Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides services that empower students
to engage in and be successful in a full range of academic, social and cultural endeavors
through fostering psychological wellness.
We know that being a student is filled with many changes and challenges and that,
at times, extra support is needed. CAPS works with students to identify problems and
to develop solutions for overcoming these challenges. The most common reasons students
utilize our services are: anxiety, depression, relationship problems, suicidality,
grief, adjusting to a new life situation, substance use, and trauma.
CAPS has a strong commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse students by providing
high quality, culturally sensitive services. We strive to create a welcoming environment
for all people.
Our staff includes licensed providers who have years of experience in working with
the university student population. They are committed to helping students to achieve
their personal and academic goals and to enhance their experience while at WCU.
CAPS is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.
make an appointment
CAPS provides services to currently enrolled WCU students.
To schedule an appointment, call us at 828.227.7469 or stop by our office (225 Bird
Building). The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please
note that students are required to make their own appointments.
To begin counseling at CAPS, the first step is to schedule a meeting for an initial
consultation appointment. The purpose of this appointment is to provide an opportunity
for you to discuss your concerns with CAPS and to arrive at a mutually agreeable course
of action to address your concerns. You can schedule a consultation appointment by
calling 828.227.7469. Once you have an appointment scheduled, please plan to arrive
at least 25 minutes early to complete paperwork. The actual consultation appointment
typically lasts 20 to 30 minutes.
Based on this meeting, you and the counselor may agree that ongoing group or individual
counseling would best suit your needs. If this is the case, the counselor will gather
the necessary information from you so that you can be assigned to meet with a staff
counselor on an ongoing basis. The length of time from the initial consultation to
pairing with counseling is determined by two main factors: Your preferences regarding
characteristics of your counselor or group; and, availability of open slots for ongoing
counseling. For the second half of the fall or spring semesters, the wait between
these appointments can lengthen as the demand for services increases. We do all we
can to make your wait for assignment as short as possible
Your individual counselor will spend some time getting to know you and helping you
to establish appropriate goals for counseling. You and your counselor will discuss
how often you will meet.
Research shows that group therapy is the most effective treatment for many of the
concerns college students face. CAPS offers a variety of groups each semester to meet
Here is what students say about our groups:
“ DO IT! Or at least try it because it is really helpful and really becomes a comfortable
space to talk about things you wouldn’t talk about with people in your everyday life.”
“It is a great way to connect with people who understand what you are going through.”
How often do I see my counselor?
You and your counselor will discuss your treatment and how frequently you will have
sessions. It is common for students to meet with a counselor weekly at first, but
as therapy progresses you will likely meet every other week or even once a month.
If your concerns are such that need very long term treatment or you need to be seen
more than once a week, you may be referred to a therapist in the community.
What if I have to reschedule?
Please call the front desk (828-227-7469) as soon as you know you are unable to make
your appointment. We do ask for at least 24 hours notice to change an appointment,
but we know that this is not always possible. Typically, students are not able to
be rescheduled within the next 5 business days and during times of high demand for
CAPS’ services, you may have to wait longer for the next appointment.
Who is eligible for services?
Currently enrolled students who have paid the Health Fee are eligible for services
at CAPS. Faculty and staff who are interested in counseling have access to services
through the WCU Employee Assistance Program. For additional information, please contact
Human Resources (828.227.7218) or CAPS (828-227-7469)
What will I be charged for services?
CAPS does not charge for their services for enrolled students who have paid the student
health fee. If you see the psychiatric provider at CAPS, your sessions are charged
to your insurance and so you will be responsible for any costs related to your deductible
What if I am concerned about someone else?
CAPS provides consultation to concerned parents, students, or faculty/staff. CAPS
will typically not reach out to a student based on this type of consultation, however
CAPS staff will guide you in managing the situation. Additionally, you may choose
to complete a Student Concern Response Team (SCRT) report. The SCRT team is charged
with ensuring, to the extent possible, coordinated efforts to provide services of
University Departments are made available to the involved student(s). The report template
is available at scrt.wcu.edu.
What if I do not like my counselor?
We understand that not all counselors are a fit for you. If you find that you are
a not a good fit with your counselor, we ask that you bring this up in your session.
Usually, this will help you and your counselor better understand each other and enhance
your work together. However, if that conversation does not resolve your concern, you
can contact the CAPS office and leave a message about switching counselors. At this
point, a CAPS Administrator will reach out to you to resolve the situation.
