At CAPS we primarily provide students with individually tailored psychological counseling about personal concerns in a confidential, safe, supportive, and collaborative environment. Our awareness of the history of mental health and practice as well as the various structural inequalities in its delivery, informs our collaborative approach: viewing each student as the expert of their life, meeting students where they are, working to create safety and trust in a non-judgmental environment, and holding appreciation for varying ideas of what makes life good.
The staff, trainees and contractors at CAPS are committed to providing counseling services that honor and are responsive to the needs, strengths, and identities of Haverford’s increasingly diverse student community. CAPS recognize how structural and systemic racism, societal oppression, ecological and systematic inequality, and multiple intersectional identities not only have a negative impact on the emotional and mental well-being of our community but also challenge and complicate the models which have historically been used to define “mental health” and to guide treatment. As such, we work to be sensitive and responsive to differing needs that may emerge by avoiding policies and procedures that dictate any one set approach to the therapeutic relationship. Further, we intentionally and actively curate and develop therapeutic practices and services, programming and trainings that contribute to the promotion of social justice, inclusivity and equality.
Accordingly, at CAPS our policies of requiring minimal to no paperwork for setting up appointments, not applying diagnoses or submitting information to insurance, and tailoring our availability to meet the needs of students in not setting preordained limits to the duration of therapy (students have a wide range of options from a single walk-in session to a weekly meeting spanning all four years at Haverford), all reflect our understanding that students coming to see us are working through concerns which arise from diverse life experiences and personal traumas.
To this end, we are committed to living into and working to promote notions of well-being that are rooted in respect for difference. We aspire to a dynamic and ever evolving treatment model that compels and supports each clinician’s active reflection on how they may knowingly or not contribute to silencing, marginalizing and oppressing others. We are committed to maintaining a professional staff, including trainees and independent contractors as diverse as possible who share similar values of self-examination, openness, curiosity and mutuality. As we recognize that this work cannot always be done alone, we encourage ongoing discussion, collaboration and consultation with others in and outside of CAPS.
Similar to Quaker meetings, students are able to speak from their “inner voice” about private matters, which often take time and the experiences of being heard and safe to formulate and express. Accordingly, students talk with us about all aspects of their lives, including issues pertaining to mood (i.e. anxiety and depression), academics, and relationships. Through doing we are able to establish personal and deeply empathic relationships that provide students with understanding, relief and tools to help them navigate their worlds more effectively.