Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides services that empower students to engage in and be successful in a full
range of academic, social and cultural endeavors through fostering psychological wellness.
A Message from Our Staff
As we enter into the final stretch of the semester, just a reminder of the importance
of sleep, exercise and healthy nutrition to function at your fullest! Remember to
check out the self-help page (below) for additional resources and tips for making
it through the end of the semester.
There are many aspects of wellness in our lives and college isn't always easy but
there are easy ways you can improve your overall experience here at WCU.
We've created videos and resources for you to explore how to improve your overall wellness with a specific focus on your mental
See the Self Help Tools
CAPS' staff provide counseling within a goal-directed, short-term model. When you
first come into CAPS, a counselor will spend some time to understand your current
symptoms and struggles along with your goals for counseling. Your counselor will then
refer you to the appropriate service.
Some of the primary concerns that students have included:
- Anxiety and depression, which includes symptoms of suicidality, loneliness, and low
- Relationship issues, which could include friends, roommates, romantic partners, and
- Issues related to experiences of trauma, sexual assault, or abuse
- Identity concerns (that is, figuring out who they are)
- Body image problems and/or eating concerns
- Beginning or maintaining recovery from addictive substances or behaviors.
While these are the primary reasons that students seek counseling, please know that
any concern or struggle you have can be addressed in counseling.
Our staff includes licensed providers who have years of experience in working with
the university student population.
They are committed to helping students to achieve their personal and academic goals
and to enhance their experience while at WCU.
Meet Our Staff
CAPS is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.
CAPS has a strong commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse students by providing
high quality, culturally sensitive services. We strive to create a welcoming environment
for all people.
COPE will help you quickly learn tools for managing emotional distress while also
developing a clearer goal of what you want to change in your life. COPE is a three-week
series. After completing COPE, clients have the option to meet with a CAPS' clinician
to review what they learned and to collaboratively discuss their next steps. That
may include another service offered at CAPS (e.g., another group or individual counseling)
The CAPS staff all provide individual counseling that is aimed at helping you to remove
any barriers to your academic, social and/or personal life. Your individual counselor
will take some time to get to know you and your specific goals for counseling. You
will discuss how often you will meet, recognizing that the focus is on achieving these
goals within a brief time period.
CAPS' staff are available to assist students who are experiencing an urgent situation,
or a mental health crisis at any time of the day. During regular business hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday), call the CAPS' main line (828-227-7469) or come in CAPS and you will be seen in a timely manner.
For after hours' emergencies, contact University Police Dispatch (828-227-8911) and ask to talk to the Crisis Clinician. You may also contact the community crisis
line through Appalachian Community Services (888-315-2880) or go to the nearest emergency room for assistance.
Research shows that group therapy is the most effective treatment for many of the
concerns college students face. Because of this, your counselor may refer you to one
of several groups offered by CAPS.
Here is what students say about our groups:
"DO IT! Or at least try it because it is really helpful and really becomes a comfortable
space to talk about things you wouldn't talk about with people in your everyday life."
"It is a great way to connect with people who understand what you are going through."
Catamounts for Recovery
Catamounts For Recovery provides a safe and supportive space for like-minded Catamounts
to come together in a community that encourages each other to pursue a rich and successful
collegiate experience in sustained recovery from drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviors.
Your CAPS counselor may refer you for a medication evaluation. The psychiatric provider
is housed within Health Services and thus all appointments are made through Health Services. Please note that there
all appointments with the psychiatrist are billed to the student's insurance.
Services for Biltmore park students
Counseling services for Biltmore Park students are offered by CAPS staff on Mondays
by appointment only. Biltmore Park students can also access services on the Cullowhee
campus. For an appointment at either location, call 828.227.7469.
Make An Appointment
CAPS provides services to currently enrolled WCU students.
To schedule an appointment, call us at 828.227.7469 or stop by our office (225 Bird
Building). The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please note that students are required to make their own appointments.
To begin counseling at CAPS, the first step is to schedule a meeting for an initial
consultation appointment. The purpose of this appointment is to provide an opportunity
for you to discuss your concerns with CAPS and to arrive at a mutually agreeable course
of action to address your concerns. You can schedule a consultation appointment by
calling 828.227.7469. Once you have an appointment scheduled, please plan to arrive
at least 25 minutes early to complete paperwork. The actual consultation appointment
typically lasts 20 to 30 minutes.
