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Is counseling confidential? Can my professors or my parents find out I’ve been seen at CAPS?

All information that you choose to share is confidential. Information you provide will not be released to anyone outside of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) without your written permission. However, psychologists are required to share information to maintain the safety of you and/or others if you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or someone else. CAPS staff are also required to report any suspected abuse of a child, elder, or dependent adult. In rare circumstances, CAPS staff may have to release information if court-ordered to do so. However, clinical staff has a professional obligation to protect your confidentiality and will seek out legal guidance prior to release of any clinical documentation.

Can my professors or my parents find out I’ve been seen at CAPS?

No, this information is confidential and can only be disclosed if the student receiving services consents to release information.

How much does it cost?

Nothing! All services are FREE for registered students.

What kind of training does your staff have?

All our clinical staff have master's or doctoral level clinical training in the field of psychology and are licensed as psychologists, therapists, or clinical social workers in the state of California.

What services are offered?

CAPS provides individual, group, couple’s, crisis counseling, as well as consultations if you have concerns about someone else. Individuals seeking couple’s counseling must both be students at UCM.

How do I make an appointment for counseling?

Simply call CAPS at (209) 228-4266 or stop by the Counseling Center to make an appointment.

What are your office hours?

CAPS office hours are M-F 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where are you located?

CAPS office is now located in the Health and Athletics Center at the end of Bellevue Rd., on the 2nd floor.

5200 N. Lake Road

Merced, CA 95343

Do I need an appointment to see a psychologist or staff counselor?

Yes, unless you fit specific criteria and are determined to be in crisis. You can call CAPS at 209-228-4266 in order to schedule an appointment. Please know that depending on the volume of services being provided at the time you call that you may have to wait (1-4 weeks) before being able to see a psychologist; therefore it may be most helpful to contact CAPS as soon as possible. This wait time is consistent with community mental health practices.

How long does counseling take?

The number of sessions depends on your presenting concerns.

What do I talk about?

Anything! Common reasons students seek counseling include (but are not limited to): difficulty managing stress or anxiety; concerns about depression; difficulty with academic advisors or other faculty members; relationship concerns; family and cultural concerns, and difficulty balancing academic and personal obligations.

Who can be seen at CAPS?

If you are a registered student, you can be seen at CAPS. Students who are not taking classes during the summer but who are registered for the following fall can be seen in the summer.

Do you have psychologists / counselors that can work with people from varying backgrounds and cultures?

Yes. All psychologists are trained to work with diverse populations.

Do you have therapists who are familiar with gay, lesbian, bisexual, gender identity, and questioning concerns?

Yes. All psychologists are Safe-Zone Trained and have had graduate training to work with the LGBTQ+ population.

What if I am feeling suicidal?

If you feel as though you are in imminent danger of taking your life, please contact 911 or 209-228-2677 (UCM PD). You can also go to your nearest medical center (in Merced this would be Mercy Medical). If after hours, students can contact CAPS crisis line at 209-228-4266, press option 1.

What should I do in case of an emergency or other urgent situation?

If you or someone you know are experiencing a medical emergency or are in imminent danger of hurting yourself or someone else, call 911 or UCM Police at 209-228-2677. Students who feel they are in crisis are encouraged to come to CAPS during business hours (8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. M-F) or call our crisis line after business hours at 209-228-4266. There are specific guidelines that qualify students to be seen for crisis services.

What if I need to talk to someone at night or on weekends?

Students who feel they are in crisis and need to speak with someone at night or on weekends can contact 209-228-4266 (press option 1) in order to speak to a crisis counselor.

What if I need medication?

If you are considering medication intervention, you can schedule an initial appointment or consultation at the UCM Health Center with one of the primary care physicians. The physician will refer you to the psychiatrist if they determine that is the best treatment option for you. Currently the Health Center offers two psychiatric services to students. We have an in-house licensed psychiatrist and tele-psychiatry appointments (similar to Skype). The tele-psychiatrist is a licensed psychiatrist who provides the same community standard of care including consultation, assessment, and if needed, prescription of medication.

If students have Kaiser Permanente medical insurance they can be seen in the health center for consultation but will likely need to seek prescription services through their insurance.

Can I talk to a psychologist about a friend?

Of course. CAPS offers consultation services with students, faculty, staff, and parents regarding concerns for other students. Psychologists are available to meet with you in order to provide guidance on ways that you can help your friend as well as information about on-campus services. In addition, oftentimes it can be distressing to see a friend in need of help, so psychologists are also there to provide you with support.

What if I am a parent, faculty, or staff and need to consult about a student of concern?

Call (209) 228-4266 in order to speak with our clinical staff about your concerns. Although the staff cannot reveal any information regarding clinical services provided to an individual, we are more than willing to listen to your concerns and may determine that contacting the student is necessary. In some cases, parents, faculty and staff do not want the student to know they have reported concerns to CAPS. If this is the case, please notify CAPS staff in order to maintain anonymity.

I think I might have a problem with drinking or substance abuse. Can you help with that?

Yes, however, depending on the degree of abuse or addiction you may be referred to other community resources.

If I go to CAPS does that mean that something is wrong with me?

No. Students request services for a variety of issues such as lack of social support, adjusting to college and/or new environment and family concerns.

Can I request a particular psychologist?

Students are usually scheduled with the next available therapist whose schedule coordinates the clients’. If you have a preference (female or male clinician) you can make that known to administrative staff and they will do their best to accommodate your request.

Can I ask for a referral to an off campus therapist?

Students can absolutely ask for a referral, however, there are limited services in the Merced community. There are referral lists at the CAPS front desk for those interested. Students are also encouraged to contact their health insurance companies so that they can be sure that their off-campus services are covered.

What happens if students I know see me in the waiting area?

Chances are, if they’re seeing you, you’re also seeing them! It is likely that any other student who sees you in the waiting area is also here to get assistance with a health or counseling-related concern. Thus, you should remember that seeking support when you need it is a strength and life skill that can significantly benefit your development and growth as a person.

Will being in therapy affect my ability to get a job?

For the most part, employers are not allowed to ask if you have been in counseling, and future employers will not even know that you attended counseling unless you tell them. There are a few very specific exceptions to this (i.e., if you are applying for a job in law enforcement or for a government agency that requires high security clearance) but you will be informed during the application process in these situations.