Our Treatment Approach

Our Treatment Approach

CAPS takes a goal-focused and collaborative approach to counseling and mental health treatment. Essentially, we help students improve their lives by focusing on the change each individual person wants to make, and we then use our expertise to help them achieve it. 

Your first visit will be a 25-minute session that we call a “consultation” (usually available within a few days of contacting us, often sooner). During that appointment, your clinician will focus on learning about your goals for treatment and meeting your immediate needs, and will then make a recommendation about next steps (individual counseling at CAPS, helping you connect with specialists in Providence or other offices on campus, workshops, etc). 

Clients tell us that they usually need between just one session and up to a few months of sessions to reach their treatment goals, and they usually come in every other week during that time. We have found that clients that are able to dedicate more time and energy to counseling outside of the sessions usually have quicker and better results.

Scope of Practice

We are mindful of the types of things we are equipped to help with in our center, which is referred to as our “scope of practice.” Generally, CAPS offers individual counseling for students: 

  • When our goal-focused counseling approach is likely to be or has shown to be effective,
  • When the student is freely choosing to access treatment,
  • To treat low-moderate severity of depression, anxiety, stress, suicidal thoughts, relationship and social concerns, non-suicidal self-injury, eating concerns, identity development, experiences of discrimination, substance use issues, sexual assault and trauma, and a wide range of others.

Connecting to Off Campus Care

Although we assist the majority of students that look to us for treatment, there are some limitations in what we can provide (things that are outside of our scope of practice). This is when we help connect students to other sources of care, often by setting up a meeting with our Student Care Coordinator. In general, student concerns are outside of our scope of practice when: 

  • Our goal-focused counseling approach is likely to be, or has shown to be inadequate, ineffective, or harmful,
  • The student can be helped more by another office, service, or specialist on or off campus. 
  • The student's counseling needs are best met by therapists that offer exploratory, or longer-term supportive care. 
  • The student needs higher levels of care (partial programs, inpatient treatment, etc), longer term or more frequent counseling (more than every other week), or specialized care that CAPS does not provide, 
    • Some examples of situations like this include chronic or serious eating disorders, and severe mood and anxiety disorders that are likely to require weekly therapy for long periods of time.

We also help connect students to other resources when rare situations arise such as when there are frequent no-shows or scheduling challenges, when students are already in the care of another clinician, when the student has been mandated to treatment, when the safety of the CAPS staff is in question, when a student is misusing medication prescribed by CAPS, or when there is potential litigation against CAPS.

    Financial Concerns

    If there are concerns related to being able to afford community care, we can help you connect to university resources that may be able to help cover the cost of treatment. The Assistant Dean for Financial Advising is our primary source to contact.

    Urgent Care & Crisis Stabilization

    All students enrolled at Brown are eligible for urgent care and crisis stabilization services. In situations where you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or someone else, or when there is a situation you are experiencing that needs immediate care, please use one of these urgent care options