When off-campus therapy is best (How to find a counselor off-campus?)
All currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students at the University of California at Santa Cruz are eligible to utilize on-campus counseling services. Students who are UC Extension students are not eligible for CAPS services.
How To Make An Appointment
The way to make a first time appointment is to call at (831) 459-2628 and you will be assisted by one of the Front Office staff, at which time you will be given an appointment for a brief phone assessment by one of our staff. The CAPS Central Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Information that you communicate to a CAPS therapist is confidential. The fact that you are seeing a CAPS therapist does not appear on any academic records. Your identity is kept confidential from anyone outside our agency. Please note, however, that in a professional counseling agency, confidentiality means that psychologists consult with each other as well as Health Center providers as needed regarding any of their clients. We are also required to keep data on who we see, their year in college, their ethnicity, etc. This statistical information is necessary for our yearly funding. Your right to confidentiality is protected by law. However, there are certain circumstances regarding life-threatening situations in which confidentiality may not be protected. These situations are child abuse, suicide, homicide, and cases involving individuals who are gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves. In such cases the CAPS staff member may be legally required to report to other outside agencies (where appropriate) the minimal necessary information obtained during any CAPS counseling visit. Except in these situations, information communicated to Counseling and Psychological Services cannot be released without a student’s permission. If you would like further information on this subject, your CAPS Staff Member will be glad to provide it for you.
E-mail is not an appropriate medium for contacting CAPS Staff Members for personal counseling. Unfortunately, e-mail is not always confidential and cannot be guaranteed to be an effective or timely means of communication. In order to contact CAPS staff, please call the central office or the individual psychologist's office. You will receive an automatically generated appointment reminder to your email.
One-on-one short-term counseling is available to UCSC undergraduate and graduate students
What is counseling and how can it help?
Counseling is a process by which you can learn to make better decisions, improve your personal skills, develop increased confidence, and gain a better understanding of your needs and the needs of others. Counseling can also help individuals deal with emotional and behavioral problems. It is very important to develop a trusting relationship with your therapist so you can feel comfortable discussing your feelings and issues with them. Outcomes of counseling can include gaining a better understanding of yourself, developing plans to make changes in your behavior, and skill development. It is important for you to be an active participant both during your counseling sessions and outside of counseling so change and growth can occur.
Number of Sessions - CAPS provides brief therapy. How long your therapy lasts depends on discussions with your therapist about your specific concerns. If your concerns require longer-term therapy than we can provide, you will be given referrals to appropriate off campus resources.
Counseling and educational groups are available throughout the academic year and are advertised each quarter. Groups provide opportunities for students to explore personal issues with peers in order to develop awareness, insight, and interpersonal skills. Many students who seek our services have difficulties that involve other people in one way or another, and because of this, we believe group therapy is one of the most effective types of services we offer. Participants in groups can benefit from the mutual support and learning that occurs from interaction with others who have similar concerns or similar experiences.
After your initial phone interview you may be recommended for our of our therapy groups. Most of our groups will include an individual contact first with the group facilitator to ensure that the group will be appropriate to the student’s needs and to prepare the student for the group experience. This contact will give the student an opportunity to decide if the particular group is a good choice for them.
Types of Groups
CAPS offers a variety of specialized groups each quarter. Here are some common groups that we offer:
* Women’s Group
* Eating Awareness Group
* Mind Over Mood
* Graduate Student Women’s Group
* Stress Less - Feel Better
* Understanding Oneself and Others
For information and guidelines relating to groups see Information and Guidelines on Groups.
Couples counseling is available to UCSC undergraduate and graduate students. One member of the couple must be a UCSC student.
Crisis Services / Crisis Response
Daytime Crisis Services are available during our normal business hours, Monday through Friday. Individuals who are severely distressed can call (831) 459-2628 for assistance or come to the Central Office at the Student Health Center or call at (831) 459-2628.
After-hours CAPS Crisis Services are available for psychological crisis assessment, consultation and intervention during evening and weekend hours, Individuals seeking this service can call (831) 459-2628 for assistance.
Transfer of Care Guidelines
Psychiatric services in CAPS include the evaluation of students in need of medication treatment. Often students are already receiving psychiatric medication from doctors with whom they worked with that are not associated with this institution. In this situation, it may be in your best interest to remain under the care of your current medical provider, since you have developed a treatment relationship with this medical provider. If you cannot continue with your provider and you are considering transferring your care to a doctor at UC Santa Cruz, please review the information below. As services may be limited, it is important for you to plan ahead and make appropriate arrangements so you do not interrupt your current treatment.
- CAPS professional staff provides psychiatric assessments and make medication recommendations based on their evaluation and information available. The recommendations may differ from your current doctor.
- As the process of transferring your care may take up to 4 weeks, please obtain a sufficient supply of medication from your current provider and make arrangements for additional refill requests in the event you should run out of medication before transferring your care. Physicians at UC Santa Cruz cannot prescribe medication for you without being seen for an assessment.
- Even though you may not be experiencing difficulties with your current treatment, we need to get to know you and your mental health needs before we can assume responsibility for your care. As a result, you will first need to speak with CAPS counseling staff members by phone and/ or in person before arrangements are make for you to schedule with psychiatry staff. You can assist in this process by having accurate and complete information ready regarding your mental health treatment, including the names of providers, medication and dosage prescribed, as well as information related to past counseling experiences. You can also request that your current prescribing clinician send information related to your treatment to the CAPS office. You can obtain a release of information from your current provider or the CAPS office as your doctor may require certain signed documents before releasing records.
- CAPS Psychiatry serves the entier student populatin, but there are limitations on the availability of services. Some urgent or serious conditions may require treatment not available in our clinic. our screening services were developed to assist with helping students obtain the most appropriate evaluation and treatment, which may include an off campus clinician or facility referral.
- Since there may be limitations on psychiatric services on campus, you may be asked to again transfer your care to a UC Santa Cruz primary care clinician, nurse practitioner or off campus provider once your assessment is completed and your situation is deemed to be stable. If you would like informatin about other potential referral options please discuss theis with the staff member conducting your screening evaluation.
Steps you need to take to get an appointment
I want to refill my medication for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD/ADD).
If you are requesting medications for the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD/ADD) please be aware that there are separate requirements to receive treatment at UC Santa Cruz CAPS. Please review the information on the CAPS website related to this topic at http://www2.ucsc.edu/counsel/services.html .
I want to refill my medication for any problem other than attention deficit disorder.
You can start this proces by calling the CAPS office at (831) 459-2628 during weekdays between the hours of 8am and 5pm. You will first be scheduled for a session by phone or in the office, with a counselor to answer a series of brief screening quesitnos and then will be instructed about what steps to take next.
What if I am running out of medication?
You should call the doctor or other medical provider who is currently prescribing medication for you to obtain additional prescriptions. If this is not possible and after going through the step noted directly above, you will run out of medication before you are schedule with a psychiatric staff meember at CAPS, please inform the CAPS staff member you are working with.
What if I am currently experiencing an emergency?
If you believe you are experiencing a current emergency, please call the CAPS office at (831) 459-2628. Our staff will assist you with taking the next steps. If you are experiencing a life threatening condition, please call 911. The UCSC Student Health Center does offer urgent care on a same day basis and you may walk in or call 459-2500 for a same day appointment. For after-hours emergencies, see the UCSC SHC home page AFTER HOURS link for location and hours for urgent care and emergency department options off campus. The AFTER HOURS handout is also located in a box at the entrance of the urgent care clinic.