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Frequently Asked Questions

What services does CAPS offer?

CAPS offers initial assessments, crisis intervention, consultations, referrals, case management, stress clinic, workshops, group therapy, brief couples therapy, and brief individual therapy.  Both ongoing individual psychotherapy and specialized services (such as inpatient treatment, intensive and extensive psychotherapy, etc.) are generally seen as a student's private health care responsibility -- that is, students see private providers in the area, covering the cost with a combination of insurance benefits and out-of-pocket payments. If you need ongoing psychotherapy or specialized services, you never have to wait to begin working with a private provider -- there are abundant services available within a short distance of campus, and your CAPS clinician can help you connect with the care you need.

For students who are not quite ready to take the step to seek formal mental health services at CAPS, three additional resources might be helpful:

  1. The Emory HelpLine: A confidential, peer-staffed telephone hotline (available 8:30 PM-1 AM, 7 days per week during the academic year): (404) 727-4357.
  2. The ULifeline Self-Evaluator (available 24/7): An anonymous online self evaluation that screens for thirteen of the most common mental health conditions that college students face.  Access the self-evaluator via the CAPS homepage or directly at:
  3. The National Crisis Text Line (available 24/7):  Text "HOME" to 741 741

What hours is CAPS open and where is it located?

We are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. We are closed Saturday and Sunday, as well as all university holidays. We are located at 1462 Clifton Road, Suite 235.  Directions to CAPS can be found on our main website page:

What should I do in an emergency?

In an emergency involving physical harm or a threat to life, call the Emory Police Department at 404-727-6111 or call 911.   In case of psychological emergencies during business hours, you can attend a CAPS triage crisis appointment available M-F, 8:30-3:30. 

For mental health crises outside of these hours, students may contact:
-Emory Student Intervention Services (SIS) Team at (404) 430-1120
-Georgia Crisis & Access Line at (800) 715-422
-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255
-National Crisis Text Line at 741 741 
-Emory University Hospital Emergency Department at 1364 Clifton Road or (404) 712-7100
-Dekalb Medical Center Emergency Department at 2701 North Decatur Road or (404) 501-1000

How long does it take to get an initial appointment?

In general, you can schedule an initial assessment appointment within a few days to a week of your call.  To schedule an Initial Assessment appointment, please call CAPS at (404) 727-7450 or stop by 1462 Clifton Road, Suite 235, Monday thru Friday between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm.

If you are experiencing a crisis, we have Urgent Care Walk-in hours available Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 3:30. Please note that crisis walk-in appointments are typically brief (15-30 minute) triage appointments designed to assess the situation and determine next steps. 

What will happen in my initial assessment appointment?

Your initial assessment will take approximately 90 minutes.  You will need to arrive 20-30 minutes early to complete detailed paperwork.  Please note that if you are running more than a few minutes late, the front desk staff will need to reschedule your appointment in order to allow adequate time for the clinician to meet with you and assess your needs

During your initial assessment meeting, the clinician will obtain information about your presenting concerns, your history, assess your needs, and then provide information regarding appropriate next steps.  The clinician will determine if it is in your best interests to be seen for brief supportive individual, couples, or group counseling at CAPS, be referred to our Stress Clinic or other skills-based classes, or be given a referral into the community for long-term counseling. The clinician who meets with you will answer questions and help you throughout the process.  Students may or may not be assigned to work with their initial assessment clinician for individual therapy. 

How long does it take to get assigned to a therapist?

Following a student’s initial assessment appointment, a recommendation will be made for services either on or off campus.  If clinically appropriate, students can be referred for brief individual, couples, or group therapy at CAPS.  There are also a variety of alternative and immediately available resources on or near campus. 

In general, an assignment for brief therapy at CAPS will be made within 2-4 weeks of a student’s initial assessment.  It is important to keep in mind that therapy assignments are made based upon a number of factors such as the time of the semester, a student’s schedule of availability, and the urgency and severity of their concerns.  If a student waiting for therapy assignment experiences a shift in circumstances, they may contact CAPS (either the clinician who conducted their initial assessment or the case manager) to update their information and discuss options for more immediate care either on or off campus.  Students who choose to remain on the waitlist for assignment to a CAPS provider should talk with their initial assessment clinician for an estimated wait time, which in some instances may take up to several months depending on various factors.  In addition to psychotherapy, CAPS offers classes on Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance.  Students waiting for assignment to a therapist are welcome to attend any of these drop in classes to begin working on skill development in these areas.  In addition, students can ask their initial assessment clinician about a referral to CAPS’ Stress Clinic that utilizes state-of-the-art biofeedback equipment to help participants develop individually tailored stress management skills. 

What is the process for getting reassigned to a different therapist?

