Frequently Asked Questions
Is everything I tell you confidential? Will my parents be notified that I am coming to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)?
All information about you is kept confidential among the CAPS professional staff in accordance with legal and professional ethical requirements. However, there are exceptions to your privilege of confidentiality. We are required by law to act to report or protect in situations (1) when a client threatens or is at risk of harm to him/herself (e.g., suicidal), (2) when a client makes threatening statements or actions to harm others, (3) when there is reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect, (4) when there is reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of a dependent adult, and (5) when records are court ordered by a judge. If any of these situations occur, your counselor may discuss the situation with you in detail so that you are aware of their actions.
How do you bill for services?
All students receive six free sessions per academic year. (The intake appointment is not included in the six free sessions.) After the 6th session, CAPS does not bill insurance for appointments. Instead of billing your insurance, we have set the fee to $20 per session. We accept all major credit cards, check, cash, and students may add the payments to their student account.
Who will be my counselor?
CAPS will assign a counselor to you based on which counselor best matches your needs and has availability. If you have a preference for a counselor, you may make a request during the intake appointment. The assignment team cannot guarantee your assignment to the counselor requested, but will work with you to find a counselor that best matches your needs.
How long will I have to wait for a first appointment?
Generally, students can expect to be assigned within one to two weeks after the intake appointment. If there is a waitlist due to a high number of students seeking services, the student will be informed and assigned as soon as there is availability. Students may request referrals to an off-campus counselor if waitlisted.
How long will the appointment take?
Counseling appointments are scheduled for 50 minutes.
Do you have crisis counseling?
If you are experiencing any kind of distress and need to talk with a counselor, you may come to CAPS any time during business hours (9am-4pm). Should an emergency occur overnight or during the weekend, and you live on campus, you should contact your coordinator of education (CRE) or the Department of Public Safety (DPS) immediately. If you live off campus, you should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. Crisis appointments are free to all students.
Who are the CAPS trainees?
Trainees are graduate level therapists-in-training who provide services under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. CAPS trains graduate students in providing culturally appropriate therapy and psychological services to deaf and hard-of-hearing clients. Our mission is to help increase the number of counselors qualified to work within the Deaf community. Supervisors review each case to ensure that trainees are providing quality care. The CAPS assignment team may assign a trainee as your therapist. This means you will have two professionals (trainee and supervisor) monitoring your care to ensure you are receiving the best treatment.
I am a parent/teacher/friend concerned about a student who may benefit from CAPS services. What should I do?
There are several options:
- CAPS encourages those concerned to discuss your concerns with the student directly in a supportive manner (e.g. "I am worried about you. I think you may find it helpful to meet with someone who can help you. Would you be willing to contact CAPS and make an appointment?") It may be helpful to accompany the student to CAPS to schedule an appointment.
- A parent/teacher/friend can contact CAPS to express their concern about the student. Since treatment and services at CAPS are voluntary, student will not be forced to attend counseling. However, any information given by the parent/student/teacher will be helpful in the case that the student decides to seek services at CAPS.
- Parents/teachers/friends can also contact Gallaudet University's Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) to share concerns. BIT is a part of the University's Crisis Leadership Team (CLT) and collaborates across campus units, departments, and divisions to support students in need. Please refer to the link for additional information: Behavior Intervention Team
Who are psychiatrists?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has received additional training in psychiatry. Psychiatrists at CAPS are all licensed in the District of Colombia. CAPS has a part-time psychiatrist/psychiatry resident on staff. CAPS therapist must refer students for psychiatric services.
Who are the psychiatric residents?
A psychiatric resident is a licensed medical doctor who is undergoing additional (residency) training in psychiatry to practice psychiatry independently. They are supervised by a licensed psychiatrist.
What happens when I meet with the psychiatrist/psychiatric resident?
Psychiatric appointments consist of an initial appointment and follow-up medication management. At the initial appointment, the psychiatrist will gather information about your general history and background. This can include information about past or current medications used, substance abuse, family medical history, etc. At this appointment, the psychiatrist will work with you to determine if medication is appropriate for you. If medication is received, follow up appointments are scheduled to discuss the medication given, its effectiveness, modifications needed, and any other questions you may have.
What if I just want medication?
Most mental health conditions have a biological as well as an emotional component. Research strongly supports combination treatment (psychiatric service paired with counseling) as the most effective treatment for most mental health conditions. Thus, in the best interest of our clients, it is our policy that students receiving psychiatric services must also be actively involved in counseling with a CAPS therapist.
I am unsure if I want medication. Will I become a different person? Is it a sign of weakness to take medication?
Some individuals feel reluctant to take medication for various reasons. Some have never tried it before, and others have tried it and did not find the particular medication given helpful. In addition, negative attitudes about psychiatric medications and social stigma may discourage a person from considering medication. Whatever your reason, we encourage you to discuss these concerns with your counselor and/or psychiatrist. Psychiatric services are voluntary and will only be given with your consent. After beginning medication, many people find that medication is helpful, allows them to feel like themselves again, and provides support in reaching their counseling and academic goals.