What is therapy at CAPS like and how does it work?
Group psychotherapy involves one or more therapists who lead a group of roughly 4 to 10 clients. Typically groups at CAPS meet for a one to two hour session each week and are designed to address a wide variety of difficulties, from anxiety to relationship challenges and academic stress. Joining a group of strangers may sound intimidating or off-putting at first, but group therapy provides benefits that individual therapy may not. Most often, group members at Sewanee have highly appreciated their experiences, sometimes expressing surprise at the rewards and unique offerings of the group experience.
Psychotherapy is the process in which a client and a trained therapist collaborate to work through a wide variety of difficulties, ranging from depression and anxiety to relationship problems and academic stress. Furthermore, psychotherapy helps a client identify and utilize personal strengths, promoting ongoing growth and enhancement of well-being. The relationship between the therapist and client is foundational to a positive outcome. Therapists provide a supportive and nonjudgmental environment within which to develop a trusting and productive relationship. Clients work within this relationship to better understand their difficulties and strengths, developing and then implementing strategies for lasting positive change.
Case Management services are available for students in need of assistance managing their mental or physical health. The Case Manager provides education and/or referral services for those students whose clinical needs are beyond the scope of the UWC, and therefore need help finding appropriate treatment providers in the local area or near a hometown, or for students whose needs do not require clinical intervention.
What do you mean by "short-term" services?
CAPS provides brief, short-term treatment. This means we may not be able to work on all the issues you would like and problems that require more intensive, specialized or long-term care may not fall within the scope of our services. Although there is no strict session limit, typically after several sessions, you and your therapist will assess the need for ongoing treatment and make a decision about next steps. If you need further psychological services at the end of our work together, we will make every effort to provide you with appropriate referrals. Whereas the psychotherapy services at UWC:CAPS are free, outside providers charge for their services. It will be your responsibility, not the University’s, to arrange for any payment that is necessary.
How do I pay for services at CAPS?
Currently there is no charge for meeting with a clinician at the Wellness Center. However, there may be associated costs for recommended treatment outside of psychotherapy. This may include consulting private practice therapists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, or costs related to getting prescriptions filled. Additionally, we do charge a fee if you schedule an appointment and do not show or do not cancel 24 hours prior to the appointment time. Please see below for more information on fees.
What are Psychiatric (medical) Consultations?
CAPS provides limited psychiatry services for students who are existing psychotherapy clients; psychiatry appointments are offered on a limited basis per week. A referral to the psychiatrist is facilitated through a student’s clinician or through the Case Manager.
How do I get my psychiatric medications?
Medications will be prescribed only during psychiatry medication office visits, so that your psychiatrist can perform a current assessment of your condition and discuss with you the risks and benefits that may be associated with a new medication and its alternatives.
Additionally, it is your responsibility to request medication refills in a timely manner. Prescriptions for refills ARE NOT written on a walk-in basis, nor can they be written outside of the psychiatry staff's scheduled visits. It is your responsibility to attend and/or reschedule your appointments in order to keep your medication regimen on schedule. Please keep in mind that psychiatry appointments are only offered on a limited basis; therefore, it is often difficult to reschedule these appointments and attendance is strongly encouraged.
CAPS does not have a pharmacy or dispensary on site. You must take your written prescription to one of the local pharmacies to have it filled.
I'm interested in an Emotional Support Animal. Do I get that through CAPS?
Unfortunately, we are not able to assist students with Emotional Support Animals. ESAs must be approved by the office of Student Accessibility Services; CAPS cannot approve or prescribe ESAs as treatment. Furthermore, we are not able to provide documentation to support a student's request for an ESA. Our Case Manager can assist those students seeking outside services by providing them with local private practice referrals; however, we cannot guarantee that the private practice provider will support the request for ESA documentation. Please be aware that we refer to private practices to provide therapy; we do not refer out to practices that provide illegitimate documentation after a single appointment or for a specific fee.
How do I make an appointment?
The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and we are typically closed for lunch between noon and 1 p.m. Appointments are scheduled either through the office manager or your psychologist, and last for 45–50 minutes. Students are generally seen weekly but may be seen more or less frequently as the situation dictates and as you and your therapist agree.
What if I need to cancel my appointment? Are there any penalties if I don't show?
If you need to cancel your appointment, you must call or email 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment. This allows another student to use the time. Please be aware that if you do not show for your appointment, you will be charged $25.00 for a missed CAPS appointment and $50.00 for a missed Psychiatry appointment. If you miss an appointment and we have not heard from you, we will try to contact you either by phone or email.
Services at CAPS are in high-demand, and in order to best accommodate all students, we ask that you consistently attend all scheduled appointments. If you miss two consecutive sessions, without a reasonable excuse, your chart will be closed. We will communicate with you throughout this process and provide you with reminders about our policy after you miss a session. If your chart is closed for poor attendance, you may request to resume services, but this will require scheduling an intake evaluation along with a thorough discussion about your plans to improve your attendance.
