Yes, confidentiality is the cornerstone of CAPS. Your therapist won’t share what you talk about with your parents, deans, Title IX, or anyone else. There are a few limits to confidentiality as dictated by law. One is in cases of imminent danger. Additionally, CAPS therapists are legally mandated to report the abuse or suspected abuse of minors or elders. In the rare cases in which we would need to break confidentiality, we would do so as transparently and collaboratively as possible. You can find more information about confidentiality on the CAPS website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is our work confidential? Who knows that I have gone to see a counselor?
Are there limits to confidentiality during CAPS sessions? If so, what are these limits? How do CAPS therapists work with these limits?
Yes, as outlined in our consent forms there are a few limits to confidentiality when seeing a therapist. These tend to fall under our legal requirements to “protect” minors and elders around physical and emotional abuse. This can include suspected abuse. Also, we have to report in accordance with Pennsylvania law that mandates our having a duty to warn when there may be harm to self or other.
More information about mandated reporting can be found in the PA Department of Human Services' "Mandated Reporters FAQ" and Tarasoff reporting (duty to warn) can be found on the American Psychological Association's website.
CAPS staff, trainees and contractors engage in bi-yearly continuing education around these matters to ensure that we are as up to date as possible on what is legally required of us.
Notably, at CAPS we also strive to work transparently and openly when possible around these situations. If needed, we seek independent, confidential outside counsel made available to us by our various licensing agencies (i.e. American Psychological Association, National Social worker Association). When possible, if we have concerns about reporting we will bring these directly to a student in clear ways to let them know our concerns and work to figure out how to best navigate these situations in ways that both uphold the law but also are sensitive to the individual situation.
We know how these laws can further damage marginalized individuals and communities, not to mention undermine therapeutic relationships. As we prioritize both our students and our relationships it is crucially important that we only report when we absolutely have to as mandated by law and that we work to do so in as transparently as possible.
Please note that these laws are often changing and vary by state. If you have questions about reporting, confidentiality, or anything else pertaining to these laws, please do not hesitate to email us at: hc-caps [at] haverford.edu.
What does CAPS cost?
CAPS services are available throughout the academic year at no charge to Haverford students. However, students are responsible for paying for any medications that may be prescribed to them by a CAPS psychiatrist.
Can I request to see a particular counselor, or someone of a specific race or gender?
Yes, when you submit your appointment form or contact Patty Rawlings, please feel free to mention any specific requests. Depending upon availability and timing, we will do our best to honor these requests, but are not always able to do so.
I've met with a counselor and I do not think we are a good fit. Can I switch to someone else? How would I do this?
We recognize and value the importance of "fit" and your relationship to your counselor. If you want to switch, you can do so without offending your counselor. Simply fill out the Request to Change Therapists form, and we will do our best to schedule you with another available counselor as soon as possible. Alternatively, your counselor would be very open and interested in hearing what you think is not working or what does not feel right. Do not hesitate to bring in your concerns or worries to them. Sometimes talking it through with them may lead to a quicker resolution than trying to schedule with someone else.
I had a bad experience with my CAPS counselor! What can I do about it?
We’re very sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with your counselor. Please know that we take these incidents seriously and want to be able to hear about what happened and work to repair your relationship with CAPS. CAPS staff, trainees and contractors are all trained to listen in a non-defensive and open way to feedback about what transpired that caused hurt and pain. We also recognize that this may not be possible to provide directly to that counselor and have feedback forms available to report bad experiences. Information about what can be done in these instances can be found on our Feedback page which includes a link to the Anonymous Feedback Form.
What do students talk about during sessions?
You can talk about anything in therapy! This includes concerns about your relationships to others, reflecting on the past, worries or hopes for the future, experiences of hearing or seeing things that others do not, traumatic experiences, exploring aspects of your identity, perfectionism or imposter syndrome, your relationship to food or your body, mental health concerns, experiences of oppression, or anything else that is on your mind.
Do students just come mainly to complain?
While sometimes complaining is part of it, students really come to try to resolve problems or conflicts that they are having. Through talking about things and putting our heads together, we can often see things in a new or different light that may help with making decisions or getting through difficult situations. We also encourage students to bring in things that they are excited about or that thrill them. We are interested in getting to know the entire student, and while the aspects of them that are troubling them are important, we know that they are more than that as well.
Why do CAPS counselors rarely give direct advice or tell students how to resolve problems?
At CAPS we feel that students are really the experts on themselves and that we are trying to get to know them in as much detail and depth as possible. As such, we feel that giving direct advice may short circuit the process of learning about oneself. We also feel that talking about things constructively and collaboratively opens up the possibility of achieving greater awareness and insight into what is currently going on. There are times when we may be more active in helping students to make decisions, though this depends largely on the context and what is going on in their lives.
I've reached out to make an appointment, but it's been a few days and nothing has opened up, or I've been told that there is no one available, what's going on?
We do our absolute best to schedule everyone with a therapist as soon as possible. Sometimes scheduling can happen within a matter of days. However, at times in the semester when there is a large influx of students requesting to be seen by a therapist, this process can take a few weeks, if not even longer. The more times you are able to give us in terms of your availability will help us respond as quickly as possible. We recognize that waiting can be excruciating and if you feel you need to be seen, please come in during our daily drop-in hours from 11 a.m.—12 p.m. or 2—3 p.m. Finally, do not give up, if you haven't heard from us, reach out again or as much as you need. Read more about wait times.
Do you have experts or counselors who specialize in particular areas, like eating disorders, sexual assault, OCD, or sports psychology?
The CAPS staff has a generalist orientation. This means that we are trained and have had considerable experience working with a wide range of psychological topics and concerns, including those listed above. View a full list of topics that students discuss with counselors. We feel confident in our ability to work with almost all of the challenges that students face and are continually working to stay up to date with current theories and techniques. Indeed, many counselors are interested in and have had additional training in working with specific issues, including trauma, eating disorders/body image issues, sexuality, cultural/race issues, and being first-generation college students. In some cases, students are looking for a higher level of care or more specialized treatment- such as exposure and response prevention for OCD or sports psychology- than is available at CAPS. In these cases, we can support students in finding off-campus treatment options.
What happens when a student is referred off campus?
In these instances, CAPS certainly does not abandon this student. Rather, we will work with them to make connection to the appropriate resources and providers. If the student desires it, the counselor can maintain contact with that individual and in some cases help coordinate care.
If a student sees someone off campus can they come back and see a CAPS counselor at a later point in time?
Services at CAPS are always available to students free of charge. Students are welcome to return to CAPS at any time and with no questions asked.
How long can I see my therapist for?
We work with students closely to tailor the services they receive to their specific needs. This means that some students may only come to one or a few sessions, whereas, scheduling permitting other students may be seen for multiple sessions or over multiple years. We do not put a limit on the number of times a student can be seen per semester or year.
- Do students actually use CAPS?
How do I see the psychiatrist at CAPS?
CAPS psychiatrists will only see students receiving ongoing therapy in CAPS. Psychiatric consultations at CAPS are in-depth and not intended to quickly refill a prescription from another provider. Psychiatrists may require multiple visits before prescribing medication and they may not prescribe any medication at all. Learn more about Psychiatry at CAPS!