You are probably interested in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) because you have some questions or concerns related to yourself or to important relationships in your life. This may be your first experience with counseling or psychotherapy (these terms are often used interchangeably). If this is the case, you may well have feelings of anxiety and/or confusion about the process of counseling or the services we provide. A few explanatory comments and guidelines may be helpful.
SERVICES AND PROVIDERS
Our services are available to all currently enrolled Edinboro University of Pennsylvania students without cost. We provide assistance to resolve personal, social, family, or academic concerns that may be interfering with your ability to get the most out of life as a university student. Your participation is on a voluntary basis, but it is limited to a set number of sessions, ordinarily ten (10) per academic year. Short-term counseling by a psychologist or mental health professional is provided based on availability. Occasionally services may be provided by a psychology trainee under the supervision of a psychologist, and you will be so advised. References to a psychologist in this document also apply to any other mental health service providers.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Our hours are from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, during each semester, except when the university is officially closed. Summer hours may vary. Appointments can be made in person or by telephone. Additional times for appointments can be requested.
During your initial appointment (called an intake interview), the psychologist will ask questions and listen in an effort to understand the specific concerns that have brought you here. This provides a general sense of your background and other areas of your life so that those concerns may be understood in a fuller context. The intake process usually takes only one or two meetings, although it could take several. Once an initial understanding has been reached by you and your psychologist, a recommendation will be made to you regarding how best to proceed in order to help you with your concerns. This may be individual or group counseling here at CAPS. We can also assist you to get connected with other sources of help on campus or in the community if the difficulty in question is one that is outside our competence or our resources (for instance, an academic problem that could best be helped by tutoring or career counseling, or a situation that deserves more intensive or long-term therapy than we can provide). You may contact other agencies directly at any time.
LENGTH OF SESSIONS
In the counseling process, it is better in the long run if we listen and help you clarify your own thinking, rather than give advice or directions. Although ordinarily we work with people individually or in counseling groups, we are glad to consider whatever context makes sense for a particular situation, such as meeting with roommates or with other persons. Counseling sessions are usually 50-minutes long and scheduled at regular intervals; we have found that a once-a-week schedule of sessions is ordinarily most practical and helpful. Some students come for only one or two counseling sessions, while others come for more. There are contingencies for emergencies.
You and your time are important. Expect your psychologist to keep appointments and, when necessary, to reschedule well in advance, give you complete attention during sessions, and strive to provide the most effective services possible.
A feeling of trust and safety is critical for persons to grow and learn about themselves. Therefore, the confidentiality of our work here is taken quite seriously. No one outside the center will be given any personally identifiable information about you without your written permission. We consider the very fact of your coming here to be your own business. We are, for instance, willing to see or talk to parents also, but we would only talk to them if you wanted it so. 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 the student. There is no record anywhere else of your visit here; your file is not part of your educational record and no one outside of CAPS has access to it at any time. Our own records are destroyed after a reasonable period of time. There are exceptions to confidentiality mandated by law; details of CAPS' policies are provided on an Informed Consent to Services Statement which you will be asked to read and sign. Professional organizations generally guide our practices; these include the American Psychological Association.
CONCERNS AFTER INITIAL COUNSELING SESSION
Should you at any time have a concern about your experience, consult with your psychologist.
Thank you for your interest in this welcome message. Feel free to contact CAPS for more information.