FAQs

updated 4/10/15

What types of services are offered?

CAPS offers short-term individual, group and relationship counseling, consultation for faculty, staff, parents, and students, and educational programs to the campus community. Comprehensive services are available during the academic year (fall and spring semesters), and limited services are available during summer sessions. 

What is meant by "short-term" counseling?

Any enrolled student can make an appointment for an initial visit with a counselor to assess clinical needs and recommendations and to identify appropriate resources. After the initial visit, counseling sessions at CAPS will be scheduled depending on individual need and available resources. Sessions are time-limited and solution-focused.  Students who want or need more frequent or longer-term contact with a counselor are referred to off-campus resources.

What types of problems are commonly encountered by the counselors?

Students seek counseling for a wide range of concerns. Many have issues related to typical development, such as identity or relationship issues. Others are dealing with more specific psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, bereavement, substance abuse, or eating and body image issues. Some students are not sure what the problem might be—they just know they are having a hard time studying, eating, sleeping, or otherwise functioning. A counselor can help sort out what’s wrong in order to help get students back on track. 

How long does it take for a student to get an initial appointment?

Initial appointments may be scheduled as soon as the next day, although availability of these appointments depends on the student’s schedule and the demand for appointments. We do our best to schedule initial appointments within 5-7 business days. We recommend scheduled appointments for non-crisis matters. These appointments are longer (approx. 45 minutes), more in-depth, and preserve crisis hours for students with urgent concerns. The first appointment at CAPS is focused on students’ presenting concerns and a comprehensive mental health assessment. CAPS goals for this appointment are to provide professional support and recommendations for next steps.

What if a student would like longer-term or weekly counseling?

Not all types of counseling problems are best dealt with in CAPS. For example, CAPS does not provide on-going weekly counseling, treatment for severe psychological disorders, or court-mandated treatment. Weekly therapy is best provided by off-campus resources, and CAPS helps students to find off-campus counseling in these cases. We work with local providers to find ones that have openings and that work with the student’s insurance. There are several resources in the community that lower fees for students who cannot afford counseling or that see students regardless of ability to pay. Students are also informed about the best ways to get transportation to off-campus appointments, including use of the Medi-Car Service available through the Health Center.

What if I want to come back for another CAPS appointment after my first evaluation at CAPS?

Students who want ongoing counseling are given counseling options so that they can make an informed choice between an off-campus referral and more counseling at CAPS. For those who wish to keep meeting with CAPS counselors, the scheduling of that meeting varies based on the student’s availability and clinical demand. All students who want follow-up counseling are either given a scheduled appointment or informed if there is a wait for follow-up appointments. Students are also informed about the availability of crisis services if their situation becomes urgent.

Can your staff prescribe medication if it might be helpful?  

No. Medication can only be prescribed by psychiatrists and other medical personnel. CAPS staff refers students to local psychiatrists and/or medical professionals in the Hammond Health Center for evaluation for medication, prescriptions, and follow-up as needed. 

What if there is a mental health crisis?

If there’s a crisis, any student with urgent needs can be seen the same day for Same Day Crisis Services (SDCS). SDCS are not counseling sessions, instead these brief (20 minute) appointments are designed for assessment of crisis, problem-solving, and recommendations. Any need for continued counseling can be scheduled for future appointments. SDCS is offered from 2:30 to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Call CAPS for more information 274-3136. On weekends and after 5 PM, The Office of Public Safety is available to address life-threatening situations 24 hours a day.

What if a parent, another student, or a faculty/staff member is concerned about a student?

Counselors are available during business hours to consult about the well-being of an Ithaca College student. Strategies for helping the student and, if appropriate, getting the student in to see a counselor can be discussed. CAPS staff members do not contact students to inquire about their mental health or ask them to come in for an appointment. It is our belief that counseling is most effective when it is voluntary, and many students often contact us at the urging of family, friends and advisors. 

If you are concerned about the immediate safety of a student, contact the Office of Public Safety (607-274-3333).

Can a third party, such as a parent, be kept informed of a student's progress in counseling? 

By law, and according to ethical principles, information about counseling is confidential except in rare circumstances. No information can be released, including whether or not a person is attending counseling, without the informed written consent of the client. If it seems that there would be a therapeutic benefit to release information to a third party, a counselor will discuss this with the client and come to a mutual understanding about the nature of such a release.

What is the cost of your service? 

Services are FREE. 

How does a student make arrangements to see a counselor?  

Appointments are required (except for emergencies) and can be made in person at CAPS (located on the ground floor of the Hammond Health Center) or by calling 607-274-3136. Business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.