Counseling Services at CAPS

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides individual, group, couples, and family psychotherapy to registered undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Services are confidential and FREE of charge to currently enrolled students who have paid their registration fees. During the summer, students who were enrolled the previous Spring quarter and are intending to return in the Fall quarter are eligible for services.
  • To schedule an initial brief telephone assessment (BTA), please call (858) 534-3755. You will be scheduled for a 10 minute phone consult by a mental health counselor who will assist you in finding the best services for you. You may be scheduled for an initial evaluation by a CAPS Psychologist, referred to another campus resource or referred to a specialty counselor using your health insurance. For more information about these phone consultations (BTA), please visit our Appointments page.
  • Consistent with our community psychology model of service delivery, CAPS offices are located at multiple locations across campus. Our Central Office, which also includes our Urgent Walk-In services, is located at Galbraith Hall 190. Our other offices are located at each of the six undergraduate colleges, Student Health Center, and the Women's Center. For more information and maps for our locations, please visit our Locations page.
  • The CAPS clinical staff are generalists and see students for all concerns. For information of each of our clinical staff, please visit our Staff page.
  • CAPS also provides Psychiatric Services. For more detailed information on these services, please visit our Psychiatric Services page.
  • CAPS abides by ethical and legal standards set forth by the American Psychological Association and the California Board of Psychology.
  • Students may request copies of our Information and Consent Form, Notice of Privacy Practices, and Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex (from the California Board of Psychology) from CAPS. They can also be downloaded from our Download Center, within the Counseling Forms tab.

Eligibility & Cost

  • Services are FREE of charge to currently enrolled students who have paid their registration fees. During the summer, students who were enrolled the previous Spring quarter and are intending to return in the Fall quarter are eligible for services.
  • There is, however, a $20.00 late cancellation/no show fee for students who do not appear for their appointment or cancel within the 24 hours preceding the appointment.
  • If you attend your counseling appointment or cancel more than a day in advance there are no charges. See the Appointment page for more details on our no show/late cancellation policy.

Confidentiality

  • In keeping with ethical standards of the mental health profession and the law, all services provided by the staff of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are kept confidential
  • We do, however, consult as needed within the staff of CAPS (and Student Health Service if they are collaborating in your care) about the best way to provide the assistance based on client need.  No information is released to outside parties without the client's prior, written consent.  Neither the fact that you seek counseling nor any information about the counseling sessions will appear in your student academic record unless you direct us to communicate with other staff and faculty at the university. 
  • Psychologists have a legal responsibility to disclose client information without prior consent in certain cases to protect clients and others.
  • These include cases where a client has communicated to the psychologist a serious threat of physical violence to other individuals, or where a psychologist has reasonable cause to believe that the client is dangerous to her- or himself or may be gravely disabled and unable to care for him or herself.
  • Additionally, psychologists are obligated to report any cases of child abuse or elder abuse. Fortunately these situations are infrequent.  Please consult with your psychologist if you have any questions about confidentiality.

Your Privacy and HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of patient information, provide for the electronic and physical security of health and patient medical information, and simplify billing and other electronic transactions by standardizing codes and procedures.  A piece of this law recently took effect and is known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  The HIPAA Privacy Rule creates a minimum federal standard for the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) by health care organizations.  One of the requirements of the Privacy Rule is that we give to you a Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) which describes your rights and protections regarding your health care records (PHI).  This document is included as part of the Intake Forms Packet that you will need to download prior to your initial appointment.

As always, we remain committed to maintaining your confidentiality and the privacy of psychological and medical records and will continue to adhere to psychologist's ethical guidelines, as well as, state and federal law. Please review the Counseling and Psychological Services Information, Consent Form, and the NPP for more specific information.

Limitations of Service

  • Some mental health problems, especially severe illness and those requiring long-term or intensive care beyond that which can be appropriately provided by CAPS will be referred to another source of care as soon as this is known.
  • Also, at any time during counseling if a counselor determines that the client would be better served by a referral outside the agency, that referral will be provided immediately.

CAPS Documentation of Services

The mission of UC San Diego Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is to provide counseling and mental health services to all enrolled university students. We assist students with life challenges and mental health problems. We encourage students to come to CAPS for counseling and when they are having personal crisis.

However, many of our initial appointments are being increasingly taken up by students whose sole interest is in acquiring a written document to support an adjustment to an academic obligation, administrative appeal or exception from a university regulation. The demand for these documents has reduced the availability of appointment for students who are seeking counseling services.

Therefore, CAPS will not provide requested documentation of a personal difficulty at the initial contact or appointment. CAPS Services Documentation Forms may be provided, at the discretion of your psychologist, at follow-up counseling appointments only. An additional reason for this policy is that documentation is of limited accuracy when it is based on only a single interview.

If documentation is provided, it will describe a student’s psychological symptoms, diagnosis and personal difficulties. It will not suggest a specific accommodation such as an adjustment to academic requirements or the need to comply with university regulations. Therefore, documentation will not include specific recommendations such as allowing emotional support animals in university housing or academic accommodations such as extra time on tests. Such accommodations or exceptions to university policy are determined by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) or other relevant university departments.

CAPS encourages students to register at the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) if they believe that they have a mental health condition that warrants accommodations. CAPS will provide documentation to OSD about your current or past mental health condition if counseling or psychiatric services are or were provided. If current or previous services were provided by an off-campus mental health professional, then those providers must supply information to OSD about your condition.

CAPS suggests that if you would like a one-time only adjustment to a specific academic course obligation, you should initially contact the professor/instructor and explain the circumstances that might warrant such an adjustment.

If you are seeking counseling at CAPS but also ultimately want CAPS documentation, please inform your CAPS counselor at the beginning of your initial meeting, so that relevant information can be collected that will be needed to complete the documentation.

If you would like to download a copy of this policy, click here.