What to Expect


You may be hesitant to schedule an appointment at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) because you don't know what to expect. Rest assured - other students have had positive, beneficial experiences.

Following counseling, we ask students to complete a brief survey about their CAPS experience. Here's what some had to say.

"I found everything to be very good and professional. I would highly recommend this service to any other student who needs clarity in thinking or help with any problems."

"Everything was very professional, and I was pleased."

"I wish I could do long-term therapy with my counselor; she was just excellent!"

"I think the program is great!"

"I really enjoyed the amount of input and output that I received."

"I felt the services were excellent and adapted well to what I needed."

"The program is really good, and the staff was wonderful!"


Perhaps you have some questions or concerns about yourself or the important relationships in your life. No matter what your problem, be it emotional, mental or psychological, we encourage you to contact us for assistance. If it's your first counseling session, you may have feelings of anxiety about the counseling process.

Please read the information below to familiarize yourself with CAPS and our services. We're dedicated to serving you.

Our services are available without cost to all currently enrolled PennWest Edinboro students who have paid the Health Center fee. 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 an PennWest Edinboro student. Your participation is on a voluntary basis, and it's limited to a set number of sessions, up to 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 all mental health service providers at CAPS.

Our hours are from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Friday with extended evening hours as posted during each semester, except when classes do not meet or the University is officially closed. Students may request additional times for appointments. Summer hours vary. Appointments can be made in person or by phone.

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 help you connect with other sources of help on campus or in the community if the difficulty 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.

In the counseling process, it's 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're 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've 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 you to grow and learn about yourself. 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 don't 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's 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 unless you give written authorization to release the information. Our own records are destroyed after a reasonable period of time. Some exceptions to confidentiality are 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 guide our practices; these include the American Psychological Association.

Should you at any time have a concern about your experience, consult with your psychologist.

Contact Us

Ghering Health and Wellness Center
McNerney Hall, 1st Floor
300 Scotland Road
Edinboro, PA 16444

Counseling and Psychological Services
Email: healthcenter-edn@pennwest.edu
Phone: 814-732-2252
Fax: 814-732-2666