Do you provide testing services?
CAPS does provide limited psychological assessment for ongoing clients to inform and
enhance treatment. CAPS does not provide any ADHD testing or other testing necessary
for determining accommodations. Students may seek these services through the McKee
Psychology Clinic (828.227.2473).
Do you provide documentation for accommodations?
CAPS will only verify diagnoses for ongoing clients who are seeking accommodations
through the Office of Accessibility Resources (828.227.3886). However, CAPS does
not provide letters of support for emotional support animals.
What if I am in crisis?
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency during business hours, come to CAPS
(225 Bird Building).
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency after business hours, call University
Police at 828-227-8911 and ask to speak to the Crisis Counselor.
Other emergency resources:
Appalachian Community Resources - 888.315.2880
REACH (Sexual Violence Resources) - 828.369.5544
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800.273.8255
Trevor Project (LGBTQ Crisis support) - 866.488.7386
Your CAPS counselor may refer you to the consulting psychiatric provider at CAPS for
a medication consultation. The provider’s services are billed to the student’s insurance.
To see the provider, you must be a current client at CAPS.
training & internship programs
CAPS offers university counseling center training positions at both the master's and
doctoral level. In addition to becoming strong mental health generalists in the provision
of individual counseling services, trainees have the opportunity to participate in
group counseling, inter-disciplinary collaboration, outreach, consultation, campus
programs and related projects within the university community.
Services for biltmore park students
Counseling services for Biltmore Park students are offered in room 341 at Biltmore
Park by CAPS staff Mondays and every third Tuesday when classes are in session. Biltmore
Park students can also access services on the Cullowhee campus. For an appointment
at either location, call 828.227.7469.
We represent the fields of psychology, counseling, social work, and psychiatry. We
train interns in counseling, clinical psychology, and related counseling programs.
Our primary commitment is to enhance the psychological growth, emotional well being,
and learning potential of students. Our permanent staff are licensed and/or certified
mental health professionals. However, all members of our counseling team (including
graduate interns) are trained to address a wide range of presenting concerns. We each
have our own unique interests and have developed counseling styles that best enable
us to connect with students in a personalized way that aims to be most helpful.
kimberly s. gorman, ph.d, hsp-p, director / psychologist
Dr. Gorman is a licensed psychologist and earned her Master's and Ph.D. in Counseling
Psychology from the University of Kentucky. Kim has a special interest in working
with women's issues and, specifically, eating disorders, however has experience working
with clients with a variety of mental health issues. Additionally, she has experience working in behavioral medicine. She works from a
feminist, interpersonal approach in therapy. Another interest for her is in the area
of training and professional development. She has been involved in training of masters
and doctoral level students for nearly two decades. Personally, she enjoys spending
time with her husband sitting on their porch, reading a book and looking at the mountains.
She also enjoys being active and watching her beloved basketball team in action.
m. Jay Manalo, ph.d, hsp-p, ncc, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR / Training director / psychologist
Dr. Manalo is a licensed psychologist and obtained his M.Ed. in School Counseling
and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, both from The University of Georgia. He conducted
his doctoral internship at WCU’s CAPS and his postdoctoral training and subsequent
work experiences in private practice settings in Georgia prior to returning to WCU.
His counseling interests include depression, anxiety, stress, life transitions, AD/HD,
LGBT issues, multicultural psychology, social skills issues, and developmental disabilities.
His approach to counseling is primarily Person-Centered integrated with aspects of
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. He also enjoys providing
supervision and training for emerging mental health professionals. He completed Safe
Space/Safe Zone training at UGA and WCU and is also a National Certified Counselor.
Outside of work, Jay enjoys whitewater kayaking and is a Wilderness First Responder.
He also enjoys spending time with his family, his dogs, and other loved ones.
betsy aspinwall, psy.d, hsp-p, assistant Director / psychologist
Dr. Aspinwall is a licensed psychologist, earned her Master's and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis.
She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Appalachian State University prior to
coming to WCU. Betsy is experienced in working with individuals, couples, and groups,
and enjoys working with diverse students and presenting concerns. She works with a
variety of therapeutic issues including; eating disorders, depression, identity concerns,
grief, alcohol and substance use, suicide, LGBT issues, anxiety, trauma, and adjustment/transitions.
Betsy utilizes a collaborative person-centered approach to therapy while allowing
the client to guide the therapeutic process. Outside of the office she enjoys cooking
and baking, spending time with loved ones, and exploring the mountains with her dogs.
