Frequently Asked Questions About CAPS

Who is eligible for services at CAPS?
All enrolled 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 Don Werden, Ph.D., HSPP or call (765) 494-6995.