We provide psychological counseling and psychotherapy to students, and offer consultation to parents, faculty and staff. As therapists, we believe it is better in the long run if, before offering specific advice or directions, we listen to you and help you clarify your own thinking. It might take a few sessions to get a good sense of the problem and how to proceed, so it's helpful if you can approach your first meeting with that in mind. If the difficulty in question is one that is outside our area of competence or our limited resources (for instance, an academic problem that could best be helped by tutoring, or a situation that deserves more intensive therapy than we can provide, i.e. more than once per week), we will facilitate a referral to another resource. There are a number of counselors on our staff; if, after some discussion, you think there's an incompatibility between you and your counselor, you may ask to work with someone else.
What should you expect from counseling?
Depending upon the nature of the concern that brought you here, the answer to this question varies greatly. It is not unusual to experience a certain amount of discomfort as a result of self-reflection and questioning. In our work with you, there are some general principles that we follow. We will:
- provide a place for you to talk freely and consider your concerns
- work with you to understand what brought you here and what you hope to accomplish
- treat you with respect and consider requests that you might make
- welcome feedback and criticism in relation to the therapy work
- review the work and address questions that you might have about the therapy process
- subject to availability, respect your request to work with another therapist
- maintain confidentiality
We take the confidentiality of our work here quite seriously. Coming here is your own free and private choice; if it's to be made more public in any way, that too will be up to you. We consider the very fact of your coming here to be your own business. We only consider breaking confidentiality in situations where your own or someone else's life is in danger. Our goal in these situations is to create the potential for safety.
We do not get involved in administrative decisions about students whom we are seeing in counseling except for rare instances that are discussed ahead of time with you. The benefit for you in this policy is that you can trust that what you say will stay here; but by the same token you can't expect us to intervene about course extensions, room changes, or whatever. The deans are the liaisons to the faculty regarding students' personal concerns.
CAPS is functionally separate from the Health Service and the Dean's Office. There is no record anywhere else of your visit here, and our own records are destroyed after a reasonable period of time after graduation.
It is important to us to maintain the highest standards of clinical practice. Toward this end we consult with one another in order to review the work we do with you. These collegial consultations are treated with the same standard of confidentiality that is applied to counseling consultations.