PAULA A. DEMONET, LPC, NCC, COUNSELOR
Paula has worked with individuals and groups in a variety of settings. She utilizes
a person centered approach to counseling with the goal of improving the lives of those
she serves. She uses therapies such as Person Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. She holds a B.S. degree in Recreational Therapy
and a M.S. degree in Community Counseling from Western Carolina University. She is
currently a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of North Carolina and Certificated
by the National Board of Certified Counselors. Paula has worked as mental health therapist
and supervisor for local not for profit and state agencies gaining experience working
with clients with a variety of mental health issues. Paula has a talent for utilizing
experiential modalities to bring about learning opportunities for clients. When not
working Paula enjoys volunteering her time to work with youth in her community. She
enjoys taking care of her four children and sharing the wonders of the outdoors with
them and her husband.
susannah kuppers, msw, lcsw
Ms. Kuppers completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Western Carolina University
in 2014 and obtained full LCSW licensure in 2016. She is currently working towards
licensure as a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. Through work with local community
mental health and victim advocacy organizations, she has experience working with a
variety of issues include interpersonal violence, substance abuse, depression, anxiety,
and trauma. Susannah uses a person centered approach to counseling, incorporating
therapies including Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Outside
of work, Susannah enjoys time outdoors, gardening, cooking and spending time with
arika morrison, ms, lpcs, counselor / sexual & interpersonal violence care coordinator
Ms. Morrison is a licensed professional counselor and completed her Master's Degree
in Counseling with a specialty in College Student Personnel from Shippensburg University
in 2002. She completed her counseling license in 2004. Arika has experience working
with a variety of counseling issues including: Relationships, Sexual Abuse, Trauma,
Disordered Eating, Body Image, Self-Esteem and Women’s Issues. Arika uses a humanistic
approach blended with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. She also really enjoys
working with SoulCollage®. Outside of the office, Arika cherishes her time with her
husband and their dog traveling through the mountains or to the coast.
Mike unger, psy.d, psychologist
Dr. Unger is a psychologist and obtained his M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Teachers
College-Columbia University and his Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his doctoral internship and postdoctoral
residency at the Texas State University Counseling Center. Mike has many years of
experience providing personal, career, academic and crisis counseling to college students.
The foundation of his counseling approach is client centered while always recognizing
the importance of multicultural aspects of client’s identities. His counseling interventions
are often guided by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment
therapy and self-compassion. Mike has professional training in mindfulness-based stress
reduction and is also a yoga instructor. One of his strongest professional interests
is facilitating mindfulness groups for college students. He is also passionate about
providing counseling services to underrepresented groups and is the counseling center
liaison to international students. Outside of work, Mike enjoys exploring the amazing
western North Carolina parks and mountains. He also enjoys Asheville’s vibrant live
music and restaurant scene. Originally from New York, Mike stays in touch with family
and friends in the northeast as much as possible.
christy newell wyatt, msw, lcsw, lcas, csi, Counselor / substance use specialist
Ms. Wyatt is our Substance Use Specialist and completed her Master's Degree in Social
Work from Walla Walla College and then earned her Social Work licensure in 2007.
She has also gained her license as a Clinical Addictions Specialist in 2012. Christy
has experience working with diverse populations with a variety of issues from: depression,
Bipolar, anxiety, substance abuse/addiction, adjustment, suicide, sexual abuse and
trauma. She uses therapies such as Person Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. When not counseling, Christy enjoys spending
time with her husband reading, traveling, run/walking ½ marathons as well as enjoying
the outdoors with their 2 dogs and horse.
tamar bat el, ma, psychology intern
Ms. Bat El is completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology with a Depth Psychology emphasis
at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her hometown is in Nanaimo, BC; although she has also
lived and worked in Victoria, BC on beautiful Vancouver Island in Western Canada.