Therapy reassignments are made on a case-by-case basis and usually involved consultation with the Clinical Director, Dr. Cynthia Whitehead-Laboo.  Students who wish to consult with the Clinical Director about this may contact her by calling CAPS at (404) 727-7450.

Will I get psychotherapy at CAPS or off campus?

All students can use CAPS as their first stop in trying to resolve whatever difficulties they are experiencing. You will either continue with the clinician you first meet, be assigned to another clinician, or receive a referral to an outside clinician or service, depending on what makes the most sense in your particular situation. CAPS uses a time-limited model of therapy in order to accommodate the needs of all the students we serve. Most students who need ongoing, long term counseling/treatment see a provider off campus.

If ongoing psychotherapy is indicated, there are many reasons for you to choose to go off campus rather than be seen at CAPS. You might feel it is more private to have your own clinician off campus rather than coming in to CAPS. You might already have the name of a clinician in the area whom you would like to see. You might go off campus for services that aren't available at CAPS such as formal psychiatric assessment, neurological services, intensive individual psychotherapy, drug detoxification and treatment, inpatient services, day-treatment, etc. Sometimes the only reasons for you to see a private provider rather than an on campus clinician is that you need to begin immediately rather than waiting for the next available CAPS psychotherapy opening.

A CAPS clinician is still a good first step -- someone who can listen confidentially to your concerns and help you find ways of coping with them. If you do need off-campus treatment, your clinician can help you find services that are maximally affordable, accessible, and appropriate for you.

What will my counseling cost?

All of the services offered at CAPS are free to fully registered Emory students.  However, CAPS will charge fees for no-show appointments ($50 for initial assessments and $30 for therapy appointments). In order to avoid a no show charge, you must cancel the appointment at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment by calling (404) 727-7450 (day or night). If you are assessed a no show charge it will appear on your Emory bill as “No Show EUSHCS."

Is my contact with CAPS confidential?

Yes.  The policies of CAPS, the ethical principles of counseling professionals, and state law all agree that it is important to protect the confidentiality of your conversations with a clinician. Your confidential information will not be disclosed outside the Center without written authorization given by you, except when disclosures are legally permitted or required, such as in situations when child abuse, elder abuse or disabled adult abuse is suspected, when the therapist has reasonable cause to believe that a client presents a danger to himself/herself or others, or in response to a valid subpoena (except for privileged communications) or court order.  Minor students under the age of 18 who voluntarily seek treatment will need to obtain consent from a parent or legal guardian following their initial consultation in order to pursue treatment.

If you are seeing both a CAPS clinician and a psychiatrist in Student Health Services for treatment, it is generally helpful for them to be in touch with one another.  Many students also find it helpful in some circumstances for their clinician to speak with a parent, dean, or faculty member.  These communications can occur with a signed authorization to release minimally necessary information.  It is up to you and your clinician to discuss what would work best in your particular situation. If you have any questions or concerns about confidentiality, feel free to bring them up with a clinician.

Will my sessions become part of my official student record? 


I’m just looking for a referral or services off campus.  Can CAPS help with that?

You can call CAPS at 404-727-7450 and ask to speak with our Case Manager to request community referrals.

Is it true that some of the clinicians are still in training?

CAPS is a nationally accredited and highly-respected training site for doctoral interns, post-doctoral fellows, and post-MSW fellows.  There are no undergraduate trainees at CAPS. You can be confident that your clinician has the training appropriate to help you address whatever concerns you might bring in.  All trainees are closely supervised by professionals, and held to the highest standards of practice.

Does CAPS prescribe medications? If I already have a prescription for medication and all I need is someone to refill it, can I do that at CAPS?

CAPS does not prescribe medications. However, psychiatric services are available at Student Health Services. For more information about their services, visit their website:

If you already have a prescription, don't wait until your prescription has almost run out to arrange for a refill. Think ahead. The first person to consider contacting for a refill is the health care provider who originally gave you the prescription. If that provider is not available, not acceptable to you, or is located outside of the Atlanta area, you can contact CAPS for a referral to a local provider. No responsible provider will refill your prescription without meeting with you for an initial evaluation, so you must allow for enough time before your prescription runs out to connect with a new provider -- allow at least two to three weeks.

I am interested in starting Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Do I need a letter from a therapist at CAPS?

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is available through Emory University Student Health Services (EUSHS).  They do not require a referral letter from CAPS to provide HRT services. You may call Student Health directly (404-727-7551) and ask for an initial appointment with Dr. Haw. Appointments for HRT at EUSHS may be limited to specific times a month, so we encourage you to call as soon as you are ready.   Starting HRT can be a stressful and emotionally draining process. It can impact your mental health, social support, and how you experience the world around you. We recommend that you meet with one of our therapists to discuss how CAPS can emotionally support you through this journey. It may also be helpful to check out the different resources and discussion groups hosted at the Office of LGBT Life on campus (

Am I eligible to use CAPS?

