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George Mason Universityvertical bar Counseling and Psychological Services

Psychological Services

College life offers students tremendous opportunities for personal and intellectual growth. To assist students in taking advantage of these opportunities, the university provides counseling services which enable students to develop effective tools to use in overcoming obstacles to their academic progress, to examine personal and intellectual strengths and weaknesses, and to learn skills which promote personal and intellectual development.

Psychological services are designed to provide:

Individual counseling and group counseling allow students to address issues such as educational and academic goals; academic adjustment; family and relationship concerns; traumatic experiences; managing feelings; substance abuse; and sexual identity issues. Services are confidential.

Initial individual consultation appointments can be scheduled by calling 703-993-2380 or stopping by SUB I, Room 3129 during office hours, 8:30am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Same day initial consultations, available on a first-come first-served basis, are made available beginning at 8:30am. Call first thing in the morning to find out the times available to schedule on that day.

Crisis Intervention Assistance is provided to members of the University community who are experiencing crises which affect their ability to function in the community. For consultation or emergency assistance during office hours call 703-993-2380. For assistance during non-office hours, call University Police at 703-993-4357. For life threatening emergencies call 911.

what to expect From Counseling at CAPS

Making an Appointment

Students may call or come in to CAPS to schedule the initial appointment.  We will work with you to schedule an appointment in advance that matches your schedule, or we also have several same-day appointments available that are offered each day (Mon-Fri) starting at 8:30AM on a first-come, first-served basis.

Consultation Appointments

The initial appointment is called a “Personal Consultation.”  You will be asked to arrive early to provide your consent for services at CAPS, answer demographic questions (e.g., name, address, G#, etc.), and complete a checklist of symptoms or experiences you may be having. Once this is complete you will meet with a clinician.  During your consultation session the clinician is likely to ask you to describe what prompted you to come for counseling as well as other questions that may help him or her better understand who you are and how CAPS can best help you.

Once this information is gathered, the clinician will work with you to develop an individualized plan and recommendations to address your presenting concerns, which may include:

Client Rights and Responsibilities

Client Rights

1. Confidentiality

Our overall goal is to make CAPS a place where you feel safe to talk about personal concerns. We follow professional guidelines of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Counseling Association, and the legal statutes established in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Written records of your contact with CAPS are not part of your academic record. In the usual course of events, you have the right to keep your counseling here completely private. This means that, without your written permission, no information about your contact with CAPS is available to anyone outside of CAPS, including university personnel, parents, family members, friends, or outside agencies, however, there are certain exceptions, noted below, with which you should be aware before you enter into a counseling relationship. Please read carefully through these exceptions, and be sure to ask your clinician if you have any questions.

Exceptions to Confidentiality

2. Release of Information

You have the right to request that CAPS release information in your record to other parties that you designate.  You may do so by signing a release of information authorizing CAPS to share this information with outside sources, and you have a right to discuss specifically what information will be released. You also have the right to rescind this release if you change your mind at a later date.  You may do so by documenting in writing to CAPS your desire to withdraw this authorization.  If you have worked with or are currently working with other health care providers (e.g., Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Physician, etc.) your CAPS clinician may request that you sign a release of information allowing consultation between CAPS and the outside provider for continuity of care purposes. 

3. You have the right to view and discuss the information in your record with your CAPS clinician unless it is specifically noted by your clinician that doing so would be of harm.

4. You have the right to end your counseling at any time.

5. If you have concerns about how your counseling is going or with your assigned clinician, as a first step, we strongly encourage you to discuss these concerns directly with your clinician. CAPS clinicians are open to having these discussions, and often these discussions are powerful growth opportunities. However, if this does not resolve your concern, you have the right to discuss alternative options by contacting the CAPS Executive Director or Coordinator of Clinical Services at (703) 993-2380. 

6. You have the right to be informed about the services available to you here, and, unless it is an emergency, to participate in the process of deciding whether or not to utilize these services.
7. You always maintain the right to question the focus of your sessions.

8. You have the right to know the credentials of your clinician.

9. You have the right to ask for a second opinion.

10. You have the right to present a complaint, knowing that your care will not be compromised in any way. If you have a problem concerning your care, which you cannot solve with your CAPS clinician, call the CAPS Executive Director or the Coordinator of Clinical Services, at (703) 993-2380.

Client Responsibilities

1. Keep your scheduled appointments and let us know as soon as possible if you cannot attend. If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, we would like to offer this time to others who may be waiting. Please help us to help others.  

2. Be as honest and open as possible with your clinician.  This includes both with your exploration of the issues that brought you to CAPS, as well as, with your feedback on how you feel the counseling process is going.  

3. Between sessions, think through the concerns you are addressing in counseling.

4. Follow through on treatment recommendations and complete your counseling homework assignments.

5. Attend a termination session at the end of your treatment, rather than electing not to return or not keeping your final appointment. This way you can share and discuss with your clinician what was useful and what could have been improved.

6. If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency…

    If you feel that you might harm yourself or others…