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Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started FAQs

How do I contact CAPS?

Due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19 all CAPS services are currently virtual (telephone or video). If you are interested in CAPS services, please call us at 765-494-6995.

During business hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Purdue University Counseling and Psychological Services
601 Stadium Mall Drive, Room 224
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2052

After hours and on weekends:

  • Call CAPS and press 1 to speak with an off-site clinician.

For emergencies:

  • Call 911 and ask to speak with a CIT officer.
Who will I be speaking with?

The person answering the phone will ask you if this is an emergency. If it is an emergency, you will receive further instructions. All other callers will be invited to schedule a 20-minute phone consultation with a CAPS clinician. Based upon your availability, this phone appointment should occur within three days.

What happens when I call CAPS?

A CAPS’ licensed clinician will call you during your pre-scheduled appointment time. All calls are confidential and private. We recommend you find a quiet and private space to receive your 20-minute phone call from CAPS. Your clinician will ask questions and gather information about your primary concern.

What happens after my scheduled phone consultation?

There can be multiple outcomes to the call, including suggestions for a workshop, group therapy, an off-campus referral, short-term individual therapy or other campus or community resources.

What services are available through CAPS?

CAPS services include educational workshops, group treatment, short-term individual therapy, substance use evaluations, care management, specialist consultation, case management, emergency response and psychiatric consultation.

What other campus resources are available?

There are numerous resources on campus available to help you through areas such as the Office of the Dean of Students, Steps to Leaps, Recreation & Wellness, the Veterans Success Center, Residential Life, cultural centers and peer support groups. CAPS can help you find an organization or program that can help you with the problem you are experiencing.

Will my insurance cover outside treatment?

In the event CAPS refers you to an outside entity, CAPS will work directly with you to identify and recommend providers while taking into account the student’s insurance, whether the insurance is privately held or purchased through the University.

Can I meet with a clinician in person?

If the result of your phone consultation is a recommendation for short-term individual therapy, group therapy, workshops or assessments at CAPS, you will be working with a clinician in some capacity. As a result of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, CAPS is currently offering virtual services (e.g., telephone or video). 

What if I need medication?

For those seeking medication or medication consultation, CAPS asks that you go through the phone consultation process. If appropriate, your clinician will refer you to the psychiatric service that is the best fit for you.  

What if I’m seeking a specific type of treatment?

You do have the option to request a specific type of treatment. CAPS will work with you to coordinate the treatment you desire, be it at CAPS or elsewhere.  

What if I’m experiencing an emergency?

Clinicians are available for mental health emergencies. CAPS Clinicians are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m and can be reached by calling (765)-494-6995. Clinicians are also available by calling (765)-494-6995 and pressing 1 outside of normal business hours. Students who are experiencing an immediate mental health crisis can also call 911 and ask to speak to a CIT officer.

Frequently Asked Questions About CAPS

Who is eligible for services at CAPS?
All enrolled, degree seeking, Purdue students are eligible for psychological services. Sometimes other persons important in your life, such a partner, spouse, or friend may be involved in the therapy process as well and does not have to be a Purdue student. However, spouses and partners who are not Purdue students can only participate in therapy as part of a therapy dyad with an enrolled Purdue student.
Will the services at CAPS cost me anything?
Most services at CAPS are provided to students at no charge. For more specific information about fees, please check:
If I go to CAPS for help, does it mean there is something wrong with me?
No. Students who use CAPS are interested in their personal growth and adjustment in the world around them. Students face normal developmental concerns and academic pressures while at Purdue and, at times, may feel anxious, angry, lonely, or depressed. CAPS staff members are trained professionals who help students explore alternative coping strategies and ways of dealing with themselves and the world.
Why do people consider therapy?
Therapy is a partnership between an individual and a professional who is licensed and/or trained to help people understand their feelings and assist them with changing their behavior.

People often consider therapy under the following circumstances:
  • They feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of sadness and helplessness in their futures.
  • Their emotional difficulties make it hard for them to function day to day. For example, they are unable to concentrate on assignments and their class performance suffers as a result.
  • Their actions are harmful to themselves or others.
  • They are troubled by emotional difficulties facing family members or close friends.
  • They just need someone with whom to talk.
What does research show about the effectiveness of therapy?
According to a research summary from the Stanford University School of Medicine, therapy effectively decreased peoples' depression and anxiety related symptoms--such as pain, fatigue, and nausea. Therapy has also been found to increase survival time after heart surgery, for people with cancer, and it can have positive effects on the body's immune system. Research increasingly supports the idea that emotional and physical health are closely linked and that therapy can improve a person's overall health status.

There is convincing evidence that most people who have at least several sessions of therapy are better off than untreated individuals who are having emotional difficulties.
If I begin therapy, how do I gain the most from it?

There are many approaches to therapy and various formats in which it may occur--including individual, group, and couples. Despite the variations, all therapy is a two-way process that works especially well when you and your therapist or psychologist communicate openly. Research shows that the outcome of therapy is improved when the therapist or psychologist and the client agree early about what the major problems are and how therapy can help.

You and your therapist or psychologist both have responsibilities in establishing and maintaining a good working relationship. Be clear with your therapist or psychologist about your concerns that may arise. Therapy works best when you attend all scheduled sessions and give some forethought as to what you want to discuss during each session.

Therapy isn't easy. But individuals willing to work in close partnership with their therapist or psychologist often find relief from their emotional distress and begin to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.
How can I evaluate whether therapy is working for me?
As you begin therapy, you should establish clear goals with your therapist or psychologist. Perhaps you want to overcome feelings of hopelessness associated with feelings of depression. Or maybe you would like to control fear that disrupts your daily life. Keep in mind that certain tasks require more time to accomplish than others. You may need to adjust your goals depending on how long you plan to be in therapy.

After a few sessions, it is a good sign if you feel the experience truly is a joint effort and that you and your therapist or psychologist enjoy a comfortable relationship. On the other hand, you should be open with your therapist or psychologist if you find yourself feeling "stuck" or lacking direction once you have been in therapy awhile.

You may feel a wide range of emotions during therapy. Some qualms about therapy that you may have might result from the difficulty of discussing painful and troubling experiences. When this happens, it can actually be a positive sign that you are starting to explore your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

You should spend time with your therapist or psychologist periodically reviewing your progress. Although there are other considerations affecting the duration of therapy, success in reaching your primary goals should be a major factor in deciding when you should end therapy.
What if I have a general question about therapy?
If you have a general question about therapy that you have not been able to find on our site, or you think it would be good to have your question referenced on this page, email your question to Kyle Kittleson, Psy.D., HSPP or call (765) 494-6995.