Frequently Asked Questions


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What is counseling or psychotherapy?

The words counseling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably. Basically, it is talking with a trained professional about issues related to your mental or emotional health in the service of gaining greater understanding of yourself, relieving emotional distress, making desired changes in your life and improving daily functioning and satisfaction. Sessions at CAPS are 45-50 minutes in length and frequency of sessions is determined by clinical need, availability and insurance status.

How do I get a refill for medication?

If the prescription has been provided by a CAPS psychiatrist, you can send a Secure Message (through the Patient Portal) to your psychiatrist requesting a refill or submit a request with the CAPS Front Desk staff. If you have not yet established care at CAPS, you will need to start by meeting with a Brief Screen Counselor. See Beginning Treatment for details.

What will happen at the first appointment?

During the first appointment, also known as an intake session, you and your counselor will have an opportunity to get to know each other. Your counselor will likely ask many questions about you to gain a deeper understanding of your current concerns. Together you will begin to discuss what treatment options and/or campus resources would be most helpful in addressing your particular circumstances. Be sure to ask questions if you have them, this will help you and your counselor build a collaborative working relationship from the beginning.

*Prior to meeting with your counselor, you will need to complete some forms to provide information about your past and current emotional health. Please check-in with the Front Desk reception 30-minutes prior to your appointment time to ensure you have enough time to complete the forms so it does not interfere with your face-to-face time with your counselor.

Who will be my counselor?

Your counselor could be a clinical social worker, psychologist, or graduate student trainee (who is supervised by a licensed mental health professional). Our Staff Roster provides brief bios that include clinical areas of expertise and interest. We work hard to accommodate student requests to work with particular clinicians, but cannot always guarantee availability.

What if I don't like my counselor?

We encourage you to provide feedback to your therapist about what you may find more beneficial in your sessions.

You may request a transfer of therapist which can be accommodated once without the need for administrative approval. Subsequent requests will need proper authorization. Requests may be made to your therapist, a Clinical Coordinator, or the Front Desk staff.

What can I expect from counseling or from my counselor?

CAPS offers comprehensive supportive and clinical care tailored to your needs. You can expect to meet with a trained professional who is interested in listening to you and understanding your concerns so that they may assist you in addressing those concerns. Your clinician will be familiar with the unique stressors facing UCLA students and will collaborate with you to reduce barriers to achieving academic success and emotional well-being. Your clinician will maintain strict confidentiality within the parameters of California law (see Confidentiality for more information).

Can I see my counselor as many times as I want?

The number of sessions with your counselor will be determined by clinical necessity. You and your counselor will work together to discuss a treatment plan and options for further treatment beyond the scope of CAPS services.

How much do CAPS services cost?

CAPS fees vary according to a student's registration status and enrollment in SHIP insurance. See Eligibility & Fees for details.

I am UCLA alumnus/UCLA Extension Student/not currently enrolled at UCLA. Can I use CAPS services?

Services offered at CAPS are offered only to students who are currently enrolled in degree granting programs at UCLA. View the UCLA General Catalog for more information on the qualifying degree programs provided by the College and professional schools at UCLA. CAPS can provide consultation and referrals for individuals who are not currently registered as a student at UCLA.

Can I get tested for ADD/ADHD?

CAPS offers ADD/ADHD evaluation for students with SHIP insurance. Students who have private insurance will be referred to providers in their insurance networks for evaluation. Learn more about ADHD Services at CAPS.

How can I get the most out of counseling?

DO share what you came to talk about. You will get the most out of counseling if you are open and honest about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. If you are feeling embarrassed, ashamed or concerned about sharing something important, start by telling your counselor how you are feeling about disclosing that information. Then see if you can find a way to work your way up to what is difficult to say by starting small.

DO make a commitment to your treatment. Don’t miss sessions or avoid coming in when things get tough. These are often the times when we benefit the most from counseling.

DO NOT expect your counselor to tell you what to do. This is your counseling. Your counselor will serve as guide, a resource and an ally in the process but only you can make the changes you desire in your life. Counseling works best when you put some thought into what you want to discuss each session.

DO ask questions. Therapy isn’t easy. People commonly experience a wide range of emotions during the course of counseling, which can at times be difficult and/or upsetting. That said, if you are uncomfortable, feeling stuck, or not benefitting from therapy, do bring this up with your therapist and ask questions about your treatment.

DO NOT rush yourself. Counseling is not magic, it is a process. The way you see yourself, your behavioral patterns and coping strategies have been learned and reinforced over time; it will take time to untangle them and make the changes you desire.

DO identify goals. You know your goals and priorities best. Think about what changes are most meaningful to you and focus your energy on defining counseling goals and working towards those goals both in and out of session.

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