Eligibility and Confidentiality

Eligibility for Services
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers, at no cost, consultation to full-time and most part-time students, staff and faculty about personal concerns and/or difficulties they might have. As a result of this consultation, your will receive recommendations about appropriate services available either at CAPS and/or other specialized services (elsewhere on campus or in the community). In light of the demand for services, the brief therapy approach within CAPS, the professional staff expertise and availability, and the resources within CAPS, every effort will be made to identify the best treatment options for your psychological concerns. Should it become apparent that you have additional concerns (e.g., career/major indecision, study skill deficits, academic advising needs, economic assistance needs), other campus and community resources may be recommended. 
As CAPS functions within a short-term framework and has limited professional resources, session limitations have been established to provide equity in the access of counseling services for WCU students. The numbers of sessions noted in this policy are provided as guidelines; not standards or averages of treatment. The number of sessions offered depends on the clinician's recommendation for likelihood of most effective treatment within these limits.

Who may use our services?
Students are eligible for services while they are enrolled in the semester they want to receive counseling services.  Students who withdraw from the university lose their eligibility for services for the remainder of the semester.  Emergency services may be limited where multiple emergencies by the same student indicate that regular counseling sessions are not sufficient, emergencies services are used inappropriately, or the student’s mental health needs are beyond the guidelines or capabilities of the CAPS staff.  The student will then be referred to community resources that could provide more frequent or intensive services.
Staff and faculty are eligible for groups, outreach, training, consultation services and one referral session per therapeutic issue.

Consultation and On-going Counseling Services
After the initial consultation, the recommendation for use of CAPS services (as well as other campus & community resources) will be made in light of the client's presenting problem, counselor's diagnosis/conceptualization, our staff's clinical experience and knowledge of current treatment literature, and how we believe CAPS and other outside resources can best help. In some cases no CAPS services may be recommended and only outside referrals made.
Appropriate recommendations for CAPS' individual or group therapy would include:

  1. issues or problems that have been shown to respond well to short-term treatment (e.g., grief, adjustment to college, anxiety disorders, stress, certain relationship issues);
  2. various crises (e.g. interpersonal conflict, loss, assault, trauma);
    developmental issues (e.g., assertiveness, intimacy, identity exploration, communication);
  3. pathology for which we can offer treatment that will likely reduce or better manage symptoms (e.g., depression, eating disorders, substance abuse).

Appropriate recommendations for services in coordination with and/or outside CAPS (thus, possibly not offering any services other than assessment and referral) would include:

  1. mental health needs that require longer-term or more intensive treatment (e.g., more than 10 sessions, substance dependence, certain traumas, chronic interpersonal conflict);
  2. severity of problem or level of functioning that is beyond what CAPS can likely handle within that academic year (e.g., life threatening behaviors involved in eating disorders, frequent suicidal and violent behaviors, acting out behaviors that disturb others, increased potential for psychiatric hospitalizations, breaks in counseling due to university schedule appears to compromise mental health treatment);
  3. evaluations needed for legal or other purposes (e.g., documentation for support of disability services (e.g., ADHD, psychological disabilities), forensic evaluation, child custody evaluation);
  4. court ordered treatment;
  5. situations in which CAPS and/or it's staff would be in conflicting or dual roles by providing treatment.

 Examples of indications that CAPS may need to refer out (and not offer further services) might be evident in...

  • the nature of the referral bringing the client to us (e.g., academic advising, job search skills, study skills, academic counseling, court orders or impending court case);
  • the client having a history of long-term therapy or psychiatric hospitalizations;
  • the inappropriate use of emergency services or and/or a high frequency of contacts regarding a particular student’s problems / acting out behaviors;
  • the amount of time spent per week and/or number of professional staff involved in responding to the client’s concerns (e.g., other professional staff frequently involved in emergency care and/or case management of client, client likely to need 24-hour monitoring, or client likely to need therapeutic contact more than once per week);
  • client does not appear motivated to change, or, if motivated, unwilling to pursue counselor’s professional recommendations for treatment;
  • client and therapist are unable to arrive at mutual therapeutic expectations; and/or
  • multiple diagnoses or severe problems that require more comprehensive response and continued follow-up than our center is able to provide. 

Appropriate referrals to CAPS Nurse Practitioner include:


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