Counseling and Psychological Services
CAPS is one of five clinics within the Department of Student Health, along with General Medicine, Gynecology, the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC), and Health Promotion. The CAPS staff consists of 7 psychologists (with two additional psychologists working out of SDAC), 1 clinical social worker, 2 professional counselors, and 3 part-time psychiatric providers. One staff member is a trained psychoanalyst. Our training programs at CAPS include 3 full-time doctoral psychology interns, 3 graduate practicum students, and intermittent fourth year psychiatry residents.
CAPS offers undergraduate and graduate students a continuum of mental health services, including diagnostic evaluation, brief psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, treatment with medication, crisis intervention, consultation to the University community, and psychoeducational outreach programming. The Student Disability Access Center (SDAC), which is closely affiliated with CAPS, provides cognitive and personality assessment as well as a variety of support services to students with disabilities.
CAPS provides services to students with a wide range of presenting concerns, developmental issues and problems in living. While some students seek CAPS’ services regarding a specific situational incident, others present with affective or anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse issues, characterological difficulties or psychotic processes. CAPS clientele ranges from 18-year-old students who have left home for the first time to middle-aged graduate students with families.
CAPS primarily utilizes a brief psychotherapy treatment approach with students. Duration of psychotherapy is generally 6 to 10 sessions. Clinical efforts are focused on assisting students to returning to the level of functioning required for successful academic achievement. In most instances in which students' needs do not fit a brief therapy approach, referrals are made to alternate clinic sites or to psychotherapists within the Charlottesville community. In situations in which a community therapist referral may be problematic or contraindicated, exceptions to a brief treatment approach are made on a case by case basis. Those specific circumstances are explored in detail with students once they are seen for an appointment at CAPS. Students participating in group therapy remain a group member for the full duration of the group, even if it extends beyond 6 to 10 sessions.