Individual and Couples Counseling
Getting the Most Out of Individual Counseling
Getting the Most Out of Group Counseling
Use of Psychiatric Medications to Treat Mental Health Concerns
Possible Discontinuation Reaction from Serotonin Reuptake Inhibition
Services Provided at CAPS
Individual and Couples Counseling
The first step to accessing counseling services is to call CAPS for a telephone screening between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If it is determined that you may be best served by CAPS' services, an initial consultation appointment will be scheduled to obtain additional information. If CAPS services are appropriate for your needs you will be assigned to work with a therapist for short-term counseling. Sessions are usually scheduled once every week or two, or sometimes less frequently depending on the situation. If you need specialized services, or long-term or more intensive assistance, you may be referred to mental health providers or agencies on campus or in the community.
Couples counseling is provided on a limited basis. If you and your spouse/eligible partner are in need of longer-term couples counseling, a CAPS clinician will provide couples counseling referral options on campus or in the community.
If you have paid the student health fee, CAPS' services are available at a reduced cost. Please see Costs for additional information on charges and financial assistance available.
For additional information about individual counseling please see Getting the Most Out of Individual Counseling.
Group Counseling: Unstructured Groups, Structured Groups, and Workshops
Groups are the treatment of choice for some student concerns. Each semester, CAPS offers a variety of groups facilitated by our clinical staff. Groups that have been offered previously include mindfulness and meditation groups, yoga groups, groups that focus on anxiety and stress management, depression, eating problems, relationships, and family concerns. Groups are available for our diverse student body at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Types of Groups Offered at CAPS:
- Unstructured groups (e.g., undergraduate and graduate relationship groups) do not have a specific topic or focus and emphasize interaction among group members. Group members are encouraged to discuss any personal concerns they wish to discuss, to give and receive feedback and support, and learn from interactions with one another.
- Structured groups typically focus on a specific topic (e.g., anxiety and depression management) and are educational rather than focusing on interaction among group members. Group members may interact but discussions are primarily topic-focused.
- Workshops, like structured groups, focus on a specific topic (e.g., stress management) but are more time-limited.
Groups typically meet once per week for about ninety minutes, and are comprised of a small group of members and one or two facilitators. Some groups meet for the entire semester (e.g., unstructured and structured groups) and others meet for only a few sessions (e.g., workshops).
Regardless of the type of group, group members abide by the principle of confidentiality, which means that what happens in the group stays in the group. Members must also commit to regular attendance. Prior to joining a group, we ask that you call CAPS and schedule a brief telephone screening. If it is determined that CAPS' services are appropriate for you, you will be scheduled for an initial consultation appointment. The clinician conducting the initial consultation will discuss group options with you.
If you are interested in participating in a structured or unstructured group, following the initial consultation appointment you will be scheduled to meet with a group facilitator for a group screening. The purpose of the group screening is to determine if the group is an appropriate match for you, and to provide information about group participation.
Students who have paid the student health fee are eligible for participation in groups at a reduced rate. There is a nominal charge each semester for participation in groups. There are no session limits for group participation.
For additional information about group participation please see Getting the Most Out of Groups Counseling.
Psychological testing can help you and your clinician better understand your concerns. Psychological testing may be recommended to help focus the goals of counseling, to clarify difficulties, to target specific problems such as substance abuse or eating disorders, or to assess and treat AD/HD. Testing may be needed during the course of your treatment or may occur as a separate service. If you are interested in testing for a specific issue (e.g., AD/HD, substance abuse, eating disorders) please call for a telephone screening between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, which may be followed up by an initial consultation appointment as appropriate. Costs for testing services may be obtained by contacting CAPS.
CAPS does not provide testing for accommodations for standardized tests such as the: LSAT, GRE, DAT, PCAT, and MCAT. These tests require a full neuropsychological battery which CAPS does not offer.
AD/HD testing must have been completed within the past three years in order for medications to be prescribed through CAPS. If testing is completed outside of CAPS, documentation must be reviewed and approved prior to medication being prescribed.
For further information on AD/HD assessment please see Concentration Difficulties.
