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To Our Student-Athletes:

We at CAPS respect the tremendous strength, energy, and determination you bring to the table to balance your athletic, student, and general life responsibilities. We know that this balance comes with a heavy lift and that sometimes it can be a lot to hold on your own. At CAPS we are committed to providing a safe and confidential space to enhance your mental wellness as a person, and sharpen your mental game on the playing field. WE ARE always here for you.

What can I work on at CAPS?

Student-athletes face a variety of stressors and concerns that may impact their general mental wellness, their mental game with their sport, or both. Our goal is to help you thrive during your time as a Nittany Lion. Here are some examples of what we can help you manage and overcome: 

  • Sport-related stress
  • Loss of love and passion for your sport
  • Mental blocks
  • Problematic roommate situations
  • Romantic relationship difficulties
  • Grief
  • Family troubles
  • Team dynamic difficulties
  • Adjusting to college life
  • Injury stress
  • Homesickness
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Body image and eating concerns
  • Self-esteem
  • Sadness or depression
  • Panic
  • Perfectionism
  • Trauma
  • ...and much more

In therapy you will face the problems you experience head-on, which takes energy, effort, and strength. Treatment is tailored to best meet your needs, so that your hard work and investment in your mental wellness pays off. CAPS also partners with many on- and off-campus resources and can help you connect to them as needed. 

Normalizing Mental Health Services

If you had to guess, how many hours do you think you put in for workouts and practice last year? Probably quite a few! We know how much our student-athletes care about their physical wellness, and our goal is to help you incorporate your mental health into the equation. Just like you train to reach your physical goals, you can think about working on your mental health in the same way. CAPS services can help you get to where you want to be mentally.

Who We Are

CAPS staff specialize in a wide array of mental health needs and population-specific concerns, including, sport psychology, eating disorders, substance use, sleep, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and more to meet the diverse needs of all Penn State students. Dr. Nicole DeFerrari is CAPS’ clinical sport psychologist, and she works with student-athletes individually while also providing team intervention as needed. Because of CAPS’ comprehensive landscape, Dr. DeFerrari provides consultation and sport psychology training to all CAPS staff, so that all clinicians are able to provide competent care to our student-athletes.

Coach and Athletics Staff Consultations

CAPS frequently partners with Athletics personnel for consultation and problem solving. Often being the first responders for your athletes, your input and perspective is paramount for successful collaboration.

Dr. DeFerrari provides Team or Student-Athlete Group Workshops. Topics below can be tailored to the needs of your team or group, or if there is something you have an idea about not listed below, connect with Dr. DeFerrari to discuss further.

  • Team Open Dialogues – great for team mental temperature checks or directly addressing team concerns with an expert
  • Emotion Regulation Skills
  • Control Stress to Stress Best – Optimizing Stress to Enhance Your Performance
  • Boundary Setting
  • Self-Talk Skills
  • Build Your Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF)
  • Bring It In – Team Cohesion and Dynamics
  • Learning to Ask for Help
  • Leadership Development – current and future team captains and/or team leadership counsels
  • Intersectionality in Sport – Race, Gender, and LGBTQIA+ support
  • Mental Impact of Injury
  • Body Image as an Athlete
  • Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
  • Helping a Teammate Who’s Having a Hard Time
  • How Substances Can Impact Performance
  • Suicide Awareness and Prevention
  • Learning Signs of Common Mental Health Concerns (depression, social anxiety, panic)
  • Helping Someone in Panic
  • Purpose-Based Performance Skills
Explore in this Section
Student-Athletes
Penn State Student Affairs
Counseling & Psychological Services
Main Location

501 Student Health Center
University Park, PA 16802

Additional Locations

3rd Floor Bank of America Career Services Building
University Park, PA 16802

Allenway Building (Downtown)
315 S Allen Street
State College, PA 16801