Your First Appointment
It isn’t always easy to ask for help or to tell someone your story. We hope to make your first contact with CAPS as welcoming and collaborative as possible, and we invite your questions about our policies and services.
CAPS counselors are licensed or license-eligible mental health clinicians, social workers, or psychologists. They are skilled mental health and student affairs professionals who have expertise and interest in working with college students and the demands of an academic environment.
Please contact us to schedule an appointment or to ask about our services.
Making your first appointment
- All services at CAPS are by appointment. Call 274-3136 or drop by our office on the lower level of the Hammond Health Center Building to schedule an appointment.
- When you schedule, you are not required to describe specifics of your concerns.
- If you are in a crisis or emergency where your safety or that of another person is at risk, then you may need to explain the urgency of your situation to the front desk staff who will give you information about CAPS’ Same Day Crisis Services (SDCS). If this service is right for you, then you will have an appointment for the same day that you call or come in.
What to expect in your first appointment
- Your first appointment will take about 90 minutes. This gives you time to complete our intake forms so that a clinician can review your information and be able to meet with you for about 45 minutes.
- If you are 15 minutes late to this appointment without making prior arrangements, you may be asked to reschedule in the next available opening.
- Check in with the front desk staff who will instruct you on completing your forms on a netbook.
- Our consent form (Scope of Practice and Policies) explains how we conduct business and most important, describes our policies about confidentiality. Confidentiality is essential for your honest sharing of personal information, and we make every effort to keep your personal information and records confidential and secure. Please ask if you have questions about confidentiality or other CAPS policies.
- You will be asked to sign a statement of consent before receiving services, and we want you to be informed about our services, your responsibilities as a client, and about relevant laws and ethical guidelines for your protection.
- When your paperwork is complete, you will have a few minutes before meeting your counselor. You may think about what you want to say to your counselor, read, listen to music, or use the chair massage to relax while you wait.
Meeting with your counselor
- Understanding your history and reasons for seeking counseling are important components of identifying the best resources to meet your needs. If you have had prior counseling or psychiatric experiences, we’ll want to know about that. We may ask for your permission for us to receive or share information with other providers. If you are taking prescribed medications, please know the names and dosages of those medications.
- We appreciate having the opportunity to help in times of difficulty or in reaching your personal and academic goals. Successful counseling depends on an environment of trust, your active participation, and a sense of good fit between you and your counselor.
- The first appointment is meant to establish a safe and welcoming environment and a collaborative relationship to help meet your needs. By the end of the first appointment, you should have an idea about the next steps you need to take.
Same Day Crisis Services (SDCS)
- Same Day Crisis Services are designed to assess the urgency of a situation and make recommendations to address that situation.
- SDCS sessions are not psychotherapy sessions, and any need for continued counseling will be scheduled for future appointments.
- The demand for Same Day Crisis Services varies, and so the wait for a counselor and the time you can meet with a counselor that day may increase or shorten as a result.
- If your first appointment is for Same Day Crisis Services, then you will meet with a counselor in the order you came into our Center. These appointments are brief, typically 30 minutes, and are designed for assessment of crisis, problem-solving and recommendations.