Counseling and Psychological Services
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.
CAPS provides help to students whose concerns range from normal social or developmental issues to serious psychological problems.
Common issues for which students week assistance include:
- dealing with a crisis (e.g., a broken relationship or the death of a loved one, legal problems)
- academic performance
- poor self-confidence
- stress and anxiety
- substance abuse
- sexual concerns/sexual identity
- relationship/marital/family issues
- eating disorders
- self-defeating/injurious behaviors
- personal growth
- anger management
- issues affecting learning
During your first visit with a CAPS staff member, you will receive 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 two hours.
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.
Psychopharmacologic Assessment and Management
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 is available to facilitate student-initiated educational or support groups. CAPS also offers a variety of workshops focusing on prevention and management of common problems in areas such as:
- test anxiety
- stress management
- conflict resolution
- time management
- communication/interpersonal issues
- women’s/men’s professional issues
- relationship issues
- substance abuse
Sometimes faculty and students are concerned about what, if any, action to take if they believe a student is experiencing difficulties. The CAPS staff will provide in-person or phone consultations 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 concerned about a friend or family member
- student groups and organizations
- faculty, administrators, and staff concerned about students
- faculty concerned about interpersonal interactions in the classroom environment
- departments and other MUSC offices interested in learning about student issues
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.
Psychological testing is available to aid in the diagnosis of various conditions, including depression, anxiety, or problems affecting learning.
Evaluation for Testing Accommodations
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.
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.
- Please call the CAPS office at 843-792-4930 and ask for an appointment for an initial intake evaluation. This evaluation will take about two hours and will include the gathering of general background information in addition to more specific information which may relate to the learning-related issue.
- When you come for your appointment, please bring copies of any previous evaluations for learning disabilities.
- In order to provide appropriate evaluation and recommendations, CAPS staff will conduct the initial individual assessment (intake), and as part of this assessment, will carefully review previous testing reports provided by the student.
- Based on the information obtained during the intake evaluation and information from previous testing reports, our staff members will make a determination as to whether or not testing is indicated and, if so, what are the most appropriate tests to be administered.
- If testing is NOT indicated, the student will be offered appropriate mental health services or a referral for other needed services.
- If testing is indicated, the CAPS staff will determine which tests are likely to provide the most useful information. Testing will be scheduled in 2-hour blocks. It may take several testing blocks to complete the test battery. In some instances, initial testing results will reveal the need for additional, more specialized tests.
- Following completion of testing, the staff member will need a minimum of one week to score the test, provide feedback to the student, and generate a written report. In some circumstances the complexity of the testing may require additional time for scoring and interpretation.
- This evaluation process may take several weeks, so we recommend that a student seek evaluation at least a month in advance of any test or exam if they are seeking accommodations at MUSC.
- National examinations for most licensing organizations require that the application for accommodations and appropriate documentation be submitted well in advance of the test date to allow for review and processing. Please check with your individual licensing board to determine the appropriate time frame and seek evaluation early to meet board requirements.
- Because of the complexity of the testing, and the importance of consistent observations for test interpretation, a student will see the same individual CAPS therapist for all testing blocks.
- Please note that CAPS will complete the evaluation and send a written report of findings and recommendations for appropriate accommodations. The student is responsible for completing a request for accommodations through the Disabilities Coordinator for each college. This Disabilities Coordinator (not CAPS) is responsible for making a determination regarding accommodations for the student and implementing accommodations which are granted.
- For licensing exams, each professional entity has its own requirements for accommodations. Students should review the information provided on the website of the testing entity for their profession. It is also important to be aware that many testing organizations have their own time requirements and deadlines for receiving and reviewing requests for accommodations.
References and links regarding accommodations:
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
ADA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008
NURSING (refers you to state agency)
PHYSICAL THERAPY (refers you to state agency)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
We are currently reviewing CAPS policies with regard to ADHD. Because this review is in process, we are not currently beginning new care related to ADHD. If you are currently under treatment for ADHD, you will need to continue with current treatment providers or other community providers. If you have the MUSC AIG Student health Insurance, care for ADHD should be covered under the policy if their conditions are met (which may include appropriate testing and pre-authorization for medications). You can call AIG Student Health Insurance Customer Service directly at 1-888-722-1668 for information. It may help to print out a copy of the insurance brochure to have in front of you as you talk with them. They should be able to direct you to a list of in-network providers if you would like to review that information. It is very important that you also talk with your providers to determine their office practices with regard to insurance coverage. If you are covered under another insurance plan, please check with your insurance company about coverage and community providers.
Student Health Insurance Plan