U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

This article provides a detailed over view of the many different types of counseling options available to students seeking help.


Initial Consultation

Check out the cool video to learn about making the Initial Consultation appointment!

Once you have come to CAPS and complete the online intake information you will be set up for a 30 minute face-to-face Initial Consultation (IC) appointment with a CAPS counselor within 1-5 days (depending on student demand during certain points of the year).  Some weeks during the semester have bigger fluctuations in demand.  

See Current Wait Time HERE.  During this IC, you can expect to:

  • Discuss the concern(s) that brought you to seek services at CAPS
  • During an IC, if you are in crisis or have a more urgent situation, you will be referred to our Counselor on Duty (COD) for immediate help.

 Collaboratively make decisions for the most effective next steps for treatment that include the following possible options:

  1. First Counseling Appointment with a CAPS counselor for brief, solution focused individual counseling
  2. Participation in a CAPS therapeutic group
  3. Participation in a common concerns clinical workshop
  4. Participation in one of our three in-depth screening services (~3 sessions) for alcohol/other other drug issues, ADHD, or eating issues.
  5. Connect with a CAPS Case Manager for comprehensive treatment planning for treatment elsewhere on campus or in the Ann Arbor community
  6. Connection to other UM resources that support mental health care
  7. Referral to a community mental health provider for open-ended therapeutic treatment 

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling provides an opportunity to talk with an objective, caring professional about your concerns or problems in a brief, solution focused manner. Concerns discussed range widely, but might include feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, academic concerns, substance use, issues with friends and family, or relationship concerns. Counseling sessions last 45 minutes (they start quarter after the hour and end on the hour). 

Information about psychiatric and screening appointments

Couples Counseling

Couples Counseling is provided for any couple with at least one enrolled University of Michigan student and who might be dealing with concerns and difficulties within the relationship.

Group Counseling

Group counseling offers an opportunity for students to meet others who may have similar experiences and want to pursue personal growth in a safe, supportive environment. Groups usually meet once a week and have 5-10 members, and often have a specific focus, i.e. self-esteem, graduate student issues, building relationships, and women's issues.

Urgent/Crisis Services

If you are in a crisis or have an urgent need, you can access our AFTER HOURS support or during CAPS Business Hours talk or be seen by our Counselor on Duty.   Our Counselor on Duty can meet with you between 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Monday - Thursday or 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Friday during the Fall and WInter semsters.

You will need to come to CAPS,  fill out the Welcome to CAPS form and check the box next to "Do you need to be seen today?" and complete the computer intake forms.  If you are experiencing a great deal of stress we'll ask you to complete some brief basic information and then you'll be able to see a counselor right away.

Examples of reasons to see the "Counselor on Duty" include:

  • If you are not feeling safe
  • If someone close to you has died recently
  • If you have a difficult decision to make in the next 2 - 3 days
  • If you have been sexually assaulted within the past 72 hours
  • If you have been experiencing a lot of stress for a long time and feel like you really must speak with someone today 


First Appointment With Psychiatric Staff

If you are interested in scheduling a psychiatric evaluation, you must first make an Initial Consultation (IC) appointment with a CAPS counselor. If, after the IC, you are referred for counseling at CAPS, you will be scheduled for a First Counseling Appointment (FCA). At the FCA, you and your counselor will determine whether a psychiatric referral is therapeutically appropriate and/or recommended. If so, your counselor will assist you in making an appointment with a member of our Psychiatry team.

If you are not currently in need of counseling but need a medication refill and/or ongoing treatment for a current psychiatric condition, CAPS can offer referrals to psychiatrists in the community or to the Medical Clinic at the University Health Service (UHS). Referral information can be obtained by calling CAPS and requesting to speak to the Counselor on Duty.

The initial psychiatric evaluation is scheduled for 90 minutes.  During this time, the psychiatrist will ask questions about your general health as well as your emotional health. Be prepared to discuss any prescription medications, over the counter medications or herbal preparations you are taking. You will also be asked about medical conditions, family medical history and known medication allergies.

If medication is recommended in addition to the counseling you are receiving at CAPS, the psychiatrist will discuss diagnosis, medication effects, potential side effects, provide instructions for taking the medication and answer any questions or concerns you might have. At the end of your evaluation, a return appointment will typically be scheduled within 1-2 weeks to discuss your experience with the medication and to determine if any modifications are needed. From there, you will be monitored by a psychiatrist or primary care physician for as long as you continue to take medication.

First Appointment For ADHD Concerns

If you are referred for an ADHD screening from another office or department or if you are interested in participating in an ADHD screening, you will need to schedule a 30 minute Initial Consultation (IC) with CAPS counselor and then during that consultation request to meet with someone on our staff trained in conducting ADHD screenings. 

However, you need to be aware that a screening does not provide enough information to definitively diagnose ADHD. Some students may need to be referred for a more comprehensive evaluation other than CAPS after the screening.

After completing the screening your counselor may refer you for a medication evaluation. 