What if I need to be seen by a professional sooner than my appointment or if I am having an emergency?
If you have an emergency during working hours, contact the office at 931.598.1325. The CAPS office manager will arrange a meeting as soon as possible. These appointments are available based on order of arrival, and are reserved for students who deem their situation emergent. For an emergency outside of office hours you can contact 911, the Emergency Department at Southern Tennessee Regional Health at Sewanee (formerly known as Emerald Hodgson Hospital) 931.598.5691, your primary care provider, or our Mental Health Crisis Hotline 931.598.1700. You can also reach a text hotline by texting "START" to 741-741.
What if I need to contact my therapist?
Due to our work schedule, we are often not immediately available to take your calls. The office telephone is answered by the office manager or voice mail. We will make every effort to return your call during business hours on the same day you make it, with the exception of weekends and holidays. Please be sure to leave your full name and telephone number when leaving a message; we cannot return your call without this information. It is also helpful if you leave times when you will be available to receive a return call and to make sure that your voicemail inbox is set up and is not full. You can also contact us in a more limited fashion via your patient portal; please expect at least 1 business day for reply. The patient portal is not to be used in emergencies; the portal should not be used to communicate to your clinician any information that should be discussed during sessions. Please do not share your Banner username and password with anyone, as these are used to log in to your secure portal. If you need assistance with accessing your portal, please contact email@example.com.
Will my therapist/CAPS email me?
Unless you would prefer otherwise, there may be times when CAPS staff needs to contact you via email as well. Please note there is the potential that these messages could be inadvertently received or overheard by a third party. E-mail is not a secure means of communication; thus, we try and minimize our use of email with you whenever possible. We strongly encourage you to communicate clinical and personal information with your therapist either directly in session, or if necessary, over the phone. In the event of an emergency, please refer to the emergency section - email would not be an appropriate method of contact.
Students are, however, emailed reminder notices regarding their appointments at CAPS. Students typically receive a confirmation email of their first appointment, with a copy of our policies and paperwork attached, and a reminder email the day before any subsequent appointments.
Can you text me a reminder? Or call me? Can I add you on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, etc?
CAPS staff does not communicate with clients via text messaging, nor do staff accept or respond to friend/follow requests via social media venues (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
You said email wasn't secure. is my time at CAPS confidential? Will the Dean or my parents know what we're talking about?
In Tennessee, what we discuss in session is considered a privileged communication afforded the same status as an attorney-client communication. However, there are limits to the privilege of confidentiality. These situations include: 1) suspected child, elderly person or disabled person abuse or neglect, 2) if you become a clear and imminent danger to yourself, 3) if you report that you intend to physically injure someone, or 4) when otherwise required by law or court order. With these exceptions, unless you specifically sign a release of information authorizing us to talk to someone, all communications here are kept private, confidential, and privileged and will not go beyond the UWC staff. The UWC Notice of Practices to Protect the Privacy of Your Health Information provides more details about confidentiality and its limitations.
Information obtained by a psychologist, social worker, counselor, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician, or another member of your health care team will be documented in your electronic medical record and used to determine the course of treatment most appropriate. Information is shared within the UWC on a strict “need to know” basis. UWC staff work as an integrated team in order to provide the highest quality care, and medical and behavioral healthcare information is documented in an electronic record; however, your psychotherapy records are recorded in an electronic record that is separate and distinct from your medical record. If it is deemed necessary by your therapist that a medical team member have access to your behavioral health records in order to coordinate care, this will be discussed with you first.
What if I want to change the therapist I'm currently seeing/what if I feel the therapist I was scheduled with isn't a good fit?
We do allow students to request a change; our policy is that the process to switch begins with the student's current therapist. Students will need to meet with their current therapist again and discuss that they'd like to try someone else. All of our staff members want students to have agency in receiving the care they feel is best for them and understand that sometimes there isn't a good fit. The student's current therapist can then help facilitate that change. This is a required step in order to change. Students who do not wish to complete this step may also request a list of local private practice providers.
Please be aware that the ability to get on another therapist's schedule depends on their availability; a student may be added to a wait list if the requested therapist does not have a current opening.
I'm a former student/I'm seeing a new therapist. How do I request my records?
You are entitled to receive a copy of your records; however, the UWC policy is to provide a treatment summary in most instances. Because behavioral health records contain information that can be misinterpreted or upsetting to an untrained reader, it is required that you schedule an appointment to review your treatment summary/records alongside your therapist so that you may discuss their contents with a trained clinician.
In order to protect your confidentiality, if you request that your records be sent to another provider for ongoing treatment, you will need to put your request in writing and sign a release of information form before your request can be processed.
I have more questions about CAPS/University Wellness Center:
Please check our FAQs section for the answer. If you still have questions about the CAPS department or about our policies, please feel free to email the department or call the Office Manager at 931.598.1325.
Students who utilize CAPS are required to sign an agreement stating that they accept and consent to these terms of treatment. A copy of these terms can be requested by emailing the CAPS departmental address.