Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and what are the hours I can be seen?
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is located in Building 27 next to Student Health Services at the UCF Main Campus. Visit the Contact Us page for the latest hours of operation and contact information.
What services are available at CAPS?
CAPS supports the academic, personal, and interpersonal development of UCF students by providing brief individual and group counseling, career exploration, couples counseling, and crisis counseling. We also offer outreach and presentation services to the campus community, psychiatric referral for medication evaluations, and consultation services for faculty, staff, students, and parents.
Who is eligible for services and how much does it cost?
Counseling Services are free to all currently enrolled UCF students.
With what types of concerns do the counselors help students?
Students come to counseling with a wide range of concerns. Many students have issues related to their normal development, such as identity or relationship issues. Others are dealing with more specific concerns such as depression, anxiety, stress, childhood or adult trauma, loss, substance abuse, or eating and body image concerns. Some students are not sure what the problem might be – they just know they are having a hard time studying, concentrating, eating, sleeping, adjusting, or getting along in general. A counselor can help a student sort out what’s wrong and suggest ways for them to get back on track.
Who provides the counseling services and what are their qualifications?
CAPS is composed of a professional staff of licensed or license-eligible psychologists and mental health counselors. CAPS also serves as a training site for graduate students in counseling or psychology programs. Graduate trainees are under close supervision by licensed professional staff member.
How do I make an appointment for counseling?
Making an appointment at CAPS is simple. If you are visiting CAPS for the first time, you will be scheduled to meet with a counselor for an initial assessment. Students may call CAPS to schedule this appointment in advance. Because many students use our services, there may be a waiting period (usually from a few days to 2 weeks) before the first appointment can be scheduled. However, a limited number of same day appointments are available. Ongoing appointments are available between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. If you are in crisis, please inform the receptionist and we will make every attempt to respond to you as soon as possible.
How long and how often are the counseling sessions?
Counseling sessions are normally scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending upon the nature of the concern. Sessions are typically 45-50 minutes long.
Who will know what I talk about in my counseling sessions?
NO ONE, without your written consent. Everything you say in counseling is kept confidential, unless your counselor is required by law to break confidentiality to protect you or someone else from harm. If you have questions about confidentiality or its limits, your counselor will answer them.
Why talk to a stranger about my personal business?
The fact that a counselor is not a friend or family member actually makes it easier for them to help you. Unlike friends or family members whose advice is often colored by biases and preconceptions, counselors work to be non-judgmental and objective helpers.
But won’t it be difficult, awkward, or embarrassing?
This may be true, especially in the beginning. You may feel anxious or awkward, perhaps even a bit self-conscious. Counselors understand that it is normal to feel uncomfortable and cautious during the first meeting and they try to help by promoting an accepting environment in which you will feel more at ease. As you gradually begin to trust your counselor you’ll probably find that it becomes easier to be relaxed and open.
What if I don’t feel comfortable with my counselor?
If you don’t feel a connection with the counselor you’ve been assigned you may request a different counselor. You may also request to speak with a male or female counselor depending upon your preference.
Don’t only “crazy” people go to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)?
This is far from the truth! For the most part, students who use our services are interested in their personal growth or resolving a particular concern. It is common and perhaps expected for students to encounter some struggles, pressures, and stress at times while in college. The fact that so many students seek our services reflects just how common these issues are.
If I begin counseling, how should I try to gain the most from it?
Once this decision pursue counseling has been made the mechanics for change have been set in motion. In terms of benefiting from counseling we encourage students to:
- Regularly attend your sessions and take an active part in them
- Be prepared for each session and be ready to focus on a problem or issue
- Work collaboratively with your counselor and be willing to explore new behaviors both within and outside the sessions.
- Be open and honest with your counselor about how the sessions are going for you, particularly if you don’t think you’re being helped
What if I am feeling suicidal?
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call CAPS or walk in. Be sure to let the receptionist know that you are experiencing a crisis. In the evening or on weekends, contact Lifeline of Central Florida at 407.425.2624, the UCF Police Department at 407.823-5555, or simply dial 911. Refer to Crisis Information for additional emergency resources and phone numbers.
Can CAPS staff prescribe medication?
No. Only psychiatrists or medical doctors can prescribe medication. The CAPS staff will often refer students to the UCF Student Health Services for assessment when it appears they might benefit from medication to supplement their counseling or when students are interested in obtaining additional information regarding medication options.
What if a parent or a faculty/staff member is concerned about a student?
CAPS staff is available during working hours to consult about a concern that a third party might have about a student. Strategies for helping the student and, if appropriate, getting the student in to see a counselor can be discussed.
Can a parent or faculty member be informed of a student’s attendance or progress in counseling?
By law, and according to ethical principles, information about counseling is strictly confidential except in extenuating circumstances.
CAPS staff have a legal obligation to disclose client information, even without consent, in the following situations:
- When a student is under the age of 18 and parental permission is required
- When doing so is necessary to protect you or someone else from imminent physical and life-threatening harm,
- When a client lacks the capacity to care for himself/herself,
- When the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child, elder adult, or dependent adult is suspected, or
- When release is otherwise required by law (e.g., court order, reporting of medical errors, Patriot Act).
Otherwise, no information can be released, including whether or not a student is attending counseling, without written consent from the student. If it seems that there would be some therapeutic benefit to release information to a third party, the counselor and student will discuss this issue and come to a mutual understanding about the nature of such a release.
How does the counseling relationship normally end?
Once you feel that the issues that brought you to counseling are no longer a major concern you and your counselor will talk about how and when to end counseling. Ideally, the personal awareness you’ve gained and the efforts that you’ve made in establishing a trusting relationship with your counselor should provide an effective model for self-help long after counseling has ended.
What if I have an alcohol or drug concern?
The Alcohol and Other Drug Programming Office offers support, counseling, assessment, and evaluation and referral services to UCF students who have issues around alcohol and other drug use, misuse, abuse, or addiction. Please call 407.823.0879 for more information or to make an appointment with a licensed certified counselor. Also, the REACH Peer Education Program provides a wide variety of college health related educational programs. Professional Health Educators, as well as peers, are available to assist students. REACH does the ADAPT class and provides needle free HIV/AIDS testing, pre and post test counseling and education. They can be contacted at 407.823.5457.