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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the Counseling Center?

Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to receive services. While spouses of students are not eligible for services at the Center, referrals to other agencies and private therapists are available by calling the Counseling Center.

Why do students come to the Counseling Center?

Each year between  17-21% percent of all Caltech students come to the Counseling Center for help. The reasons they seek help vary, but students do come for help with the day to day issues they (and people in general) face like stress, procrastination, cultural adjustment and relationships. Additionally, some students come for help with concerns that involve depression, eating disorders, substance use/misuse, and anxiety among other reasons.

Is there a fee?

There is no charge to students for services provided by the Center or for services provided by our consulting psychiatrist when referral is made by a Counseling Center provider. Students who are referred to outside agencies or private therapists can use their Caltech provided insurance at little or no cost.

How long can I be seen at the Counseling Center?

While we don't have a specific session limit, we offer brief therapy services. This means that we work with students to identify needs, set manageable goals, and connect students with appropriate campus-based and community resources.  If a student wants or needs longer-term therapy, has concerns that require multiple sessions per week, or are in need of a higher level of care, Counseling Center staff works with students to find a referral in the community to ensure that treatment needs are met.

If I'm referred off campus, can I still see the psychiatrist at the Counseling Center?

If a student is referred off-campus for longer-term treatment or specialized care, the Counseling Center staff will work to connect the student with a psychiatrist in the community for ongoing medication management. Students with UHC insurance can continue to see our consulting psychiatrist in her private practice, conveniently located about a mile from campus. For students without UHC insurance, Counseling Center staff will help coordinate a transfer of care to a psychiatrist in the community.

What about confidentiality?

Probably the most important thing that students expect of the Counseling Center in addition to being treated with respect and concern is that what they say will be held in confidence. We know that confidentiality is an essential part of what helps counseling work and so we strongly protect students' confidentiality. The Consent for Counseling Services and Privacy Practices forms that students sign before an intake appointment outlines our responsibility to students' confidentiality.

When should I think about talking to a therapist?

Approximately 17-21% of the Caltech student body uses the counseling service each year. Students seek help for a variety of reasons including: stress, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, substance use or abuse, loneliness, grief, and academic stress, among others. We encourage any student considering a visit to the Counseling Center to come for an initial appointment so we can help identify the resources that will be most helpful. Sometimes this is individual brief therapy, a group or workshop, or getting connected with the Deans' office or other support services on campus.

What if I'm concerned about a friend?

We encourage people to call and ask for our advice whenever they are concerned about another person and are unsure as to how to help.

How long will I have to wait for an appointment?

We are commited to ensuring that students are seen as quickly as possible. Appointments are often scheduled within a few days from the time of the initial request. During 2nd and 3rd terms it may take a little longer to schedule an appointment. Students who are in crisis should let the front desk staff know that they have an urgent concern and will be accommodated for a same-day appointment.

What can I expect if I contact the Counseling Center?

Click here to read more about what to expect when you contact the Counseling Center.