Parents and family during Family weekend festivities.

Faculty, Staff, Parent & Family Guide

What is CAPS?
CAPS is an acronym for Counseling and Psychological Services. Information about CAPS and its mission, commitment and philosophy can be found on our Commitment and Mission page.
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?
Our hours and locations can be found on our Hours and Locations page.
How do I contact CAPS?
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 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Call (765) 494-6995.
  • Ask to speak with the on-call therapist.
What services does CAPS provide?
CAPS provides a variety of therapy services for students in addition to consultations to faculty and staff.
  • Brief Individual Psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Outreach Programming
  • Workshops
  • Medications (Psychopharmacology)
  • 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 and/or emotional flatness.

Marked increase in physical complaints.
Headaches, indigestion, nausea, stomach pains and/or 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 difficult.
When should I refer a student to CAPS?
As an advisor, mentor, professor, resident assistant or staff member, 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 time-limited therapy model and the number of sessions a student needs is discussed between the student and the therapist.
  • 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, but not limited to the following:
  • Homesickness.
  • Unfamiliar surroundings and activities.
  • Roommate conflicts and/or relationship problems.
  • A more competitive academic environment and/or 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.
  • Identity-based concerns
What information is confidential?
All information that is gathered in therapy is confidential except where mandated by law. On our informed consent 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. For more information go to our Confidentiality policy page
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?
Most services do not incur fees. Please go to our Fees page for additional information.