CAPS Policies

Statement of Purpose

Counseling and Psychological Services is a unit in the Division of Student Life and Development. The mission of this unit is to assist undergraduate and graduate students in defining and accomplishing their personal and academic objectives. To accomplish this mission, the goals of CAPS are as follows:

  • To provide high quality individual and group counseling to undergraduate and graduate students who may be experiencing psychological or behavioral difficulties;
  • To provide programming and curriculum focused on the developmental needs of college undergraduate and graduate students;
  • To provide consultation services to undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty with the goal of promoting an environment which maximizes the intellectual and emotional growth of our students;
  • To support research and evaluation activities to determine the efficiency of services being offered and
  • To support the integration of new professionals into the field.

Client Rights

  1. Our services are free of charge to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. If a staff member feels that the problem presented by the student is one that he/she cannot help in resolving, then the counselor will assist in making an appropriate referral.
  2. By state law, access to confidential information will be available only to professional CAPS staff except in the following circumstances when disclosure is required.
    1. When there is clear risk of imminent harm for the client or another person.
    2. When court ordered.
    3. When abuse of children or vulnerable adults is involved.
    4. When a pregnancy may be at risk because of chemical abuse.
    5. With a signed release from the client.
  3. By state law, a counselor shall ask a client whether the client has had or continues to have a professional relationship with another mental health professional. The counselor shall, to the extent possible, coordinate services for the client with the other mental health professional. The counselor will not undertake or continue a professional relationship with a client in which her/his objectivity would be impaired due to an outside relationship between the client and the counselor.
  4. The client has the right to refuse any of the tests or techniques used by a staff counselor, and can request a different counselor at any time.
  5. Staff members who are graduate student interns shall be identified as such. Other staff members are doctoral level Licensed Psychologists. A list of areas of competence is available.
  6. A counselor shall consider the client as an individual and shall not impose on the client any stereotypes of behavior, values or roles related to age, gender, religion, race, disability, nationality or sexual preference.
  7. Since there is often a waiting list of students, if you miss two consecutive appointments without calling to cancel, you will need to talk with your counselor before making another appointment.
  8. Your counselor or CAPS may ask you to evaluate counseling services that you have received. Your participation can be anonymous and is voluntary. We will appreciate your help with this effort to improve the quality of services.
  9. By state law, a client has the right to:
    1. Examine public records maintained by the board of psychology which contain the credentials of a psychologist;
    2. To obtain a copy of the rules of conduct from the State Register and Public Documents Division of the Department of Administration, 117 University Ave., St. Paul, MN 55155;
    3. To report complaints to the Board of Psychology, 2700 University Ave. W., #101, St. Paul, MN 55114-1095.
  10. The client is encouraged to report any perceived violation of the above rights to the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services or the Vice President for Student Life and Development.

Eligibility for Service

Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for services if they are currently enrolled at SCSU. This would include post-secondary enrollment students who may be under the age of 18. In those situations where the student is not emancipated from the parents, parental consent is necessary in order to provide counseling.

Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students may be seen for counseling during the summer or over the semester break.

Accessing Services
Counseling and Psychological Services will be open from 8 AM until 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. Appointments must be made by the client and may be made by telephone or face-to-face contact.

Session Limit

Counselors at Counseling and Psychological Services typically work with students for a period of a few weeks or months, sometimes longer, but we do not have a set limit to the number of sessions for which we work with students. In practice, we will make a referral to another provider in the community when a student has concerns that warrant lengthier or more intensive counseling than typically offered.

Ethical Standards

Adherence to ethical standards for professional practice is a condition of employment in the Counseling Center (Ethical Standards, APA, 2003; Accreditation Guidelines for University and College Counseling Centers, IACS, 1991). Additionally, licensed psychologists are regulated by the Minnesota Board of Psychology.

Clients Records

Professional staff members are responsible for the maintenance, use, and security of counseling records and client information. Records will be maintained in accordance with professional standards and with the primary goal of best serving the interests of the client. Client records will include the contents of the client folder. All material, which relates to the setting of appointments and which identifies the client by name, will be treated in a confidential and secure manner.

  1. Only members of the CAPS professional staff, including graduate level trainees on internship, shall have access to information in client folders.
  2. Records will be maintained for eight years from date of last contact, and then destroyed in accordance with IACS endorsed APA standards.
  3. The systematic maintenance of case records is a professional responsibility for counselors in this unit. Professional correspondence, clinical summaries, case notes, and testing information will be maintained in the client folder.
  4. A Client Intake Form will be completed initially by each individual who seeks counseling assistance from this Center. In emergency situations where time is critical or in cases where a client refuses to complete the Intake. Form, the responding professional will make a notation regarding the situation in his or her session notes.
  5. Case notes will be kept on each counseling session.
  6. Counseling records must be secured in the appropriate locked filing cabinets at the end of each day. Counseling records should not be kept in a counselor's office.

Case and Contact Notes
All relevant case information should be documented. Case notes will be kept for all counseling sessions. Documentation should include contacts with other professionals, informal consultation with colleagues and the director, case review feedback, calls from anyone regarding the case, letters requested and sent, re-conceptualization, referral, termination and all other relevant activities. Such notes do not have to be lengthy but should record activity in the care of the client. If a client initiates email contact, this along with the counselor's reply will be printed and placed in the client file.  

Procedure for Obtaining Permission to Serve Minor Clients
A counselor must obtain written permission from a minor client's legal guardian as soon as possible. The release should cover the previous sessions as well. Students should be made aware that their parent or guardian may view their file. If the guardian requests viewing the file, the subsequent information created after the age of 18 is pulled from the file prior to their review and placed back in the file following the review.

Reporting Apparent Child Abuse and Neglect
Minnesota statutes mandate that cases of suspected child abuse and neglect be promptly reported to the personnel in the county where the reported abuse took place. The Stearns County Social Service phone number is 320-656-6000. Staff are encouraged to consult with other staff members in such cases and to notify the director of the situation. Reports will be documented in the client's file.

Security of Counseling Records and Psychological Records
Client records are to be maintained in the file cabinets in the file room. The file cabinets and file room are to be locked when the counseling suite is unattended. Client files are never to leave the office suite or to be left anywhere they might be viewed by someone who is not an employee. Client records will be maintained by the Center for eight years after date of last service and then destroyed.

Initial Client Contact Paperwork
Once a student has asked for a counseling session the office manager will create a client number for them. Students will be asked to come in fifteen minutes in advance of their first session to fill out the necessary first session forms. The office staff have a script to follow when someone calls to request an appointment.


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