All currently enrolled Emory University undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students are eligible for CAPS services.  Students who have graduated or taken a leave of absence from the university are not eligible for CAPS services, but can be assisted with accessing community referral options as needed. 

How do I offer FEEDBACK about the services I received at CAPS?

All clients are asked to provide feedback on the CAPS services they receive as a routine part of their care.  Clients who do not have the opportunity to complete the evaluation of services form at CAPS or who would prefer to offer anonymous feedback, can complete an Evaluation of Services form available on the Clinical Services page of the CAPS website.  The form contains instructions on how to submit feedback and students are invited to attach additional comments as needed.  Thank you for helping us to continue to improve our services!  

If I'm worried about someone other than myself, what should I do?

You can call CAPS at 404-727-7450 to consult with the therapist on call if you have concerns about someone other than yourself.  You can also contact the Student Intervention Services Team if you would like a university staff member to reach out to a student of concern (( 

I think my friend needs help. How do I get them to come in to see you?

It can be very difficult for you when someone you care about is in pain. You might find yourself feeling helpless, frightened, frustrated, or angry. You can't make your friend seek help if they don't want to or don't feel they need it, but here are some things you might offer them as a friend:

  • Let your friend know, in some private setting, that you are concerned. Suggest that they make an appointment with CAPS to see if we can be of help. Try to phrase your communications in "I" language, rather than "you" language: for example, "I care about you and I feel concerned when I see you hurting" rather than "You are in trouble and you need help."
  • Offer to sit with your friend while they call for an appointment.
  • Offer to accompany your friend to CAPS during Urgent Care Walk-in hours or to their Initial Consultation appointment, and either wait in the waiting area or go in to the appointment with them.

What other sources of support are available to Emory students?






Why did Emory institute the Mental Health fee? 

The Mental Health fee is an important funding supplement for Emory University's mental health services. Money generated by this supplemental fee is spent entirely on increasing counseling, psychiatry, health, wellness, and crisis intervention support services for Emory students. It costs a great deal more than $78 per student per semester to run Emory’s mental health, counseling, psychiatry, health promotion, and student intervention activities. However, this additional funding source adds critically important dollars at a time when our campus, like other schools across the nation, is focused on meeting the mental health, wellness, and safety needs of both individual students and our whole community.

Why is there a need for such a fee?

In recent years, Emory offices that support the mental health needs of students (CAPS, Student Health Psychiatry, Office of Health Promotions, Student Success) have seen a steady increase in demand for services. This supplemental fee helps us to both meet that increased demand and continue to provide high quality and timely care for our students' needs. The supplemental fee also allows us to provide the additional services that Emory students have specifically requested, such as more mental health providers, expanded alcohol and other drug prevention services, and more wellness outreach programs.  We are also concerned about the stigma often felt by students who want to seek help for mental health or alcohol and other drug problems/concerns. With resources from this fee, we will intensify our efforts to educate students and reduce this stigma in our community.

Why not charge for visits to raise additional needed funds? Shouldn’t users fund the needed changes and staffing enhancements? 

We believe that there should be no charges for students seeking counseling, psychiatry, alcohol and other drug counseling, health promotion/outreach activities, and student intervention services for enrolled Emory students.  This is because any impediment to students seeking needed mental health care presents a real and present risk to both the individual student and the community. Even if an individual Emory student never uses campus mental health services, these services are still critically important to him or her because these services will be used by a friend, a roommate or a classmate in need of help. 

How is the supplemental fee used? 

The fee is used to hire more personnel, increase programming and enhance patient care technology (including web-based patient portals for students).  Via these additions and enhancements, we foster the continued development of an Emory community that is even more healthy and supportive for our students. Our overriding goal is to support student success in and out of the classroom, and help empower students to take care of themselves and others in creating a healthy campus culture. Our strategies are consistent with best-practices in clinical services, psychology and public health.

What benefits does this supplement provide to Emory students?  

Because of the Mental Health fee, students will see:

  • Improved access to services from increases in mental health professional staff;
  • Improved technology and web access to health services;
  • Increased health education programming including suicide prevention, alcohol and drug use education, nutrition and performance-enhancing food choices, stress management, coping, enhanced sleep and overall wellness; and
  • More visibility and awareness of our services through a campaign to reduce the stigma students may feel in seeking the help they need.

How was the decision made to establish the supplemental fee?  Did students have a voice in this decision?

The recommendations for adding the supplemental fee came out of former Emory President James Wagner's Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Task Forces in 2005-06.  Both of these task forces sought substantial input from students, faculty and staff. The task forces also analyzed campus health and wellness data and best practices nationwide. As a result, student voices were instrumental in the institution of the fee, and fee revenues are used exclusively to support services and programming for the benefit of students.