Counseling & Psychological Services

(805) 893-4411 - M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm

Individual Counseling

Why should I try counseling?
Individual, short-term counseling can help you:
 - Clarify concerns
 - Assess the effectiveness of previously attempted solutions
 - Generate new coping strategies

What sorts of concerns are appropriate for CAPS?
You can come into CAPS to talk about many issues, including:
- Depression
- Anxiety and extreme stress
- Suicidal feelings
- Anger
- Trauma, including unwanted sexual contact

What if I’m nervous about talking to someone I don’t know?

Many students experience some amount of anxiety or nervousness about first meeting with a psychologist. You may be wondering what will happen, how you will react, what your therapist will be like, and whether or not the experience will be truly helpful. Don’t let that stop you from talking to a psychologist! Most students report that these feelings pass with time, and that they benefit a great deal from their counseling experience. We encourage you to discuss any worries you may have about counseling with your psychologist.

How do I make a counseling appointment?
When you are ready to make an appointment at CAPS, please call 805.893.4411 or come to our main office and request to schedule an intake appointment. For more information, please see how to Make An Appointment.

What is an “intake” appointment like?
Your first counseling appointment will center around you and the psychologist working together to clarify your concerns and to discuss which services are most appropriate for you. 

During the first meeting, the intake psychologist might gather information about:
 - Areas of concern
 - Your intellectual and emotional styles
 - Your family history 
 - Your personal relationship history

This information will help determine which counseling strategies might be most helpful. With this information in mind, you and the intake psychologist can work together to come up with your initial goals for counseling. 

What do I do after the “intake” appointment? Can I still come to CAPS for counseling?
During your intake appointment, if it is decided that you would do well with short-term counseling, you can continue to meet with a CAPS psychologist. If it is determined that more intensive or extensive treatment is required, a referral for additional services outside of CAPS is provided. Should this be the case for you, the intake psychologist will work closely with you to identify the most appropriate referrals given your circumstances, personal resources, and individual needs. If you would like to request a specific therapist (or you have specific requests regarding gender, culture, etc), please let someone know - either during your first appointment or at any time by requesting aChange of Therapist form at the front desk. 

No matter what you decide to do about individual counseling, students are also encouraged to consider participating in group therapy, support groups, and/or seek other community resources.  Please speak with your intake psychologist about other counseling opportunities. 

What happens during a counseling session?
Each counseling experience is unique, just as each individual is unique!

The first couple of meetings are usually spent clarifying the problem and examining what solutions may have already been attempted. During this time your psychologist may gather information about:
 - Your past
 - Your personal style and relationship patterns
 - Your intellectual and emotional functioning

This information helps the psychologist determine which counseling strategies might be most helpful for you. Once given the chance to clarify your issues, you and the psychologist will be better able to formulate realistic, achievable counseling goals. These counseling goals might include: 
 - Learning new problem-solving or coping skills
 - Increasing self-understanding
 - Exploring life patterns
 - Gaining a better sense of how you are influenced by relationships and your surroundings

Working together, you and your psychologist can identify and implement the most effective solutions based on your unique circumstances.

It is important to address any concerns you have about your working relationship with your psychologist, including any expectations or concerns you have about the counseling process. You have a right to be informed, and the psychologist has a responsibility to address your concerns. 

I want to see changes in my life. How can I make counseling work for me?

Define your goals
Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. Write down a list of events, issues, and/or feelings that might be contributing to your distress. Take time before each session to consider your expectations for that session. As counseling progresses, you might start to see some long-term goals emerge!

Be aware of the relationship between you and your psychologist
A good working relationship is crucial to successful counseling, so you will want to experience a level of trust and understanding with your psychologist. However, be aware that sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing, and that you may not feel completely comfortable at all times with your psychologist. This is completely normal! Please feel free to discuss these feelings openly so you and your psychologist can make adjustments to better meet your needs for encouragement and support.

Be an active participant
This is your counseling process, so be as active as you wish in deciding how to use the time. Be honest with the psychologist and give her or him feedback about how you see the sessions progressing.

Recognize and express feelings
The recognition, acceptance, and expression of feelings are all important to recognize when working towards personal growth and change.  However, they can be hard to deal with! Your psychologist will work with you to integrate your thoughts and emotions in your life in a balanced way.

Be patient with yourself
Growth takes time, effort, and patience. All of your coping skills, behavior patterns and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time. Changing what has become such an integral part of yourself is very difficult! By having patience with yourself, you set the foundation for development and change.

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