Based on this meeting, you and the counselor may agree that an ongoing group or individual
counseling would best suit your needs. If this is the case, the counselor will gather
the necessary information from you so that you can be assigned to meet with a staff
counselor on an ongoing basis. The length of time from the initial consultation to
pairing with counseling is determined by two main factors: Your preferences regarding
characteristics of your counselor or group; and, availability of open slots for ongoing
counseling. For the second half of the fall or spring semesters, the wait between
these appointments can lengthen as the demand for services increases. We do all we
can to make your wait for assignment as short as possible
CAPS’ outreach programs are designed to promote prevention, awareness and skill development
among the Catamount community. Through our outreach programming and workshops, CAPS
connects to students, faculty, and staff as they partner with us in reducing stigma
around mental health concerns. Our goal with outreach is that participants will develop
new knowledge and tools to help them remove barriers to their success at WCU.
We are no longer accepting outreach requests this semester. We will be offering outreach
programs in the spring semester.
Training & Internships
CAPS offers university counseling center training positions at both the master's and
doctoral level. In addition to becoming strong mental health generalists in the provision
of individual counseling services, trainees have the opportunity to participate in
group counseling, inter-disciplinary collaboration, outreach, consultation, campus
programs and related projects within the university community.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often do I see my counselor?
You and your counselor will discuss your treatment and how frequently you will have
sessions. It is common for students to meet with a counselor weekly at first, but
as therapy progresses you will likely meet every other week or even once a month.
If your concerns are such that need very long-term treatment or you need to be seen
more than once a week, you may be referred to a therapist in the community.
What if I have to reschedule?
Please call the front desk (828-227-7469) as soon as you know you are unable to make
your appointment. We do ask for at least 24 hours notice to change an appointment,
but we know that this is not always possible. Typically, students are not able to
be rescheduled within the next 5 business days and during times of high demand for
CAPS’ services, you may have to wait longer for the next appointment.
Who is eligible for services?
Currently, enrolled students who have paid the Health Fee are eligible for services
at CAPS. Faculty and staff who are interested in counseling have access to services
through the WCU Employee Assistance Program. For additional information, please contact
Human Resources (828.227.7218) or CAPS (828-227-7469)
What will I be charged for services?
CAPS does not charge for their services for enrolled students who have paid the student
health fee. If you see the psychiatric provider at CAPS, your sessions are charged
to your insurance and so you will be responsible for any costs related to your deductible
What if I am concerned about someone else?
CAPS provides consultation to concerned parents, students, or faculty/staff. CAPS
will typically not reach out to a student based on this type of consultation, however
CAPS staff will guide you in managing the situation. Additionally, you may choose
to complete a Student Concern Response Team (SCRT) report. The SCRT team is charged
with ensuring, to the extent possible, coordinated efforts to provide services of
University Departments are made available to the involved student(s). The report template
is available at scrt.wcu.edu.
What if I do not like my counselor?
We understand that not all counselors are a fit for you. If you find that you are
a not a good fit with your counselor, we ask that you bring this up in your session.
Usually, this will help you and your counselor better understand each other and enhance
your work together. However, if that conversation does not resolve your concern, you
can contact the CAPS office and leave a message about switching counselors. At this
point, a CAPS Administrator will reach out to you to resolve the situation.
What if I don't like the recommendations that my counselor made?
We ask that students trust that CAPS' clinicians are making the best recommendation
for you and your current concerns. Even if the option seems uncomfortable, we ask
that you give it a try, knowing that discomfort often brings about change. If you
choose not to follow through with the recommendation to engage at CAPS, we can provide
outside referrals for you.
Do you provide testing services?
CAPS does provide limited psychological assessment for ongoing clients to inform and
enhance treatment. CAPS does not provide any ADHD testing or other testing necessary
for determining accommodations. Students may seek these services through the McKee
Psychology Clinic (828.227.2473).
Do you provide documentation for accommodations?
CAPS will only verify diagnoses for ongoing clients who are seeking accommodations
through the Office of Accessibility Resources (828.227.3886). However, CAPS does
not provide letters of support for emotional support animals.
What if I am in crisis?
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency during business hours, come to CAPS
(225 Bird Building).
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency after business hours, call University
Police at 828-227-8911 and ask to speak to the Crisis Counselor.
Other emergency resources:
Appalachian Community Resources - 888.315.2880
REACH (Sexual Violence Resources) - 828.369.5544
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800.273.8255
Trevor Project (LGBTQ Crisis support) - 866.488.7386
What is Catamounts for Recovery?
Catamounts For Recovery (CFR) encourages students in recovery to take ownership of their personal and intellectual
development and be accountable to themselves, each other and the larger community.
CFR provides resources to help students strengthen life skills including effective
communication, appreciation and respect for diversity, wellness, creative problem
solving and critical thinking. In addition, students learn how to use their personal
experiences to talk with their peers about what recovery means to them.
CFR offers training, seminars, resources and fun sober activities that support both
ongoing recovery and academic achievement.