CAPS only provides ADHD medication to those who are also actively involved in counseling and who have no insurance coverage. If you have insurance you will be referred to a community psychiatrist for a medication evaluation and monitoring.

If you are interested in ADHD Medication Only (and not counseling):

If you have been previously diagnosed with ADHD and can provide documentation about your recent diagnosis and treatment, University Health Service or a psychiatrist in the community will be able to assist you with medication.

If you have never been diagnosed with ADHD, you will need to see a community psychiatrist.  Psychiatrists may be found through our off campus mental health provider list. Alternatively, you can schedule a Referral First Appointment with our Case Manager, who will assist you with finding a psychiatrist.

If you are interested in Academic Accommodations for ADHD:

You will need to provide specific documentation from a licensed mental health professional in order to receive accommodations through the office of Services for Students with Disabilities


First Appointment for Eating and Body Image Concerns

If you are interested in participating in a free, confidential, EPA (Eating Patterns Assessment) or If you are referred from another office, you will need to schedule a 30 minute Initial Consultation (IC) with CAPS counselor and then during that consultation request to meet with someone on our staff trained in conducting this assessment that holistically examines patterns of restrictive eating, overeating, and compensatory behaviors.  You will be referred for a First Counseling Appointment for the purpose of pursuing the Eating Patterns Assessment.

This is a three part process involving :

  • The Clinical Interview is completed with a trained mental health provider in two 45-minute sessions.  This is an in-person, one-on-one assessment of current and past eating patterns, concerns about eating or compensatory behaviors, and the bio-psycho-social impact of eating patterns.
  • Two take-home measures help to identify and quantify eating concerns: the Eating Disorder Inventory ® and the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire ®.
  • The student then receives receives personalized feedback including themes that arose during the EPA, high scores from the measures along with their standard interpretations, and recommendations.

Students are encouraged to be engaged through this process and to work together with the counselor to determine next steps for treatment or ongoing support at the conclusion of the EPA.


 First Appointment for Alcohol and Other Drug Concerns

If you are referred for a confidential ASAP (Assessment of Substance Abuse Patterns) from another office or department or if you are interested in participaing in an ASAP, you will need to schedule a 30 minute Initial Consultation (IC) with a CAPS counselor and then during that consultation request to meet with someone on our staff trained in conducting this assessment of alcohol, marijuana and other drug use. 

This is a two-part process involving:

  • An opportunity for each student to examine patterns of alcohol, marijuana or other drug use and related concerns within the context of the “whole person”.
  • The student receives personally-relevant feedback from the trained CAPS counselor  and is then supported in making realistic decisions about their future use, choices and goals.

A Special Focus on Sexualized Violence

CAPS works closely with SAPAC and other units to deliver a campus wide approach to supporting students who are survivors of sexualized violence.  The unique role of CAPS is to support the campus wide education activities, and then to deliver confidential clinical support via individual counselingcrisis intervention, and group counseling options.

For more in-depth information see HERE.

Lunch Series

International Student Lunch Discussion -This group is a space for students to have informal discussions covering a variety of topics such as: adjusting to U of M, cultural adjustment, making friends/relationships, and managing academic stress during Fall and Winter semesters. No appointment needed! Free lunch to be provided, but feel free to bring your lunch if you prefer. For further information or if you have questions, feel free to contact  Junichi Shimaoka at shimaoka@umich.edu

My Brothers: Lunch Series for Men of Color - This is a lunch series for men of color by men of color and will address topics relevant for men of color at the University of Michigan during Fall and Winter semesters. These luncheons will provide a blend of food, fellowship, dialogue and mentoring. Invited speakers will facilitate rousing, animated discussions on topics that impact men of color. You will have a chance to express your experiences here at U of M and build connections with other men of color.  My Brothers is a safe space open to all self-identified men of color. Free lunch provided. Group meets on Tuesdays, 12:10 PM - 1:30 PM in the CSG Chambers on the 3rd floor of the Michigan Union.

Nourish: Lunch Series for Women of Color -This is a lunch series for self-identified women of color by women of color! Invited speakers facilitate rousing animated discussions on topics that impact us as women of color during Fall and Winter semesters. Topics include but are not limited to: issues of identity, sexuality, relationships, career demands, etc. Free lunch provided. Group meets on Thursdays, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM in the CSG Chambers on the 3rd floor of the Michigan Union.


Referral Services

Sometimes what a student needs from CAPS is direction in securing services at another place on campus or in Ann Arbor.  Examples of reasons to seek referral services from CAPS:

  • When you know you want longer-term treatment
  • When it's unclear which resource on campus or in Ann Arbor is best for you
  • When you need help with insurance coverage questions.  We can work with your insurance and ensure a good 'fit' with where you might want to seek services in the community

To receive assistance for these or other referral issues you will need to  come in and tell our front desk staff that you would like to make an appointment with our Case Manager.  You will need to fill out the intake form and then an appointment will be scheduled with you. 

Or, you can navigate the Community Provider Database which provides detailed information of therapists in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area on your own.