Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is served?
- What is the cost?
- How do I make an appointment?
- What about confidentiality?
- How can I refer someone for counseling?
- What can I expect at my first appointment?
- What are my responsibilities as a client?
- How will I be treated by Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) Staff?
Currently-enrolled Mercer undergraduate and graduate students on the Macon and Eastman campuses are the target population for CAPS services. (Non students or students who are not currently enrolled are not seen at CAPS for services.)
All of our services are free for those eligible to receive counseling.
You may call (478) 301-2862 or come by to set up an initial appointment. We do not make appointments or engage in counseling via e-mail due to concerns for confidentiality and irregular monitoring of incoming messages.
CAPS staff maintains strict rules of confidentiality. Information shared between client and counselor cannot be released to anyone, including family or university, without the consent of the student. The exceptions to this rule are when extreme harm could come to the client or another person if confidentiality is maintained, or when required by law (e.g.,child abuse).
Often faculty, staff, friends or family will notice changes in an individual before he/she does. This may result in concern for the person and a desire to refer them for counseling. We suggest that you first speak to the individual, expressing your concern for them and encourage them to call or come by CAPS to make an appointment. If necessary, you may make the call and let the student make an appointment. If appropriate, you may walk the student over to the center and provide support. You may also call and consult with staff to gather ideas on how to refer an individual who may be wary of seeking help.
You will be asked to come in a few minutes early for your first appointment. This is for you to fill out paperwork insuring your rights and confidentiality and to help identify symptoms of the concern that you are presenting with.
During the session with the counselor, several things will be accomplished. First, you will have a chance to describe why you are seeking counseling, and why you chose this particular time to do so. Also, of interest will be things like how long you have been troubled by this problem, what you have tried in the past to solve it, whether it resembles problems you have had in the past, something about your family background, and other possible areas of interest like a history of abuse, substance use, and general health. At the end of the session, the counselor will help you plan a course of action which may include:
- assigning you to a counselor, either the one you are talking to or to someone else, for ongoing counseling
- making an appointment for you to talk with a counselor who leads a group to decide if the group would be most helpful for you
- suggesting some other action you could take to improve your situation
- referring you to another counselor if they offer more appropriate services.
- The primary responsibility of a client is to participate.
- You are the expert regarding what you are experiencing and we can only work with what we are told and observe. You know what has and hasn't worked for you in the past and what you are and are not willing to attempt in counseling. You will need to communicate these observations to your counselor in order for the two of you to find effective ways of dealing with your concerns.
- Be on time for appointment, and if you must cancel or reschedule, please do so as soon as the conflict is apparent.
- If you agree to attempt an intervention or homework assignment between sessions, follow through with it. If you are unsure or uneasy about an assignment, communicate this to your counselor so that the two of you may make an adjustment or try something that feels more achievable at that time.
Counselors are aware of and respectful of the different strengths, challenges, beliefs and situations that individuals present us with.
We respect your right to privacy and will adhere to the standards of confidentiality to the fullest extent allowed by law and our ethical guidelines.
We are committed to treating all students with the fullest respect and dignity. Discrimination in any form will not be tolerated.
We recognize that the individual is the best expert on him/her self. The individual client has the choice to participate as much as he/she is comfortable with, and to continue to or cease counseling, as they deem appropriate. (We do ask that individuals inform their counselor if they intend to cease counseling as that we may receive feedback and plan our schedules accordingly).
Professional standards and responsibilities call for an avoidance of "dual role" relationships. This means is that your counselor should not be a current professor, employer, or social friend.