1. What is counseling?
Counseling is a process that enables a person to grow in a way that s/he chooses. Students may want to change their behavior, thoughts, or lifestyle or increase self-awareness. The therapist's job is to help the student work towards achieving those goals for personal growth and development.
2. Is it free?
Yes, all services provided by Counseling and Psychological Services are free and confidential for currently enrolled students.
3. How long will counseling take? When does it "end"?
The time-frame for counseling is dependent on a number of factors, such as the presenting issues, client readiness, and individualized plans for meeting counseling goals. For this reason it is difficult to assign an exact time-frame for counseling. On average, students attend 45-60 minute sessions, once per week or every other week. Participation is voluntary, and the student may terminate counseling whenever s/he is ready or when both the therapist and student agree that the student's goals have been met.
4. What should I expect when I go to Counseling and Psychological Services?
In most cases, the student is seen within 15 minutes of arrival at the center. Upon requesting services, the student completes a student information form. Depending on scheduling and level of need, an appointment may be made for an initial intake. The intake will include a description of program services, a discussion of the presenting issue(s), and a brief personal history of the student. The intake may include both verbal and written formats. If the therapist recommends further counseling, the student is provided with options: continuing counseling with the same therapist, another therapist at CaPS, or referral to an outside agency. In some cases, CaPS will also provide a referral for psychiatric evaluation. This referral is made when the therapy staff assesses that the student might benefit from medical intervention.
5. What happens during the counseling session?
During the initial sessions, the therapist and student work at identifying the issues that are affecting the student. Together they work at establishing goals for therapy. The therapist will develop different strategies that may include assigned reading and/or tasks. The talk sessions allow for the student to process what s/he is experiencing and monitor his/her progress. Initially, sessions are typically 45-60 minutes in duration, once per week. As progress is made, the sessions can be changed to bimonthly, monthly, or on an as-needed basis. Participation remains voluntary, and the student may terminate therapy services whenever s/he is ready.
6. Will counseling work for me?
There are many factors involved in what would make counseling successful for a client – client readiness, the right “fit” between client and therapist (maybe there’s a personality clash or the client isn’t responsive to counselor style/approach), and perhaps the goals of the client being appropriate for him/her. No therapist can guarantee that counseling is going to be successful for anyone. However, it can be helpful to talk with a clinical therapist about issues that are of concern to you and work with that person on ways you believe you might be able to feel better and see some signs of improvement.
7. Who is eligible for counseling services?
Counseling and Psychological Services provides mental health services to all currently enrolled UTPA students at no cost to them. Faculty and staff who are interested in counseling may contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Human Resources, or receive referrals to community agencies that provide mental health services.
8. What issues do students and therapists work on?
The therapists will address a wide variety of issues that may be presented by the student. Issues commonly processed in counseling are (but not limited to): Substance Abuse, Veterans Issues, Stress, Family Problems, Depression, Sexual Assault, Anxiety, Abuse, Relationships, Eating Disorder, Grief/Loss, Self-Esteem, Anger Management, Assertiveness, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Parenting, Divorce, Academic Difficulties, Career Decisions, Harassment, Conflict Resolution, Suicidal Ideation, Domestic Violence, Health Issues, Post-Traumatic Stress, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
9. Limits to Services Provided
Limits to Services Provided by UTPA Counseling and Psychological Services
The following considerations are used for determining that the psychological needs of a student may fall outside of the role and scope of CaPS.
- Students who come to CaPS primarily because of external pressures, e.g., faculty, staff, parents, disciplinary or law enforcement actions, but provide insufficient evidence of internal motivation that is critical to successful counseling.
- Inability to identify a focus of counseling and/or ownership and responsibility for identified concerns
- Substance abuse or dependence that compromises the counseling process and is not a focus of treatment
- Risk of self harm or harm to others that cannot be altered by outpatient crisis interventions
- Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning, requiring intensive intervention
- History of treatment that is beyond the current services provided by CaPS and evidence that the need for the previous level of care continues
- Need for treatment that is beyond the current services provided by CaPS
- Treatment noncompliance
10. What about privacy?
Counseling sessions are confidential. Information about our students is not released without the written permission of the student, including whether or not the student even walked into the office. Because of legal and ethical constraints, however, CaPS may release information without student approval if a life-threatening emergency exists, cases involving child/elder/persons with disability abuse or neglect, by subpoena or order of a judge, or as otherwise required or allowed by law.
11. Who provides the counseling services?
Our clinical therapists are masters-level licensed professional counselors. They are trained to provide individual, group, and couples counseling. Counseling and Psychological Services also utilizes masters- and doctoral-level interns/practicum students who provide counseling services under the supervision of CaPS' Clinical Supervisor, Supervising Clinical Therapists, and the Supervising Professor in the intern/practicum students' program of study.
12. Can I request a specific therapist?
A student may request a gender preference in selecting a therapist, or may ask for a specific therapist by name; however, this may result in a delay in services.
13. How do I make an appointment?
To schedule an intake appointment with a clinical therapist, call (956)665-2574 or come by the center in UC 109. You will be directed to a therapist or a counseling intern for triage in which you will be asked a series of standard questions so that we may assess how best we can assist you. If you have a particular therapist in mind, let the triage evaluator know. Because of the need to triage, CaPS will not be scheduling for initial appointments via e-mail.
Hours of operation are Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., except during designated holidays.
14. What other services do CaPS offer?
Aside from individual and group counseling services, CaPS offers mental health screenings online, information and referrals to on- or off-campus resources, and presentations/workshops.
15. What if I want counseling services off-campus?
Counseling is available off-campus at no-cost or a sliding-scale fee (ability-to-pay). A therapist can make referrals for community resources based upon your needs or concerns.
16. I'm still not sure counseling is for me. Where can I get more information?
Many students are initially apprehensive about receiving mental health services. Our therapists will be more than happy to answer any questions students may have about the counseling process or Counseling and Psychological Services, call, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the other information about counseling on this site.