Our overall goal is to make Counseling and Psychological Services (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 as well as the legal statutes established in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Written records of your contact with CAPS are not part of your academic record, and we will not disclose information about you to any other office or individual unless you have signed CAPS’ written authorization to release information.
Exceptions to confidentiality occur in the following situations:
- there exists a substantial likelihood that in the near future you may cause serious harm to yourself or others
- reasonable suspicion of current abuse or neglect of a child or incapacitated adult
- a valid court order or subpoena to disclose relevant information in a legal proceeding or investigation
- the university threat assessment team receives information that results in the team opening an investigation for you, in which case, CAPS may be required to provide information in your CAPS record to the team as part of their investigation
The Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act’s (FERPA’s) disclosure restrictions do not apply to concerns stemming from personal knowledge derived from direct, personal experience. For example, a faculty or staff member who personally observes a student engaging in erratic and/or threatening behavior is not prohibited by FERPA from disclosing that observation to other officials or to the student’s family. However, confidentiality in the counseling relationship is protected in the state of Virginia. This prevents counseling staff from discussing a student’s counseling without written permission from the student. Counselors and support staff cannot confirm in any way if a student has been seen at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Our counselors will, however, work with students to obtain a release of information to support coordination of assistive efforts. In the event of imminent safety concerns, CAPS will/can notify appropriate authorities to address those imminent concerns.
Under state and federal laws, confidentiality in the counseling relationship is protected. This prevents counseling staff from discussing your student’s counseling history without written permission from your student. Counselors and support staff cannot confirm in any way if your student has been seen at Counseling and Psychological Services. Exceptions to confidentiality may occur should your student be in imminent danger of harming self or others. When appropriate, we will attempt to get a release of information.
Crisis Text Line
- Text 741-741
- Prevention Lifeline
Veterans Crisis Line
- 800-273-8255, Press 1
Mason Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Crisis Line
Counseling and Psychological Services
Student Support and Advocacy Center