Crisis Information

Emergencies: 911

CAPS (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm):
(814) 863-0395

Penn State Crisis Line (24/7):
(877) 229-6400

Crisis Text Line (24/7):
txt "LIONS" to 741741

CAPS Locations

- Student Health Center (SHC)
- Bank of America (BoA)
- Allenway Building (Downtown)
View locations on the map

Commonwealth Campus Services

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News & Events

collage of students involved in individual and group counselling sessions

Considerations in Setting up Private Psychotherapy and Psychiatric Care

The idea of contacting a therapist or psychiatric provider in private practice can feel intimidating, especially if you're already feeling overwhelmed by other things in your life. The following are some guidelines that will aid you in this process.

What kinds of services do I need?

Private Psychotherapy -This is talk therapy, occurring about once a week, lasting about 45-50 minutes per session. This can be with a Psychologist, Counselor, Therapist, or Social Worker.

Private Psychiatric Services - This is a Doctor, a Physician's Assistant, or a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner who you may consult to see if medication may be helpful for your symptoms. If you are receiving psychiatric services, you should generally be in therapy as well.

What about insurance?

Do you have insurance? Then take these steps:

  1. There will be an 800 number on the back of your insurance card to call for „Mental Health Benefits. They will ask you for your ID # off the front of the card.
  2. Ask them what your "Outpatient Mental Health Benefits" are. They should be able to tell you if you will owe a deductible or co-payment for visits, and how many visits you will be allowed per year.
  3. Then ask for a listing of names of therapists and/or psychiatric services in the zip code of 16801 or your local zip code. Make sure to get more than 1 or 2 names, as you may need to call several different people. They may also give you a website on which you can look up this information.
  4. If you don't have insurance, then a Counselor or Case Manager at CAPS can help you figure out some other options.

How do I find the right therapist or psychiatrist for me?

You will need to begin by calling the list of people your insurance company provided you. Please keep in mind that space is limited with counselors and psychiatric providers and call several to see who has openings. You'll often have to leave a confidential voice mail. Be sure to call from a quiet place, and repeat your name and phone number clearly and slowly.

  1. When you speak with the provider, here are some questions to ask:
  2. Are you currently accepting any new clients?
  3. How soon would an appointment be available?
  4. Do you still take ______________ insurance for payment?
  5. What are your policies about payment? Do I need to pay the co-payment at the first visit?
  6. Where is your office located?
  7. Is there anything else I should be aware of?

CAPS also has a Community Provider Database where you can search on your own.

After you have your first appointment, recognize that it may take a couple times to feel
comfortable with your new therapist and/or psychiatrist. If it doesn't feel that you are
'clicking' with that person, don't be afraid to tell them. They may be able to adapt to
your needs or be able to suggest someone else that would personally fit you better.

Additional things to think about:

501 Student Health Center | 814.863.0395 | Contact Counseling & Psychological Services