Frequently Asked Questions

What services does CAPS offer?

We provide a variety of services including counseling for individuals and couples, crisis intervention, groups, workshops, classroom presentations, campus-wide consultations, presentations to student groups/staff/faculty, and referrals to the community.

Who can use CAPS?

Currently enrolled SSU students that have paid the mental health fee (part of the registration fees) are eligible for our services. (This does not include Extended Education and Open University Students.) For couples/partner counseling, both individuals must be enrolled SSU students.

What can I talk with my counselor about?

Your counselor will act as a facilitator to help you express your concerns and what may be troubling you. They'll ask questions to try to understand your concerns. You're free to express any concerns that you would like. Sometimes you may know quite clearly “what’s bothering you,” and your counselor will help you develop new strategies for dealing with these problems. At other times you may have general feelings like being “anxious,” “depressed,” or “unmotivated.” Your counselor can help you begin to clarify these feelings by asking questions and offering feedback about what they're hearing or observing.

Students discuss a variety of topics with their counselors, such as relationship issues, stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness, sexuality, eating issues, perfectionism, academic concerns, discrimination, and transition difficulties.

Will anyone else have access to information about me?

Everything you say to your counselor is confidential. Our staff will not release information that without a signed release from you. The exceptions to confidentiality are based on legality, and include belief there's an imminent danger of harm to yourself or someone else, or if we need to report child, dependent, or elder abuse.

If I go to CAPS does that mean there's something wrong with me?

No, it doesn’t. Most students who use our services are interested in their personal growth and adjustment to changes in their lives. Many students face normal developmental concerns and academic pressures while at SSU, and at times feel anxious, angry, or depressed. Lots of time it's helpful to gain the perspective of a neutral professional. CAPS staff is trained to help you think about alternatives or options to your behavior and ways of dealing with the world.

How long may I be seen?

We focus on short-term therapy. Students can be seen for up to 10 sessions per academic year. The exact number of sessions will be determined during discussion with your counselor.

What if I need to be seen longer?

If your concerns require long-term or more intensive counseling, we will help you to connect with a private therapist or community agency. We are familiar with most of the social service agencies in Sonoma County.

How do I make an appointment?

Please call 707-664-2153 or come by the office during office hours, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

What if my needs are urgent?

Emergency drop-in hours are from Monday - Friday, 10 am - 4 pm. We consider it an emergency when: <

  • Current intent to harm another or thoughts of harming another
  • Hallucinations (seeing/hearing things that don't exist or that others don't see/hear)
  • Death of a loved one, in the last month, that significantly impacts your functioning
  • Trauma, in the last month, that significantly impacts your functioning (physical/sexual assault, domestic violence, acts of discrimination/hate)
  • This is a brief meeting reserved specifically for emergencies. Your counselor will assist you with any further services. In addition, 24 hours a day, you can call Sonoma County Crisis Line at (707) 576-8181, or call SSU Police Services at (707) 664-4444.

    What if I am concerned about a friend or roommate?

    You can set an appointment and talk with a counselor about what you can do to help your friend and/or help them see a counselor. If you think your friend is in a serious crisis, call immediately. If CAPS is closed, call University Police (707) 664-4444.

    Can I request a particular counselor?

    We are not able to allow clients to choose a counselor, mostly because there are usually more students requesting services than available counselors. We'll assign you to a counselor based on schedule availabilty. If you have a preference with respect to gender, race/ethnicity, or sexual orientation, please let us know and we will try to accommodate you. If you have any concerns, you can discuss them with your counselor in the first session.

    What if I need to talk with someone on evenings or weekends?

    CAPS is not open on evenings, weekends, holidays, or vacation breaks. If you need services during these times, you can talk with a counselor about being referred to an off-campus counselor. If it is an emergency, please call the Sonoma County Crisis Line at (707) 576-8181, or the SSU Police Department at (707) 664-4444.