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Faculty and Staff Guide to CAPS


What is CAPS?

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a team of multiculturally sensitive professionals delivering comprehensive psychological services to the students of Purdue University. CAPS has a strong commitment to meeting the needs of diverse people. In all the service areas provided by CAPS, our staff strives to create an environment where all people feel welcome. As a staff, we attempt to facilitate mutual respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds, sexual/affectional orientations, mental and physical abilities, languages, classes, ages, religion/spiritual beliefs, socioeconomic background as well as other types of diversity.

What is our mission?

Our mission is to help Purdue University students maximize the value of their life and learning experiences. As we develop collaborative relationships in a safe and respectful environment, the unique value and dignity of each individual and group is held paramount. We accomplish our mission through a variety of professional services including individual, group, and couples psychotherapy; psychological testing; psychopharmacology; crisis intervention; drug and alcohol programs; outreach and consultation; and the mentoring of therapists in training.

What are the objectives of therapy?

When working with students our main objectives are:

  • To help students gain an awareness and understanding of themselves and their environment.
  • To assist students in developing personal skills in coping with problem situations and relationships.
  • To aid students in translating the understanding and skills they have learned into satisfying decisions and effective actions.

Where is CAPS located?

Main office locations

  • Psychological Sciences Building
  • Room 1120
  • Phone: (765) 494-6995
  • Student Health Center
  • Room 246
  • Phone: (765) 494-6995

Satellite office location

  • Located in Vawter Residence Hall - Room 130
  • Open two evenings per week
  • For students living in University Residence Halls only

CAPS also provides informal consultations at the following locations:

  • The Black Cultural Center (BCC)
  • The Latino Cultural Center (LCC)
  • The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center (LGBTQ Center)

How do I contact CAPS?

Simple procedures for consultation

We are here to assist you in your efforts to help the students with whom you come in contact. Faculty and Staff can access CAPS on-call therapists by phone to:

  • ask questions about how you might proceed with a student about whom you are concerned
  • explore options and resources available to you or the student

During regular business hours

Monday - Friday 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.

  • Call (765) 494-6995
  • Ask to speak with the On-Call therapist

After hours and on weekends (during fall & spring semesters only)

Monday - Friday from 5:00p.m - 8:00p.m.
Saturday - Sunday from 10:00a.m. - 6:00p.m.

  • Call (765) 494-1724
  • Speak with the attending nurse at PUSH Extended Care.
  • Inform the nurse you are dealing with a crisis and would like to speak with the CAPS Emergency Coverage Person.
  • Receive a call back from a CAPS staff person.

What services does CAPS provide?

CAPS provides a variety of therapy services for students in addition to consultations to faculty and staff.

  • Individual Psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Outreach Programming
  • Alcohol Education
  • Medications (Psychopharmacology)
  • Psychological Testing
  • Crisis Management
  • Consultations to Faculty and Staff

What would constitute an emergency?

If a student is violent, out of control, or in danger of physically harming themselves or others as in cases when a student threatens suicide or homicide or is in the process of acting out these behaviors, you should:

  • Call 911 - Contact the Purdue University Police Department
    • The Police can help facilitate a referral to the hospital or to CAPS

How do I recognize a student in distress?

Serious academic fallout

  • falling grades, sudden class absences without explanation, loss of motivation or investment in school

Exaggerated emotional response

  • angry outbursts, sudden tearfulness or giddiness

Withdrawal from relationships

  • withdrawal from friends or sources of social support or a sudden over-dependence on people

Disruptive behavior

  • aggressiveness, violating others' rights with little provocation

Persistent depression

  • crying, low energy, irritability, decline in personal appearance, helplessness/hopelessness, loss of control, emotional flatness

Marked increase in physical complaints

  • headaches, indigestion, nausea, stomach pains, loss or gain in weight

Increased reliance on alcohol or drugs

How do I talk with a distressed student?

Listen: Listening is an important part of support

Empathize: Understanding from another's perspective is often helpful

Normalize: Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out are common aspects of college life

Set limits on your role: Set comfortable limits for yourself when the support you provide doesn't feel like enough. That is the time to refer.

De-stigmatize CAPS: Help take the anxiety out of seeking help. CAPS is here for the students because college is a time for growth and development, which can sometimes be pretty difficult.

When should I refer a student to CAPS?

As an advisor, mentor, professor, resident assistant, or staff person students may seek you out as a source of support.

