Here are some common questions about our services. If you have other questions, please feel free to call us at 215-898-7021 or email us.
- How can counseling help me? CAPS at penn fosters personal growth to enable Penn students to take full advantage of academic and social opportunities at Penn.
Counseling is a partnership between an individual and a professional like a psychologist or social worker who is trained to assist undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
Counseling can help students in their adjustment to college life and help them learn to manage personal problems effectively. Counseling can also help students learn strategies to cope with academic stress and develop self-awareness, personal responsibility, and skills for life-long learning.
- How do I make an appointment?The first contact at CAPS is an Initial Consultation. An Initial Consultation is a brief conversation with a clinician that will last about 15 minutes, and will require you to discuss personal and private information. Please be in a place where you feel comfortable doing this. This asssessment will allow the clinican to proceed to the next step which may include an Initial Assessment at CAPS, referral to a CAPS group, or connecting you with other resources on campus and/or in the community.
You may contact CAPS in the following ways:
1.) Call us at 215-898-7021 between 9am-5pm Monday, Tuesday or Friday, or between 9am-7pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Please have your PennID number available. Calls received after business hours will be returned the next business day.
2.) Complete an online Initial Consultation Call Back Request. A CAPS clinician will return your call by the end of that business day. On-line requests received after business hours will be returned the next business day.
3.) Come to CAPS at 3624 Market Street, First Floor West between 9am-5pm Monday, and Friday, or between 9am-7pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, or 10am - 3pm on Saturday. Please note: email is not used by CAPS for this purpose.
- What is an Initial ConsultationAn Initial Consultation is a brief conversation with a CAPS Clinician that will last about 15 minutes, and will require you to discuss personal and private information. Please be in a place where you feel comfortable doing this. This asssessment will allow the clinican to proceed to the next step which may include an Initial Assessment at CAPS, referral to a CAPS group, or connecting you with other resources on campus and/or in the community.
- Is CAPS free or is there a fee?We provide free services to University of Pennsylvania students.
- Are CAPS services really confidential?CAPS strictly protects the confidentiality of information shared during sessions. We are ethically committed to confidentiality and federal/state laws require it. This means that even your attendance in counseling is kept private and confidential.
State and Federal law states that there are four exceptions to this general rule:
1. You may request (by means of a signed release) that your counselor reveal information to other individuals or agencies of your choice.
2. In instances where there is imminent danger of serious harm to yourself or others.
3. In cases involving physical and/or sexual abuse of children or endangered adults.
4. Where otherwise requested by subpoena or mandated by court order or state/federal law.
- What do I do in a crisis?If you are in an urgent situation please walk in to our office or call CAPS at 215-898-7021 anytime.
If you need to refill your prescription, please call our office during normal working hours at 215-898-7021.
If it is after office hours, including weekends, call our main number at 215-898-7021.
- How do I cancel or reschedule an appointment?In order to cancel or reschedule an appointment you already have set up with your counselor, please call us at 215-898-7021 and ask to speak to your therapist. If he/she is not available, you can leave a message with the receptionist and they will relay the message to your therapist.
- Can faculty or staff use CAPS services?CAPS services are only for University of Pennsylvania students.
Penn's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides information and support for personal life issues. The EAP offers the following free and confidential services to faculty and staff and their immediate family members.
- How long can I get therapy at CAPS?Most students use us for short-term therapy. The length of counseling is determined by the student and the therapist in order to meet the student's needs.
- Can I just get a refill, or see a psychiatrist on my first visit?First you must receive an Initial Consultation. Any refill reqluests or requests to see a psychiatrist will be addressed during your assessment.
- Can I walk in and be seen immediately?You may walk in to CAPS and be seen by a clinician for an Initial Consultation, you may have to wait up to an hour for this assessment.
- Can I request a certain race or kind of clinician?If you have a specific concern, or have questions about a specific issue, please express that at your Initial Consultation. We will do all we can to match you with a counselor who will be most able to give you the help you need.
- Do you offer couples therapy?Couples counseling is available pending staff availability. At least one member of the couple must be a University of Pennsylvania student and must first schedule an Initial Consultation.
- Can CAPS help me find a therapist outside of Penn?CAPS Referral Services is serious about providing quality care by helping Penn students understand and organize the referral they may receive at CAPS. Students usually obtain a referral after their Initial Assessment at CAPS or after they have worked with their CAPS counselor for some period of time. The CAPS counselor obtains thorough information so that a sound decision can be made as to which resource would be most clinically helpful for the student.
- Do you offer ADHD testing?In order to receive medication for ADHD at CAPS you must provide some documentation of a diagnosis of ADHD. If you do have such documentation, or you are not sure you are coping with ADHD, CAPS can offer a clinical test protocol to assist our staff in confirming the diagnosis. This is required in order to begin medication.
CAPS does not offer testing for University Accommodations. The testing required for accommodation is offered by private psychologists in Philadelphia and the CAPS Referral Coordinator can help you with a referral to the appropriate professional. The process of applying for accommodation must involve the Office of Student Disabilities (SDS) at Weingarten Learning Resources Center. Keep in mind that the SDS does not itself provide testing for accommodations.
- Do you offer career counseling or career testing?Career Counseling is offered by Career Services.
- How do I return from a leave of absence?The request to return from a leave of absence begins with your school, which will direct you regarding requirements. If the school requires CAPS to be involved in the process of a return request:
You can start the process by downloading the necessary Return from Leave of Absence Forms which must be completed by your treating professional. Once that's done, the forms must be returned by regular mail or faxed to CAPS. The fax number is 215-573-8966.
The confidential forms will be reviewed at CAPS and we may call you or your clinician about your readiness to return to Penn. The final decision about your return is made by the school.
- Can I speak to the doctor/therapist on call?If you call CAPS during office hours you may ask to speak with an initial assessment clinician. If you have an emergency after hours or on weekends, you may call our main number 215-898-7021 and follow the prompts to be connected to the On-Call CAPS clinician, typically a psychiatrist, who will assist you with your emergency.
- Can LPS students be seen at CAPS? Yes, LPS students are fully eligible for counseling at CAPS.