Medical Evaluation and Monitoring:
Psychiatric Services is one of the treatment options which may be available to you as a UGA student. CAPS has full and part-time psychiatric staff available to serve you.
If you are new to UGA or have not been seen at CAPS within the last six months, we ask that you call CAPS for a telephone screening between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If it appears that CAPS services will be a good match for your needs, an initial consultation appointment with a therapist will be scheduled. If the results of the initial assessment suggest it would be useful to see one of CAPS' psychiatrists, a referral may be made. Your first visit with the psychiatrist is usually an evaluation, which focuses on the concerns for which you were referred. During the initial evaluation the psychiatrist will talk to you about treatment recommendations and discuss a preliminary treatment plan. If you agree with the treatment plan, then a decision about ongoing treatment, possibly involving the use of medication, will be discussed. For some people, counseling by CAPS therapists and medication monitoring by CAPS psychiatrists provides a comprehensive system of treatment all under the same roof.
If your counselor/therapist is outside of CAPS, then you will need to have your medication needs addressed outside of CAPS by a provider recommended by your counselor/therapist. We believe the best care is possible when your therapist and your prescribing practitioner have an on-going working relationship that is then put to use on your behalf.
Unfortunately, on some occasions a student's concern requires care that is beyond that which we can provide at CAPS. If this occurs, we will work with you to establish care with a community psychiatrist outside of the UHC.
Transferring Medication to CAPS:
More and more students are coming to the university already being treated with medications. We would like to be able to assist you with your medications but some preparation is needed to transfer your care here.
Even though you may be doing well on medications at present, we want to get to know you and your mental health needs before we can assume responsibility for prescribing and/or monitoring your medication. This process starts with completing a telephone screening. If it is appropriate for you to have your medications transferred to the University Health Center, an initial consultation appointment will be scheduled. If your needs are beyond the scope of our services, we will refer you to outside providers in the community.
At the time of the initial consultation appointment, you may be asked to sign a release of information form for us to obtain your treatment records from your previous physician or therapist. We will mail or fax this request promptly but it may take a few weeks for us to obtain the records depending on the response time of your former physician or therapist. If you have been formally evaluated for AD/HD or have other documentation (e.g., hospital discharge summaries, psychological testing results), we will also ask you to sign a release of information form in order to obtain copies for our records. Usually, all records must be reviewed prior to being accepted for medication monitoring.
The psychiatrist will review the records before meeting with you to better focus the interview while maintaining a high quality of health care. If a combination of medication and counseling is recommended, you will be assigned to work with a CAPS therapist. If you are running low on your medication, we suggest that you call your former physician to ask for a prescription to be phoned in to a pharmacy in Athens. Your physician is familiar with your care, and is in the best position to supply you with medication in an interim period. Let your physician know you are looking into transferring your services to CAPS and request a four-week supply of medication. Your former physician may phone this information into a local pharmacy when you provide the phone number to a pharmacy where you would like to obtain your medications. You may also choose to have your medication filled at the University Health Center pharmacy (see Pharmacy). The phone number for the UHC pharmacy is 706-542-9979 or 706-542-8627. If you are taking medication that cannot be called into a local pharmacy, mailing you a prescription may be an option as well. A four-week supply should be adequate to obtain records about previous treatment, complete the evaluation process and provide recommendations.
Once medication has been prescribed, it is likely that your psychiatrist will want to schedule a follow-up appointment for medication monitoring. If a CAPS psychiatrist is currently prescribing medication for you, please anticipate and make contact for a refill when your prescription runs low. Students who wait to contact CAPS for medication refills within 24 hours of medications expiring will be charged a late service fee. If you need to have a medication refilled, please call and schedule a follow-up appointment as soon as possible. By making an appointment, waiting time will be significantly reduced. Follow-up appointments can be made by calling 706-542-2273.
Please be aware that you will be charged a fee if you fail to keep an appointment or do not cancel an appointment by 5:00 pm the working day prior to the appointment.
