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Cowell Center

Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides SCU students with a wide range of mental health and wellness services.

Even if you've never been to a counseling session before, we'll help you feel comfortable and achieve your goals.

Make An Appointment

Call Us to Make or Cancel an Appointment: (408) 554-4501

You may not schedule a CAPS appointment online. You must call or come to the Cowell Center to schedule an appointment. If you would like to discuss your concerns and options for getting help, please call CAPS during normal hours of operation (M-F, 8:30AM to 5:00PM). You will be scheduled for an initial consultation (triage) appointment, which consists of a 20 to 25 minute phone call with a counselor at CAPS. 

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Getting Started at CAPS

At CAPS, we use a short-term model of therapy to best help you work through issues common in a college setting. During the initial consultation (triage) appointment, you will talk privately with a CAPS counselor about your concerns and collaboratively develop a plan that will best meet your needs.

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Counseling FAQs

SCU is committed to keeping our campus community healthy, safe, and informed. Below you will find answers to many of your frequently asked questions. 

While individual counseling can be important to address problems of certain types, experience has shown that group counseling can often be more effective to address these issues. Perhaps it is the opportunity to see that some of what we regard as our most terrible secrets or distasteful aspects are really common human experiences that is so helpful.

Embarrassment or shame keeps many people from taking advantage of group counseling. Overcoming these feelings about aspects of ourselves is an important part of living our lives more successfully. Group counseling is very helpful in this respect.

Each individual is unique as are their concerns. Still, as people we have a great deal in common. (We all grow up in families. We all react to hurt in similar ways. We all have the same basic capacity to grow and change.) While the problems people bring to counseling can be quite different, the underlying issues which produce these problems are often similar.

Groups provide a special setting in which we can learn about ourselves, about others, and about ourselves in relation to others. This can help us to be more effective in our relationships with others and with ourselves outside the group. It takes time, helpful observations and support from others to recognize and change our ways of living.

The most important question is the one you will ask yourself: How do I feel about this person? Do they seem comfortable and compatible for me? Do they seem empathetic? Naturally, you will feel somewhat anxious with each of the therapists you meet, but there will be differences in your feelings toward each. Pay attention to these feelings. (Don't ignore your feelings. If you have a creepy or uncomfortable feeling, choose someone else.)

There are several questions that you should be sure to have answered when you make the appointment or during the first session. Be sure to write down notes about the answers to your questions so you can remember better later. Try to get at least some of your questions answered on the phone before scheduling an appointment so that you can follow up and spend more time on other issues in your meeting. The answers to some questions may actually determine whether you want to include a counselor in your list of several to meet.

You want to make sure that you do not spend more than about one-third of the meeting discussing the therapist. It is very important to spend time talking about you and your problems and hearing what the therapist has to say about you.

Unless your situation is an emergency, after you finish with your questions, make it clear to therapist that you would like them to spend some time during your first meeting demonstrating how they would actually work with you in therapy (in addition to asking you questions or simply describing their approach).

It is important to attend each meeting from beginning to end. Be early or on-time. Regular meetings are important to the effectiveness of counseling. If you become ill or have a conflicting obligation and must miss an appointment, you should call your counselor as far in advance as possible to reschedule. Counselors have different policies about charges for missed and canceled meetings. Be sure to get information about the policy of your counselor.

At the SCU Counseling Center, all appointments are free of charge if you are an enrolled SCU student. Off campus, experienced therapists charge a minimum of $50 - 60 per hour--often more--with some psychiatrists charging up to $150 per hour. Average fees charged by experienced therapists are about $75 - 100 per hour. Group therapy costs considerable less, often about $40 per meeting.

Some therapists offer 'sliding scale' fees (low income clients are charged less). You should inquire if your income is moderate to low. Clinics often have lower fees than private practitioners. Training institutes have low fee referral services or clinics where therapists are receiving additional training in a specific treatment approach. (Sometimes these trainees can be quite experienced, but can also be newly trained. Be sure to ask.)

Most therapists accept insurance. Most insurance covers only part payment of therapy fees. Many therapists will ask you to pay first and submit bills for reimbursement by your insurance company.

Give therapy a chance. Consider the first couple of months as a trial period. It usually takes at least that long to experience progress, depending on your problems and issues. Progress is usually inhibited by changing from one therapist to another frequently. On the other hand, if you have been in treatment for a year or more and are not making progress, you might consider making a change. You should discuss this issue with your current therapist. Although you might find this embarrassing, they may be able to point out areas of progress that you have not been focusing on.

In considering when to discontinue treatment, ask yourself whether the problems that caused you to seek therapy have been resolved and whether any additional problems or issues have come to your attention that you may wish to resolve. Also consider the advice of your therapist. A frank discussion of the advisability of terminating treatment is usually useful. Remember that no decision about counseling or psychotherapy is irrevocable. While you may seek advice from others, decisions to begin and end treatment and the choice


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