Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides confidential evidence-based mental health services for students. CAPS seeks to facilitate good academic performance, enhance personal growth, and help students develop effective coping strategies to meet the challenges they encounter. CAPS offers individual and couples therapy, and medication management. CAPS also offers psychoeducational groups targeting important issues related to student wellbeing.
During your first visit with a CAPS staff member, you will participate in an initial assessment interview to help determine how we can best assist you. At the conclusion of the initial evaluation, you and the CAPS staff member will develop a set of goals and a plan of action. An initial evaluation is typically scheduled for 90 minutes.
We hope that you will be an active partner in your treatment at CAPS. The therapeutic relationship between you and your provider is very important. Please let him/her know if you feel that a different treatment approach or a different provider would be of greater benefit to you. You may also request a different provider by speaking directly with our administrative assistant. If you have particular time constraints for your appointments, please let your provider know that as well.
If you see your provider somewhere on campus, you can decide whether you want to acknowedge them or not; either choice will be respected.
The focus of therapy is to help you address your problems, better understand yourself, and improve your coping skills so that you can enjoy greater productivity and adjustment. Individual sessions are typically scheduled for 50 minutes.
Alcohol and/or drug use can have a serious negative impact on academic and clinical performance. Abuse of alcohol or prescription medications or the use of illegal substance can derail a promising career and endanger others. CAPS provides evidence-based confidential individual therapy for individuals with drug and alcohol abuse. CAPS endeavors to assist students to choose to abstain from all illegal substances, to carefully evaluate the role alcohol plays in their lives, and make behavioral changes to remain healthy, safe, and to practice their future professions ethically and responsibly.
Therapy will be based on cognitive-behavioral approaches to help the student to identify both internal and situational contributors to alcohol and drug use, and to develop specific skills to make behavioral changes. Therapy will also focus on helping the individual recognize situations which may put them at risk for relapse and to learn and apply strategies to avoid and/or manage temptations.
CAPS also assists students and colleges by arranging for screening for drug and alcohol use and on-going random testing for alcohol and substances when needed.
Certain problems are best addressed by seeing a couple together. CAPS provides couples therapy to any student and his/her partner involved in a significant relationship, whether married or unmarried, heterosexual, gay, or lesbian.
CAPS Psychiatry Residents and Attending Psychiatrists provide evaluation and ongoing medication management for such problems as depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, eating disorders, insomnia, etc.
CAPS provides therapy for students with ADHD and related diagnoses; however, CAPS does not manage medication for these diagnoses. Students are encouraged to continue their relationship with the current prescribing provider or seek care from a local provider.
Sometimes faculty and students are concerned about what, if any, action to take if they believe another student is experiencing difficulties. The CAPS staff will meet or speak by phone with the concerned individual to explore options and make recommendations. The concerned faculty member or student need not identify him/herself or reveal the name of the student. Consultation is available to:
Students and faculty have the option of submitting concerns to the Behavioral Support and Intervention Team (BSIT). CAPS works closely with this group of campus experts.
Psychological testing is available to aid in the diagnosis of various conditions, including depression, anxiety, or problems affecting learning.
Learning disabilities can interfere with academic progression, test performance, and career performance. Learning disabilities are most often diagnosed during childhood or adolescence because they disrupt academic performance to a degree that the learning disability is identified early in the student’s academic progression. In rare circumstances, learning disabilities may not be identified until entry into graduate or professional programs.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is committed to providing appropriate evaluation and diagnosis for students who may have learning disorders. Careful evaluation is essential in identifying learning disorders. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides specific criteria which must be met in order for a student to be diagnosed with a learning disability.
Testing and evaluation is conducted over a period of weeks or, in some cases, months.
Many people have strengths as well as weaknesses in various academic areas. A relative weakness in one particular area (e.g., reading, mathematics) does not necessarily indicate a disorder. Poor academic performance without evidence of an underlying cognitive deficit would not indicate a learning disorder.
There are many factors which can contribute to difficulties in academic performance, including anxiety or other psychological issues, fatigue, low motivation, poor preparation or study skills, or cultural/language issues. Many of these factors can be addressed through working regularly with the staff at CAPS or the Center for Academic Excellence.
When a learning disorder is present, appropriate accommodations may be requested to minimize the impact of the learning problem. Students may seek instructional or testing accommodations at MUSC, or testing accommodations on national professional licensing examinations. Many organizations, including MUSC and testing organizations which administer licensing examinations, require that testing has been completed within the last three years.
The following information is provided to help you understand the evaluation process. If you have any questions, please call the CAPS Office at 843-792-4930.
References and links regarding accommodations:
Effective January 1, 2016, CAPS will no longer provide psychometric testing for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or provide medication management for ADHD for new patients at CAPS. If you are currently receiving prescriptions from a CAPS physician for ADHD, this service can be continued until you graduate from MUSC, but our physicians will not begin any new medications for ADHD.
CAPS will continue to provide individual therapy to assist with related problems, including organization, time management, problem-solving, decision-making, emotion regulation, procrastination, and relationship issues.
If you are currently under treatment for ADHD with an outside provider, you will need to continue with your current treatment provider or other community providers. If you have the MUSC school sponsored Student Health Insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina (BCBSSC) and administered by Academic Health Plans (AHP), care for ADHD should be covered under the policy if their conditions are met (which may include appropriate testing and preauthorization for medications). You can call the AHP Student Health Insurance Customer Service directly at 1-855-823-0319 for information.
If you are covered under another insurance plan, please check with your insurance company about coverage and community providers. In this case, it remains important to confirm with community providers their office practices with regard to insurance coverage.
CAPS does not make referrals for ADHD or neuropsychological testing. The MUSC Student Health Plan (AIG) does not require referrals for mental health care or ADHD.