In support of the educational goals of the University and the Division of Student Life, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides a range of clinical, preventative, and training services consistent with the practices and standards of a nationally accredited university counseling center. CAPS is committed to creating a safe and supportive environment based on our multicultural, multi-disciplinary and multi-theoretical values and practices that allow our diverse student body to access care, to receive high quality services, and to take positive pathways to mental health.
Our staff are all licensed professionals (i.e., psychologists, social workers, and professional counselors), or supervised trainees who practice in accordance with their training, professional standards and ethics, and state law. Trainees operate under the license of their supervisor. All CAPS clinicians identify as “generalists” and have experience working with concerns such as anxiety, depression, emotional management, academic performance, relationship problems, eating concerns, substance abuse, and stress among others. CAPS has a diverse staff with regard to race, ethnicity, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, age, languages spoken, professional discipline, and intervention approaches that all contribute to providing mental health services for students.
CAPS licensed therapists provide confidential clinical services for eligible U of M undergraduate and graduate students. We strive to provide services in an inclusive atmosphere that is welcoming, comfortable, and multiculturally sensitive for all students.
Mental health therapy goes by different names including counseling, psychotherapy, talk therapy, and supportive counseling. It is a collaborative process between a client and counselor that begins with establishing a trusting and respectful relationship in a caring and nonjudgmental environment. Together the client and counselor explore the client’s concerns and develop mutually agreed upon goals for therapy. Some typical goals include:
- Identifying and changing patterns of thinking or believing that hinder personal and academic success or create and maintain problem situations
- Deepening understanding of oneself
- Discovering and developing personal strengths
- Developing or regaining a sense of control and pleasure in life
- Developing or improving coping skills
- Asking for help and support from friends, family, and other campus resources
- Creating a greater understanding of oneself in relationships with others
Generally, therapy offers students an opportunity to explore their concerns and discover ways to improve their situations in a confidential and safe setting. CAPS provides individual, group, and relationship therapy.
Furthermore, CAPS has established several multidisciplinary teams to support students that experience specific concerns (i.e., Eating Issues Network [EIN]; Gender Affirming Care Team; Survivor Support Team [SST]).
CAPS clinicians are available for students needing immediate, same-day access to a mental health professional during our business hours. Reasons to meet with a Counselor on Duty include, but are not limited to:
- If a student is not feeling safe
- If a student has to make a difficult decision in the next 2-3 days
- If a student has been sexually assaulted within the past 72 hours
- If a student has been experiencing a lot of stress for a long time and feels like they urgently need to speak to someone
- If a student has experienced a sudden or unexpected loss
Outside of business hours, CAPS After Hours offers 24/7 support to any UM student or any person concerned about a UM student. This is an extension of CAPS and can assist in any mental health crisis situation. In addition to individual crisis services, the CAPS Crisis Response Team (CRT) provides group support following community crises or traumatic events. CRT’s approach is based on Critical Incident Stress Management theory and is tailored specifically to the community in need of support.
CAPS provides consultation services to faculty, staff, students, campus partners, parents, and community providers regarding mental health concerns. Early identification of concerns and appropriate intervention can better assist connecting students with needed services. CAPS provides consultation services both through the Counselor on Duty and through liaison relationships with departments, programs, schools, and colleges across campus.
CAPS Embedded Model
The CAPS Embedded Model is a unique way to provide services for specific schools and colleges within U of M. CAPS embedded therapists are located in 18 different Schools and Colleges at U-M, and provide dedicated and tailored services to students in that school or college. Embedded therapists are familiar with the unique culture and demands of their specific academic units and are able to quickly and flexibly respond to referrals from their academic unit.
Embedded therapists are also available to faculty and staff for consultation about students of concern. They engage in outreach specifically tailored to the culture and unique demands of the academic unit.
CAPS Care Management provides support for students connecting with resources both on and off campus, as well as connecting with providers across campus and in the Ann Arbor community. Care management also includes staying current on relevant resources for UM students, following up with various resources on a students' behalf, offering consultation to other clinical staff regarding care management concerns, and being involved in campus-wide, inter-departmental initiatives such as the Clinical Care Management Team (CCMT) which focuses on supporting students discharged from local area hospitals in getting connected to appropriate resources for continued care. Care Management may involve one or more meetings and may include brief therapeutic support. Reasons for using Care Management include:
- When connecting to a community provider for ongoing counseling has been complicated
- When it is unclear which campus or community resource(s) might be helpful
- When navigating insurance coverage and/or finding affordable services
- When seeking support for concerns such as food or housing insecurity, emergencies, or other unmet needs.
Outreach and Community Engagement
CAPS provides outreach and community engagement programming to increase mental health awareness and community wellness through prevention, education and stigma reduction. Through outreach, CAPS staff members connect with the larger UM community, strengthen our “community of caring,” and connect with students who might not traditionally utilize counseling, such as underrepresented or marginalized communities. Outreach provides a way for students to help a friend, reduce stigma, and receive support without engaging in therapy. CAPS outreach also works to create a more supportive campus by encouraging staff and faculty involvement in education and prevention efforts.
CAPS outreach efforts include campus-wide events; suicide prevention programming; student engagement programming such as the CAPS Student Advisory Board and CAPS In Action; peer support such as individual peer counseling and the Wolverine Support Network; workshops and presentations such as CAPS 101; community engagement such as our lunch series for self-identified Women of Color, self-identified Men of Color, and International Students; and campus-wide partnerships with many of the schools, colleges, and departments at U of M.
CAPS training programs are designed to prepare competent, ethical, and multiculturally-sensitive professionals to provide clinical, consultation and outreach services to adults in outpatient settings. The foundation of our programs is experiential learning supported by supervision, mentoring, seminars, and knowledge of the social science theory and practices of social work and psychology. Training programs are designed to meet and exceed the rigorous accreditation standards of our multiple professions, and are influenced by theories of empowerment, social justice, and evidence-based practice models. CAPS has six training programs across the fields of psychology and social work.
Clinical Service Limitations
CAPS uses a short-term counseling model for currently enrolled, eligible students. All eligible students seeking services are provided an initial assessment. In collaboration with the student, counselors employ their best clinical judgment to determine what services best fit the student’s needs.
When a student’s needs are consistent with CAPS’s scope of practice, the counselor and the client together determine the goals for counseling and work towards these goals in a time-effective manner.
Sometimes students present with needs that are beyond CAPS’s scope of practice and are best addressed in longer-term psychotherapy or by a therapist with a particular specialty. In these cases, the therapist will provide community referral options and will support the student in connecting with an appropriate off-campus provider.
Some situations that may be appropriate for referral include but are not limited to:
- A longstanding or severe mental illness that requires longer-term or continuous treatment
- Issues that may require a student to be seen more than once per week
- Issues that may require support or recurring treatment over the course of the student’s academic career
- Issues that require a type of treatment that is not within the scope of practice for current staff members
- Students experiencing significant levels of distress, who need immediate inpatient or intensive outpatient care, and/or are suffering a severe disruption in their ability to function
- Students whose schedules do not fit with CAPS hours of operation.
- Court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements beyond CAPS’s scope of service
- Students who are already engaged in therapy with another provider
- History of [multiple] psychiatric hospitalizations