Although some people do well with medication alone, many benefit from a combination of psychotherapy (group or individual) and medication. Your CAPS psychiatrist may recommend that you work with a CAPS therapist in conjunction with being provided a prescription for medication. The University Health Center is staffed for short-term counseling and psychological treatment. Our psychiatrists serve a student population of over 33,500 students. Although we would prefer to meet the mental health needs of all students, realistically we only have a limited number of times available for medication evaluation and management. Our telephone screening and initial consultation evaluation process is designed to assist us in determining if your needs match the services we are able to provide at CAPS. A student with more urgent conditions may be accepted into our care, during which time we will help the student obtain appropriate treatment and work with the student to establish services within the community.
Because CAPS staff provides services that are short-term or time limited, a student in need of more intensive, long-term counseling or specialized treatment, may be referred to a community mental health provider. Unfortunately, there are times when demand for services exceeds the resources available, necessitating a referral to a community mental health provider, even when students are within our scope of service. Decisions regarding access to care are based on the fit between your psychological and psychiatric needs and the scope of services we provide. If a referral is suggested, we will supply you with a list of providers in the community and help facilitate your transfer to the appropriate referral option.
For more information about medications please see Use of Psychiatric Medications to Treat Mental Health Concerns.
CAPS provides crisis services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During regular working hours students in crisis may call CAPS at 706-542-2273 and speak with a clinician or come to CAPS and be seen by a walk-in clinician. Students who walk-in for services will be asked to complete clinical questionnaires prior to seeing the walk-in clinician. After hours and on weekends or holidays, the on-call clinician may be contacted by calling the UGA Police at 706-542-2200. The on-call clinician will then contact the student by phone.
Please see Crisis: During and After Hours for additional information.
Administrators, faculty, staff, students and parents at the University of Georgia have access to the expertise of our professional staff. While we primarily serve students, we also provide consultation services such as:
- Consulting with UGA faculty, staff, and parents about how to help a student in distress
- Liaison relationships between our staff and campus organizations to assure continuity of care and timely exchange of important information
Under Georgia law, mental health records are privileged and confidential. Specific information regarding a student under our care will not be released unless the student has permitted us to do so. Without a release of information we can neither confirm nor deny that a student is receiving services at CAPS. Exceptions to confidentiality may occur only under certain circumstances. These exceptions include serious immediate threat to the life or welfare of the student or to the life or welfare of another person or to the campus community. For more information see Statement of Confidentiality.
University faculty, staff, academic departments, student groups, and organizations may request outreach programs addressing a range of mental health topics. Outreach programs often focus on meeting the developmental needs of our students and on promoting their academic, personal, social, and psychological growth through use of didactic and experiential programs.
Examples of CAPS outreach programs are listed below but other topics also may be requested. Requests for outreach programs must be made two weeks in advance of the anticipated outreach presentation.
Please be aware that CAPS staff may not be able to accommodate all outreach program requests. Our ability to respond to outreach requests may be impacted by factors such as current demand for services and availability of staff to present on a given topic.
Mental Health Workshops/Programs by CAPS:
- Improving self-esteem
- Relationships and Technology (e.g., Facebook, texting)
- Healthy relationships
- Improving communication
- Increasing assertiveness
- Stress management for emotional regulation
- Managing depression and anxiety around the holidays
- How to deal with conflict with your roommates
- Improving your body image
- Signs/symptoms of an eating disorder
- Diversity issues
- Depression and suicide
- CAPS' services
- How to approach and refer a friend you suspect has an eating disorder
- How to approach and refer a friend you suspect has a problem with drugs or alcohol
- How to approach and refer a friend you suspect is intentionally engaging in self-injury
- How to approach and refer a friend you think is depressed or anxious
- How to identify and refer distressed students
- How to help a friend who has been sexually assaulted
To request an outreach presentation, please complete the following online form: Request an Outreach Presentation.
Mental Health Education and Relaxation Exercises
CAPS has a library of audio/visual mental health education and relaxation materials that may be used by students. Mental health education and relaxation materials may be viewed/listened to in CAPS' Relaxation Room during regular working hours. CAPS also has on-line assessments and audio/visual mental health education and relaxation exercises available on our website (see Topics of Interest, Online Self-Assessment, and Online Relaxation Exercises).