What To Expect From Counselling
When you call or visit CAPS, you can expect a professional, responsive, and respectful service. Our Counsellors are experienced clinical or counselling psychologists and mental health social workers.
As a Service, we value diversity, and recognise that our clients come from diverse backgrounds including gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, spiritual beliefs, age, relationship status, socioeconomic status, geographical location, health or disability status, and educational experiences. If you would feel more comfortable speaking with a male or female Counsellor, or have particular preferences in your choice of Counsellor, check out Our Staff page for more details. We will endeavour to place you with someone of your choice, but this may not always be possible.
It is important to know that all our Counsellors are committed to respecting individual or group differences, and are experienced in working with a variety of people and presenting issues. Your Counsellor may ask about how issues of diversity may be impacting your life and wellbeing in order to better understand you and your concerns.
What to Expect - Initial Consultation
You will receive a text message confirmation 24 hours before your initial consultation.Your Initial Consultation appointment has two parts (total time of 45 minutes):
- 15 minute questionnaire about your health and wellbeing
- 30 minute consultation with a Counsellor
Please arrive on time for your appointment. Your questionnaire includes your consent to treatment, and a range of questions about your health and wellbeing. Arriving on time will allow you to get the most out of your Initial Consultation. If you arrive late, you may be asked to reschedule your Initial Consultation.
The 30 minute consultation with the Counsellor focuses on identifying the primary reason(s) why you are seeking counselling, address any immediate concerns, and learn more about your support needs. Your Counsellor will ask you a series of questions that will help inform the most helpful next steps.
Some people find that the Initial Consultation is sufficient for their current needs. For others, at the end of your Initial Consultation, you may be:
- Referred to a relevant CAPS workshop or webinar
- Referred to a CAPS group program
- Scheduled for a return appointment with a CAPS Counsellor for short-term counselling
- Recommended self-help resources including tip sheets, websites, online programs, or apps
- Connected with other supports within the university (e.g., University Health Service, Campus Community, Student Equity and Disability Services, Safer Community, etc.)
- Referred to another professional or specialist service outside the university that may better suit your needs
What to Expect - Short-Term Counselling
Following an Initial Consultation, some students and staff may proceed with short-term counselling. Short-term counselling sessions are 50 minutes each. Please arrive on time for your appointment. Arriving on time will allow you to get the most out of your appointment. If you arrive late, you may be asked to reschedule.
Every Counsellor has their own individual style and a different set of training experiences, just as every person that comes to counselling is unique - so no two counselling sessions are ever exactly the same. However, you can expect that:
- You will have the opportunity to share your story, talk about the issues and concerns that have brought you to CAPS, and what you hope to gain from counselling.
- Your Counsellor may conduct an assessment of any mental health symptoms, or ask you questions about your personal and psychological history.
- You and your Counsellor will collaborate together on a set of goals to improve your wellbeing.
In short-term counselling, you and your Counsellor will likely focus on your immediate needs, and work towards the set goals you have both agreed on. In each session, you and your Counsellor will typically be discussing issues or concerns currently affecting you, learning new ways to problem-solve, improving your coping skills, building on your strengths, and regularly reviewing your progress toward your goals.
How many counselling sessions will I have?
Your Counsellor will work with you to determine the number and frequency of sessions you have together, depending on your situation. CAPS primarily offers short term counselling. Many students benefit from just one or two sessions of counselling, with the majority of students seen for 4 sessions or fewer.
Typically, appointments cannot be provided on a weekly basis. It is helpful to have appointments spaced apart to allow you to try out new strategies or ways of coping in between. Your Counsellor will work with you on helpful ways to manage in between sessions.
Some students may need longer term treatment or more specialist assistance than can be provided at CAPS, and Counsellors can help to connect you with a suitable private or community-based service provider.
Any information you provide at registration and what you talk about with your Counsellor is confidential within the Service.This means that everything you discuss with your Counsellor is private. We will not discuss your situation with anyone in or outside the university, unless we have your consent to do so. An exception to this can be when a Counsellor has a duty of care to share information in an emergency to protect you or someone else from serious harm. If you would like to know more, please read our privacy statement.