CAPS offers a variety of counseling services to help students adjust to college life, cope with personal challenges, gain self-awareness, and address psychological concerns. Students may meet with a counselor for an initial screening and evaluation to determine how the student’s mental health needs can best be met.
Students with presenting issues that are best addressed at CAPS can participate in brief individual, couples, or group counseling. Concerns frequently addressed in brief counseling at CAPS include stress management, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, body image, concerns related to cultural background or identity, and concerns about family, romantic, or interpersonal relationships. If it is determined that the student’s needs will best be met by another agency, the counselor will provide the student with appropriate referrals or resources.
CAPS also offers psychiatric services (if a counselor determines that a psychiatric evaluation is warranted) and crisis counseling to assist with emergencies or serious crises related to psychological concerns.
Making an Appointment
Students who are interested in receiving mental health services can call or come to CAPS to make an intake appointment. They will be scheduled with a counselor who will conduct the intake. Students are asked to come 10-15 minutes before their intake so they will have time to complete paperwork. Intake appointments are offered on many different days and at a variety of times to accommodate students’ schedules. An intake appointment is approximately 45-50 minutes in length.
During the intake, the counselor gathers information about the student’s concerns, history and background. The counselor will then make recommendations to the student on how the student’s mental health needs can best be addressed. If the counselor determines that the student would benefit from CAPS services, the counselor will schedule a return counseling session for the student to begin working on his/her concerns.
Sometimes a student would be better served by group therapy (see section below on Group Counseling). In other cases, longer-term counseling is needed, and the counselor will offer referrals to outside providers and resources.
In brief individual counseling, a student meets one-on-one with a counselor for a limited amount of sessions that are typically 45-50 minutes in length. Counseling is a collaborative process where the counselor and student work together to help the student reach specific goals. Brief counseling is the most effective with students who have the capacity to solve their own problems with some assistance and are willing to work hard at changing dysfunctional behavior patterns and practicing healthier, more adaptive behaviors. Most students can be helped significantly in as few as 3-4 sessions if they work at it. Students interested in beginning individual counseling at CAPS should call or come in to make an intake appointment.
Brief couples counseling is available to students if both partners are enrolled students. In couples counseling, a counselor will meet with both students together for sessions that are typically 45-50 minutes in length. The counselor will help the couple reach mutually agreed upon goals such as improving communication and problem-solving skills. All CAPS counselors are members of the CSUF Safe Space program and provide LGBT affirmative counseling. Couples interested in beginning couples counseling at CAPS should first attend an Initial Screening during CAPS walk-in hours.
Groups are a form of counseling where students come together and work on life issues in a shared way. Groups are typically run by a facilitator who is knowledgeable in group process and in helping individuals with important life issues. Unlike individual counseling, groups provide a unique opportunity as they allow for group members to learn from each other, support one another, and help each other work on an issue. CAPS typically offers multiple groups each semester on topics such as romantic relationships, social confidence, and self-esteem. Group sessions are typically 60-90 minutes in length. Groups are private and confidential. What members disclose in group sessions is not shared outside of the group. The meaning and importance of confidentiality are reviewed with group members at the first meeting and every time a new member joins the group. A list of current group offerings can be found here . Students interested in participating in group counseling may contact the group leader directly to schedule a group screening or schedule an intake appointment to speak with a counselor regarding the group process.
If a counselor determines that a psychiatric evaluation is warranted, the counselor may refer the student to the CAPS psychiatrist. Students are required to first have an Evaluation with a counselor before a psychiatric evaluation may be scheduled. The psychiatrist typically meets with students for a 45-50 minute evaluation appointment to determine the most appropriate treatment. Students who begin a medication regimen can continue to meet with the psychiatrist periodically for follow-up appointments until the student is referred to a community provider. Some medications prescribed by the psychiatrist can be filled from the SHCC pharmacy at reduced rates for students.
CAPS counselors are available 8:00am - 5:00pm, Monday - Friday to assist with urgent situations, emergencies or serious crises related to psychological concerns. Students in crisis may walk in to CAPS during these hours and will be seen by a counselor in a timely manner. For mental health emergencies after business hours, students may speak with a live counselor by calling (657) 278-3040. In the event of an extreme mental health emergency or life-threatening situation, it is recommended that the student call 9-1-1, campus police or go to their local emergency room.
Case Management Services
Case management services are designed to identify and meet the individual’s psychosocial needs that may be impacting the individual’s daily functioning. The goal is to assist students in obtaining the appropriate services to enhance both their academic and personal well-being. Individuals are able to schedule a case management appointment, typically 45 minutes, with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Services include: navigating the university and community resources; referrals to off-campus providers; coordinating and monitoring referrals with outside providers. Students interested in case management services should contact CAPS to schedule an appointment.
CAPS staff members are required by law and professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of all communications with clients. Client information and client records cannot be released to anyone outside of CAPS without the client’s written permission. Client records are kept separate from academic, administrative, disciplinary, and medical records. No information about a client’s contact with CAPS (including whether a student is a client at CAPS) is released without the written consent of the client. Legally mandated exceptions to confidentiality include:
- Where there is reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of children, dependent adults, or elderly persons;
- Where the client presents a serious danger of violence to another;
- Where the client is likely to harm him/herself unless protective measures are taken;
- Where a judge issues a court order to release information.
CAPS counselors may also consult with other CAPS counseling staff so that clients are given the highest quality of care.