CAPS Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of counseling is to enhance students’ psychological wellness, help students achieve their personal goals promote student success, and increase graduation rates. Students may seek counseling for a wide range of concerns including relationships, stress, difficulty adjusting, identity development, academic challenges, depression, anxiety, and other concerns.

Please refer to our CAPS Services page.

CAPS provides counseling for student concerns that can be addressed within a brief therapy model. Students needing more comprehensive services that require longer term counseling or specialized treatment will be assessed and provided with community referrals. In these situations, the primary goal is to transition the student to the appropriate level of care.

Student concerns that may require a higher level of care beyond what CAPS can provide include, but are not limited to:

  • Repeated psychiatric hospitalizations and chronic thoughts of suicide and self-injury
  • Risk of harm to others
  • Severe eating disorders
  • Alcohol and substance dependence needing detoxification and ongoing treatment
  • A manifestation of psychotic symptoms (current symptoms such as hearing or seeing things that others do not hear or see, feelings of paranoia, lack of need to sleep for the last several days and having plenty of energy, or having major difficulty functioning) with or without medication treatment
  • Comprehensive psychological assessment testing for ADD/ADHD or other similar concerns.
  • Frequent need for crisis services, or need to be seen multiple times a week.
  • Seeking evaluation and assessment:
    • To obtain a letter for an emotional support animal
    • To obtain diagnoses and accommodations documentation for the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC)
    •  For court mandated and legal reasons
    •  For employment related concerns (e.g. fit for duty)

CAPS provides brief personal counseling to SF State matriculated and enrolled students. CAPS services are covered by the student health fee. CAPS does not provide counseling services to College of Extended Learning students (CEL), except CEL International Graduate students. Limited counseling services are also available to American Language Institute (ALI) students.

CAPS strives to provide students with the earliest available appointment within one to two weeks. During the heaviest utilization periods, typically toward the second half of each semester, wait times may be longer. In cases where a student may be experiencing a crisis, a student may be seen by a counselor for a same-day crisis consultation.

The SAFE Place provides daily crisis appointments for sexual assault, intimate partner violence, dating or domestic violence, sexual harassment, and/or stalking. Students in need of this service should specify “SAFE Place” when calling to schedule their appointment.

Please visit our Services page to make an appointment.

If you are unable to keep an appointment, please call CAPS at least 24 hours in advance, so that we may make the time slot available to another student seeking service. Please assist us in achieving maximum utilization for this important university resource. Missing two sessions without giving 24 hours' notice may be grounds for termination. You may be required to consult by phone with your therapist about treatment progress before another appointment is scheduled.

** If you do not provide at least 24 hours' notice when you are unable to attend a scheduled therapy session, a $20 NO SHOW / LATE CANCEL fee will automatically be charged to your student account. Voicemail cancellations are acceptable if we are unable to answer your call.

Your relationship with CAPS is confidential except:

  • When you give written permission to release information
  • In certain life or death emergencies
  • if your Counselor believes that you intend to harm yourself or others
  • If child abuse/neglect or dependent adult abuse/neglect is suspected, your Counselor is legally and ethically bound to report
  • If you are gravely disabled and need hospitalization
  • By Court Order

In some cases, CAPS, the Peggy H. Smith Counseling Clinic, and Student Health Services (SHS) may share your private health care information for the purposes of coordinating your care.

In the event that you encounter your Counselor outside the CAPS office (e.g. at a campus program, walking across campus, etc.,) your Counselor may not greet or acknowledge you unless you first greet them. This procedure is followed to preserve your confidentiality.

CAPS does not communicate through e-mail, text or social media because it is not a confidential form of communication and may compromise your privacy. In limited circumstances, we may communicate through e-mail with your written permission.

You register for a workshop by visiting our CAPS Virtual Workshops page.

We are only able to accept students into the group who sign up with their SFSU email.

You will receive an email at least two hours prior to start time on the day of your workshop.

No, this is a psychoeducational workshop and cannot take the place of psychotherapy. In this case, please refer to the CAPS homepage for ways to access therapy. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact 911 or an emergency mental health service in your local community.

The best thing to do in this situation is to talk directly with your counselor. Counselors are eager to get your feedback, positive or negative. Often, an open conversation about your concern helps smooth out any wrinkles. If, after talking with your counselor, you prefer to transfer to someone else, just ask your counselor directly.