Personal hints to help you decide when it's time to refer:

  • The student's struggles leave you feeling helpless.
  • Your best efforts are not adequate support for the student.
  • You may feel unable or uncomfortable with providing extensive support.
  • You feel like you have reached your limit or have exhausted your ideas on how to help.
  • You have doubts as to what may help the student.
  • You feel increasingly anxious and pre-occupied about the student's struggle.
  • You feel angry or intimidated by the student's comments or behavior.
  • You are spending large amounts of time on the student's issues.
  • The student's issues are too close to home for you, making it hard to get and keep perspective.

Some tips on referring:

  • Share with the student your interest in them and in their well-being.
  • The choice to seek professional guidance is usually up to the individual.
  • Outline for the student what they might expect when they meet with a therapist at CAPS.
  • Give the student the option to call CAPS from your office.
  • Ask the student if he or she would like you to make the call to CAPS while they are with you or if you can accompany them to the CAPS office; if you are willing.
  • Refer to a person, not just to CAPS. If you can, provide the student a name of someone specific at CAPS to talk with.
  • Referring to CAPS can help the student begin to help him or herself.

What should I let students know about CAPS?

Students going through personal difficulties can be encouraged to address their difficulties in many ways. Often, students will initiate their own tried and true coping strategies to deal with life problems. Sometimes students will turn to family, friends, mentors, and professors for support and guidance. At other times professional assistance may be needed to help the student get back on track or learn new ways of managing the demands and developmental challenges of college. CAPS is here to help.

Points to Pass On

  • Information shared by the student with a CAPS therapist is confidential.
  • Visits to CAPS are not recorded on academic transcripts.
  • 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. At times, they may feel anxious, angry, lonely, or depressed. Getting help is not a sign of weakness.
  • There is no charge for initial consultation appointments. CAPS works in a brief therapy model and the number of sessions a student needs is discussed between the student and the therapist.
  • During the Summer terms, students can receive up to 2 therapy sessions per module.
  • Group therapy is available at no charge to students.
  • Emergency on-call therapists are available daily.

Why do students go to CAPS?

Student come to CAPS for a number of reasons, including:

  • Homesickness.
  • Unfamiliar surroundings and activities.
  • Roommate conflicts/Relationship problems.
  • A more competitive academic environment/ Having to change study habits.
  • Challenges to cope with increasing pressure to perform.
  • Increased responsibility.
  • Establishing new friendships.
  • Feeling as if "I don't fit in here."
  • Decrease in motivation.
  • Procrastination.
  • Anxiety and worry.
  • Depression.
  • LD/ADHD testing.

What information is confidential?

All information that is gathered in therapy is confidential except where mandated by law. On our informed concent form, however, we do ask the students for permission to contact the person who referred them to CAPS. If permission is granted, we let the referral source know that the student arrived at CAPS. This is only done once at referral and only if permission is given to do so.

Who can use the services at CAPS?

Access to full services are provided to:

  • Undergraduates.
  • Graduate students.
  • Professional students.
  • and spouses/partners of students (only when they are part of couples therapy).

Faculty and Staff can access our consultation and referral services.

Are there fees for the services at CAPS?

Fulltime students

Services at no charge

  • Initial consultations to determine your therapy or medication needs.
  • One psychiatric consultation per semester.
  • Unlimited group therapy.
  • Consultations regarding aiding a distressed student to seek help.
  • Consultations for developmental disorders.
  • Psychoeducational workshops.

Fee based services

  • Individual or conjoint therapy fees are incurred when students go beyond 6 sessions per semester.
  • Psychiatric consultations and medication reviews beyond the first visit per semester.
  • Testing for developmental disorders.

Part-time Students

Services at no charge

  • Initial consultations to determine your therapy or medication needs.
  • Unlimited group therapy.
  • Consultations regarding aiding a distressed student.
  • Consultations for developmental disorders.
  • Psychoeducational workshops.

Fee based services

  • Individual or conjoint therapy sessions beyond the initial session.
  • Psychiatric consultations and medication reviews beyond the first visit per semester.
  • Testing for developmental disorders.

During summer sessions

Services at no charge

  • Up to 2 free therapy visits per academic summer module for which a student is enrolled.
  • Unlimited group therapy.
  • One psychiatric consultation for the entire summer for students who are enrolled for at least one summer module.
  • Consultations for developmental disorders.

Fee based services

  • Individual or conjoint therapy sessions beyond the initial 2 sessions per module.
  • Psychiatric consultations and medication reviews beyond the first visit per summer.
  • Testing for developmental disorders.