Effective Date: 
Fri, 08/01/2008
Mon, 05/07/2018
Tue, 11/21/2017

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers services to all currently enrolled students at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  As mental health practitioners, our scope of services consists of providing or facilitating access to counseling and mental health services.  CAPS provides both psychotherapy and psychopharmalogical treatment.  Our psychotherapy generally follows a brief therapy model that consist of providing a handful of sessions around a specifically identified issue or helping a student transition to longer term treatment. Our psychiatric service can provide on-going medication treatment if appropriate.  We collaborate with other UCSC campus  services (housing, academic advisors, disability resource center, etc.) to ensure students get the resources they need. If we have an established treatment relationship with a student, we will complete forms to support students working with these other services or offer an opinion regarding the student’s request. CAPS is committed to meeting the diverse needs of each student and considers their sociocultural context when making treatment recommendations.  We seek to identify underserved populations and outreach to provide culturally sensitive services.

Limitations on Treatment:
When students have been assessed to require a higher level of care than can be provided at CAPS (e.g.- long-term therapy, Intensive  Outpatient treatment, substance abuse detoxification and intensive treatment, complex psychopharmological treatment), we work with them to find appropriate off-campus referrals and treatment.  If such services are refused, we reserve the right to administratively discharge them from our services.  In no event (other than presenting a clear danger to staff) would we refuse to provide a crisis evaluation (as defined in policy II.B.).

In order to ensure that we maximize the number of students who benefit from our services we generally do not provide long term, on-going therapy. We will often work with off-campus partners to address those needs.

The following are brief summaries of the services offered:

  • Brief Therapy:  CAPS utilizes a brief therapy model in the provision of individual, couples, and family counseling to address personal, academic, social, or family concerns.  Following an Initial Assessment, each student’s needs are assessed on an individual basis for the appropriateness of a brief treatment approach.  Students whose needs might be met best from a longer term model may be referred off-campus.
  • Psychiatry Services: Psychiatry services are offered by referral from other CAPS staff, the UCSC Student Health Center, or an off-campus medical or counseling professional.  Psychiatry staff conduct diagnostic evaluations and prescribe medications to address mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. CAPS staff psychiatrists also offer follow up services, medication management and on-going care. Prescription refill requests will be processed only during regular CAPS hours.
  • Counseling Groups:  Counseling groups are available throughout the academic year and are advertised each quarter. Groups provide opportunities for students to explore personal issues with peers in order to develop awareness, increase their emotional support and interpersonal skills.  Specialized groups may be offered on a variety of issues, such as life transitions, eating awareness, depression, anxiety, sexual abuse survivors, and groups for students of color.
  • Crisis Services   Students who are in need of emergency crisis services may call 831-459-2628 for a crisis consultation or can be seen for a crisis assessment at the CAPS central office.  A risk assessment is conducted and treatment recommendations are made by CAPS counseling staff.  The CAPS Central Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.
  • Phone Triages   Students who are only interested in off-campus referrals are given a half hour time slot to call in to one of our clinicians.  During this time a risk assessment is conducted, the presenting problem is discussed and a plan for ongoing services is determined.
  • After Hours Crisis Service:  An off-site mental health phone service is available evenings and weekends. The service is accessed by contacting the CAPS central phone number (459-2628) and selecting the menu option of After Hours Crisis Services. The service is available to all members of the UCSC community (students, staff and faculty) and provides telephone-based risk assessment, crisis triage, and safety planning. The off-site provider can offer immediate consultation and support by phone regarding a variety of issues and can facilitate the transition to CAPS daytime services. As needed, the after-hours provider will contact CAPS or other UCSC officials to mobilize campus and community resources in case of an emergency.
  • Referral Services:  CAPS offers referral services to off-campus providers when appropriate for longer term treatment or treatment that is outside our scope of service or expertise.
  • Let's Talk: CAPS offers a drop-in program in different locations on campus where students can stop by for a brief, confidential converstation with a counselor to receive consultation, support, referrals, and advice. See Appendix
  • Consultation Services: Consultation is available to staff, faculty, administrators and family members who are concerned about a student who may be at-risk of harm or in need of counseling services.  Upon contacting the CAPS central office, these third party consultation calls are referred directly to the crisis counselor on call. The CAPS Central Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.  For non-emergency consultation, staff, faculty, students and residential communities can also contact CAPS staff directly for consultation.
  • Outreach Services:  CAPS offers a variety of outreach services, including workshops addressing students' developmental, situational, and lifelong concerns. Workshops can include academic skill topics such as time and stress management, study skills, and test anxiety. Workshops may also be offered on a broad range of psychological issues such as interpersonal communication, sexuality, and parenting.
  • Curriculum:  From time to time, CAPS staff offer courses sponsored by colleges in areas such as multiculturalism and academic success.