Tamar is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and has held a permanent position with the
government health authority, Island Health, for over 5 years. She grew up in Montreal,
QC; where she completed her BA in Psychology with Specialization and an MA in Counselling
and Creative Arts Therapies at Concordia University. She speaks three languages fluently
and is passionate about helping people in a variety of ways. Her fields of interest,
research, and clinical experience include working with clients of diverse ages and
backgrounds in both inpatient and outpatient settings, who have experienced: Trauma
and PTSD, Sexual and Interpersonal Violence, Eating Disorders and Addictions, Psychiatric
and Concurrent Disorders, and Immigration Re-Settlement concerns. Tamar’s theoretical
approach is primarily depth-centered, with an emphasis on incorporating a Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic
theoretical framework for case conceptualization and treatment, and an integration
of Insight-Oriented techniques and interventions. She has also acquired experience
and training in CBT, DBT, Solution-Focused Counselling, Motivational Interviewing,
Feminist Theory, and Somatic approaches to treating trauma. Tamar is a humanitarian
at heart, and loves exploring new places and undertaking new adventures. In her free
time, she enjoys traveling with family and spending time at home with her dog and
kayla byrd, bs, psychology trainee
Ms. Byrd received her undergraduate degree in psychology from WCU and is currently a second year graduate student in the clinical psychology program at
WCU. She is particularly interested in the areas of personality, delinquency, and
substance use in the adolescent and young adult populations. Kayla favors the person-centered
approach for therapy as well as cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Outside of
the office, she enjoys watching and playing sports, being outdoors in the mountains,
on the beach, or on the lake, and travelling.
Manj burdekar, MED, psychology intern
Mr. Burdekar received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Psychology from
Franklin Pierce University. He received his Master’s Degree and is currently pursuing
his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Through his practicum experiences, Manj has worked with individuals from diverse backgrounds
providing individual and group therapy, as well as campus outreach. His counseling
interests include depression, anxiety, as well as identity and relationship issues.
Additionally, he is also interested in working with individuals with physical and
emotional pain, multiculturalism and diversity especially cultural identity. Manj’s
approach to counseling is primarily person centered integrated with psychodynamic
therapy. In his free time he enjoys watching sports, cooking, travelling and enjoying
quality time with family and friends.
tari cox, b.A., Psychology trainee
Ms. Cox received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Winston-Salem State University
and is currently in her second year in the Clinical Psychology Master’s program at
WCU. Tari’s research interests involve aspect of cross-cultural and health psychology.
Specifically, she is interested in the effects of trauma and stress on physiological
processes (i.e., sleep health) of minority individuals. She is also interested in
addressing social justice issues as a potential source of these stressors and its
effects on social adjustment. Tari favors person-centered and CBT therapeutic frameworks.
In her free time she enjoys reading, dancing, attending church and catching up on
new Netflix Series.
savannah marino, BS, Counseling trainee
Ms. Marino received a double major in History and Psychology from WCU in May 2016.
Currently, she is a second-year graduate student in the Master’s Clinical Mental Health
Counseling Program. She is particularly interested in the areas of trauma counseling
and working with racial/ethnic minority populations to promote mental health care.
Savannah favors the person-centered approach, feminist theory, and cognitive behavioral
approaches in therapy. Outside of the office, she enjoys relaxing with friends and
family, hiking in the beautiful mountains, and traveling.
sonaly silva, M.A., psychology intern
Ms. Silva earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Missouri University of Science
& Technology and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of
Professional Psychology (TCSPP). She is currently a doctoral candidate pursuing her
Psy.D in Clinical Psychology from TCSPP. Sonaly’s research interests relate to integrative
care, health psychology, international psychology, cross-cultural psychology, and
developmental disabilities. Sonaly has interests working with international students
(acculturation issues), grief and loss issues, anxiety, depression, women’s issues,
minority issues, and relational work. Her prior clinical work has been focused in
community mental health, as well behavioral medicine. Her approach to counseling is
primarily cognitive behavioral therapy integrated with aspects of person-centered
therapy. She is also a certified Triple P Positive Parenting therapist, and has experience
providing parent training and consultation sessions for parents who have newly diagnosed
children with developmental disabilities. Furthermore, Sonaly has enjoyed presenting
at several national and international conferences, and has presented on topics related
to diversity issues, global health and wellness, intimate partner violence, alternative
sexualities and immigration issues. Outside of work, Sonaly enjoys traveling and exploring
the mountains, cooking, singing, and spending time with her family, friends and other
debbye mcgee, administrative assistant
Ms. McGee is originally from Grand Junction, Colorado. She has lived in the area
for 20 years. She has two daughters Crystal and Lavender Sky. Debbye also has two
granddaughters Jazmine and Jewell Sky who are both nine years old. She loves photography,
traveling and making jewelry. In her spare time she enjoys being one with nature,
meditation, aromatherapy and practicing Mindful Living.