Nestled on the ground floor of the University Student Center is a beacon that helps George Washington University students navigate the stress, anxiety, and challenging times surrounding their academic lives and the world. around them and beyond.
The Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), located in the Student Health Center, is GW’s primary mental health clinic with a dedicated team of counselors working to build a culture of support and connection. Connecting with students’ health is at the forefront of activities.
Providing free, confidential services to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in at least one credit, CAPS supports the mental health and personal development of students by collaborating with them to address difficulties that may hinder academic, emotional, or personal success. It uses a personalized stepped care model to tailor treatment to students to provide quick and flexible access to health and well-being resources.
CAPS also offers same-day appointments from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Mount Vernon campus location and students in crisis can Visit any time the clinic is open. Many counseling centers only offer same-day crisis appointments, but CAPS also offers this service for recurring appointments. The crisis line at CAPS is open 24/7 at (202) 994-5300 (option 3).
In recent years, the number of college counseling centers has been growing significantly, and so has new CAPS Director Laura Finkelstein, who worked at five different college counseling centers before starting her GW tenure. in June, are looking forward to joining a team and school that is committed to helping its students in this capacity.
Laura Finkelstein, who started her role in June after spending six years as a student, said: “With the diversity of the student body, the resources available and the resources put into advising, it is clear Mental health is a top priority for Student Affairs. benefits leadership role at Marymount University in nearby Arlington, Va. That’s not always true at other facilities.
Resource availability is always important, especially in times of high academic checkpoints and unrest around the world. GW students who may be stressed or anxious about upcoming midterms or feeling grief, shock, sadness or anger about the terrible events taking place in Israel and Gaza are encouraged to use CAPS resources, in addition to other GW resources as the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, Student Affairs and Human Resources, among others.
Students can also seek mental health care through virtual resources such as SilverCloud and Academic LiveCare.
Our students often have a lot going on with classes, jobs, internships, families, and social lives. As they try their best to balance everything while trying to handle the heaviness of what’s going on in the world around them, they may not realize that they need help or simply not know Where to start, said the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Faculty. by student Colette Coleman. We are providing a safe, non-judgmental and confidential environment for students right on campus to support their mental health, well-being and overall personal development.
Student diversity means there are many different reasons for students to use CAPS resources. Taking student feedback into account, GW has hired or is in the process of hiring CAPS advisors focused on certain populations and identities. Currently, there are counselors specializing in alcohol and drug addiction, trauma, cross-cultural competency and, soon, the LGTBQIA+ community.
All of our counselors are required to have a certain level of cross-cultural competency to be hired here, so you can receive excellent care,” said Finkelstein, who earned his Ph.D. with many different identities and interests. in counseling psychology at the University of Denver. With that said, there has been feedback, especially from students who say it would be helpful to see advisors whose areas of expertise align with their particular identities, so we are targeting advisors have some of that expertise.
These identity- and population-focused mentors will also be active at events and workshops to make them visible to students.
The Center can help facilitate the transition for students who have already established their home care arrangements and are looking to re-establish ongoing therapy at their new GW home away from home. .
These students can do one of three things:
- First, they can stay with the clinician at home, especially since everything can be done virtually now. This is recommended if the student has a good relationship with their advisor and wants to continue that interest.
- Students can also turn to CAPS, which may be appealing if they want in-person services or free services, just because many places don’t offer free services. They can come in and say, I have a therapist, but now I want to turn to you, Finkelstein says. CAPS does not release any information for reasons of confidentiality unless the student signs a release of information.
- As a final option, if students want to stay with their provider but don’t have much privacy, CAPS offers open offices so students can comfortably talk virtually with their advisor from home privately.
CAPS is also offering a Resilient Minds Friday series, created by Assistant Director of Outreach RaShonda Riley. These workshops provide tips and skills for managing anxiety, stress, coping, and depression.
Some people really benefit from individual counseling while others are looking for quick advice, coping skills, more of an educational environment to learn these things, Finkelstein said.
There are also group advising options that will continue into the next semester. Finkelstein said one of the top reasons students participate in CAPS is social isolation, and these group sessions provide a way to focus on mental health while building community.
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