Our goal is to address the psychological needs and personal concerns of students that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, and emotional wellbeing.
To accomplish this, Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides a variety of services that we invite you to learn more about.
How do I get started with counseling?
Most services begin with a phone screening appointment with a staff clinician to assess the nature and urgency of your problem so that we can coordinate the most appropriate next step to assist you. Please call 814-863-0395 to schedule a phone screening appointment.
The phone screening appointment begins with the clinician gathering information about you, including your current location, so we can best determine next steps. The clinician will also complete a risk assessment. Your needs may be met by problem solving and coming to a resolution on this phone call. The clinician may also recommend other options or next steps, and will discuss these with you at the end of the call.
These options could include tele-counseling at CAPS and/or referral to other resources on campus or in the community that can help address your concerns. Sometimes there are legal limitations for providing services across state lines. In this case, the clinician will provide you with resources/referrals in your state.
CAPS is a short-term counseling center. If you need or are interested in a longer-term therapy relationship, are not eligible for tele-counseling at CAPS (see next section), or tele-counseling is not recommended, we can help you to access our web-based community provider locator and advise you about setting up services in the community.
If short-term tele-counseling is recommended, additional information will be gathered (such as your availability). After being assigned to a clinician, you will be emailed with information about tele-counseling services and expectations, as well as paperwork to complete before your appointment. After reviewing this information, you will be sent a message with a link to your tele-counseling appointment.
Am I eligible for Tele-counseling Services at CAPS?
Individuals eligible for tele-counseling at CAPS must:
- Be enrolled full-time at Penn State University, University Park (exceptions for summer sessions may apply)
- Be located in Pennsylvania or a state that permits out-of-state mental health providers to practice
- Have a stable internet connection
- Have access to a webcam
- Have a private location for attending scheduled appointments with no distractions. CAPS can work with you to identify a private space if you are not able to access one.
Not eligible? CAPS can still help you navigate to services that can meet your needs! Call us at (814) 863-0395.
What should I expect at the first appointment?
Safety is our #1 priority. At the beginning of all CAPS tele-counseling appointments your clinician will confirm your current location. During the first video appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your concerns in more detail. Some students find that the first appointment meets their needs and require no further services. The counselor may also recommend continued individual tele-counseling and/or additional resources, such as other CAPS services or other-campus offices that offer specialized support.
NOTE: Students should not pursue services at CAPS for the sole purpose of obtaining a letter of support. CAPS does not provide letters at the first appointment and cannot provide documentation regarding a student's mental health without a history of services at CAPS during the specified time period. If necessary, students are encouraged to seek letters of support from individuals directly involved in their care such as past or present psychological/psychiatric providers, medical doctors, or family members.