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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use Counseling Services?

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 Counseling Services and asking for assistance with a community referral.

Why do students come to Counseling Services?

Each year between  17-21% percent of all Caltech students come to Counseling Services 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.

How much does it cost?

There is no charge to students for services provided by the Center or for office visits with our consulting psychiatrist, when the referral is made by a Counseling Services provider.

How long can I be seen at Counseling Services?

While we don't have a specific session limit, we generally offer goal-oriented, brief therapy services. This means that we work with students to identify needs, set manageable goals, and track progress, as well as 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 Services 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, Counseling Services 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 Services 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 Counseling Services, 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 Counseling Services 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 treatment or consultation at Counseling Services 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 of to how to help. We can provide coaching, offer alternative resources and also help identify more urgent situations, such as when a student is considering suicide, that require immediate help.

How long will I have to wait for an appointment?

We are commited to ensuring that students are seen as quickly as possible. Initial ppointments are generally scheduled within 1-3 days from the time of the initial request. Students who are experiencing a crisis or whose concerns cannot wait until the next available appointment 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 Counseling Services?

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