

What Happens in an Initial Appointment

During an initial consultation (triage) appointment, you will talk privately with a CAPS counselor about your concerns and collaboratively develop a plan that will best meet your needs. Please note that the initial consultation is not an actual therapy appointment but a way to gather information and determine what types of services and mental health resources are most appropriate for you. Some options may include brief individual therapy at CAPS, long term therapy off-campus, psychiatry services, group therapy or workshops at CAPS, or other campus and community resources.

If it is determined that short-therapy at CAPS is a good fit, then your phone triage counselor will ask you about any preferences you may have and help facilitate your match with an available clinician at CAPS. Your assigned clinician will contact you within one to two weeks time to begin brief individual therapy services.

Getting the Most Out of Your Counseling Experience

  • Arrive 20 minutes early for your initial intake appointment to fill out a computer assessment (please have your SCU student ID number with you).
  • Be on time for your appointments.
  • Be honest with your counselor; counseling is a safe place to tell
    the truth without being judged.
  • Give your counselor feedback on how your counseling is going.

What CAPS Can Do

Concerns that can be addressed within a brief therapy timeframe are usually managed by CAPS, while concerns requiring longer-term or specialized therapy are best addressed by professionals outside of the university.

CAPS utilizes a short-term model of therapy for individual and couples sessions in order to use its resources most effectively and assist students in addressing issues common in a college setting, such as:

  • Personal: Stress and anxiety, mild depression, anger, loneliness, guilt, self-esteem, grief and loss
  • Relationship: Romantic relationship difficulties, sexual concerns, roommate conflicts, difficulties with coworkers or classmates, concerns with family or friends
  • Developmental: Identity development, adjustment to college, life transitions, cultural concerns
  • Academic: Performance anxiety, stress, perfectionism, underachievement, motivation, concerns about future school and work
  • Other: Spiritual concerns, body image/food preoccupation, healthy lifestyle choices, minor alcohol and drug use concerns, sexual assault, discrimination and oppression

Outside Services

Students whose mental health needs cannot be met with short-term psychotherapy or who require a particular type of service not offered at CAPS, or require a once-a-week meeting with a clinician, will be referred to resources outside of the university. 

There are many concerns that are best served in the professional community outside of the university, such as:

  • Evidence or risk of significant deterioration in mental or emotional functioning, requiring more intensive intervention
  • Manifestations of psychotic symptoms without willingness to remain on medication for stabilization of symptoms
  • Inability or unwillingness to provide the necessary information to thoroughly assess symptoms
  • Other issues requiring specialized services not available through CAPS, such as:
    • Significant drug and/or alcohol problems, such as substance dependence and/or past failed treatments
    • Long term suicidal intent that cannot be appropriately addressed within a brief counseling model
    • Chronic and severe self-injurious behaviors that require medication and/or long-term therapy
    • Significant or longstanding eating disorder with no period of remission, continual refusal of treatment, or posing as a medical danger
    • Request for formal psychological evaluation or testing
    • Services to fulfill students’ court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements
    • Noncompliance with treatment recommendations