Need Help Now?

If you would like to speak to a clinician immediately, please call 855-854-1747 or text or call 988 for the national crisis support line. You can also call CAPS at 805-437-2088 for a crisis appointment.

Table of Contents

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Where is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) located?

CAPS is located in Bell Tower East 1867.

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When to ask for help

Sometimes personal or psychological problems require more assistance than can be found within your own circle of support. CAPS offers counseling for students who are struggling with issues related to family, social and romantic relationships, life transitions, sexuality, grief, stress, sexual assault, anxiety, loss of motivation, depression, eating disorders, and substance use concerns. If you are dealing with any of these concerns or need professional help in general, please come in or call for an initial consultation.

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How do I make an appointment?

Call 805-437- 2088 or email and we will get back to you within one business day. For urgent matters during our regular business hours, students can be seen immediately.

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Can I get a letter for my Emotional Support Animal (ESA) from CAPS?

No. It is our policy at CSUCI CAPS that we do not provide documentation for Emotional Support Animal (ESA). You would need to get that documentation from a licensed clinician in the community who is qualified to make that recommendation for you.

For more information on the process for obtaining approval for an ESA at CSUCI, please review this information: Disability Accommodation and Support Services (DASS).

In order to be approved for an ESA in Housing, you will need to review this form in particular with a current treating provider for them to sign.

Once signed by your current provider and submitted to DASS, they will review it with you to make a determination.

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What if I make an appointment and decide I don’t need help?

Pressure that prompts you to seek help can ease a bit and it may seem unnecessary to go for counseling. However, these same issues tend to recur until resolved. If you need to miss an appointment please call to cancel as soon as possible.

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Is CAPS just about counseling sessions?

No, not at all! A major part of a college education is the "life lessons" we receive through experience. CAPS offers educational services to help students with “Life 101.” In addition to providing individual, couples, and group counseling, CAPS conducts workshops and is available to work with campus groups and organizations. This includes lectures in classes and working together with many campus offices and programs to support students’ learning in the classroom and in life. Any issue, big or small, is appropriate to discuss.

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When should I visit CAPS?

Here are some examples of when you should definitely visit CAPS:

  • When you feel trapped or that there is nowhere to turn
  • When you worry all the time and never seem to find the answers
  • When the way you feel is affecting your sleep, your eating habits, your job, your relationships, your classes, and how you take care of yourself in everyday life
  • When you feel depressed and can’t seem to pull out of it

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What if I need psychiatric medication?

CAPS contracts with a board-certified psychiatrist on a limited basis for those students that require evaluation and administration of psychotropic medication. Additionally, CAPS maintains a referral list of psychiatrists in the local area. The CSU Healthlink student insurance program covers psychiatric visits for certain conditions.

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What can I accomplish in short-term counseling?

Our goal is to help you learn how to help yourself. We’re familiar with the University and what it’s like to be a student here, both the good and not-so-good parts. This gives us the inside track in supporting you as a person and as a student. You might be surprised at how much can be accomplished. CAPS can work together with outside therapists, too, for your benefit.

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How can I refer someone for counseling?

Faculty, staff, friends or family will often notice changes in a student before the student does, resulting in concern and a desire to refer them for counseling. We suggest that you first talk with the student, express your concerns and encourage the student to call or visit CAPS to make an appointment. If appropriate, you may make the call and let the student schedule a session. If desired, you may walk the student over to the office and provide support. You can also call and consult with a counselor regarding how to refer an individual who may be reluctant to seek help.

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Who provides the counseling?

All counseling services are provided by licensed Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT), and licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW). There are also clinicians in our practicum training program who are completing graduate degrees and are closely supervised by licensed clinicians.

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Are there after-hour emergency services?
In the case of an emergency, please call 911or go to your nearest emergency room. Other CRISIS resources include:
CSUCI’s 24/7 Crisis Support

  • Call the CAPS main office at 805-437-2088. After the greeting, select option 2 or
  • Utilize the National Text Support by doing the following:
    • Call or text 988 from anywhere in the U.S. a crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 800-273-8255

Rape Crisis Center for Ventura County: Call 800-300-2181 for services regarding Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence

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Where can I find more information about privacy practices?

CAPS is staffed by a team of mental health professionals to assist you in addressing your mental health concerns. In order to provide you with the highest quality of care we utilize an integrated treatment approach. Our interdisciplinary team of clinicians works collaboratively to optimize your wellness through seamless prevention and intervention. We value the privacy of our clients and the confidentiality of the personal and health information entrusted to us. In order to protect your personal health information, we have policies and procedures regarding disclosure of your Personal Health Information (PHI). For the full notice of privacy practices (PDF, 110 KB).

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I have a question not covered here in the FAQ – who should I ask?

Call us at 805-437-2088. You may also email questions to CAPS at However, we do not offer counseling sessions via email.

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I want to give feedback to CAPS, how can I do that?

We are interested in feedback about your experiences with CAPS. Please feel free to highlight a staff member who provided you with exceptional service at CAPS. We also welcome critical feedback so that we can improve our services. Please feel free to submit this form or contact the CAPS Director, Dr. Kirsten Olson with your feedback. She can be reached at or 805-437-2088. Thank you for your time in giving us the opportunity to work with you.


The Board of Behavioral Sciences receives and responds to complaints regarding services provided within the scope of practice of (marriage and family therapists, licensed educational psychologists, clinical social workers, or professional clinical counselors). You may contact the board online at, or by calling 916-574-7830.


The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Board of Psychology receives and responds to questions and complaints regarding the practice of psychology. If you have questions or complaints you may contact the Board on the Internet at, by e-mailing, calling 1-866-503-3221 or writing to the following address: Board of Psychology 1625 North Market Blvd, Suite N-215 Sacramento, CA 95834

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How do I request my records from CAPS?

At times, current and former students need documentation of the services they received at CAPS. We are committed to providing clients with timely and open access to their own clinical records consistent with the spirit of the Cures Act, Open Notes provision. Currently, our Electronic Health Record system, Titanium, does not have the option for clients to directly access their clinical records.

If you want access to your mental health records or documentation that you attended CAPS for any reason, please contact us so that we can assist you with your request.

Sometimes students are unclear about whether they need their entire clinical record or whether a summary letter or phone call to a new provider could be more helpful in coordinating care. If you would like, we can confirm the nature of your request to assure we are sending the correct information for your needs. However, you still have direct access to your clinical record even without consulting with a CAPS clinician.

If you would like a copy of your records sent to you, another clinician or third party, please complete the form at the following link:

Whether you want your entire clinical record and/or a summary letter, we will make every effort to provide you with your records within 48 business hours. If you have any questions about requesting your records or need your records sooner than 48 hours, please contact CAPS at or 805-437-2088.

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Where can I apply for health insurance?

To apply for Medi-Cal ONLY:

Other Health Insurance:

  • To apply for Medi-Cal and “Obamacare” (Affordable Care Act), please visit Covered California.
  • You can also search for “Independent Heath Insurance Broker or Agent” in your browser.
    • These are people who can sell insurance for several different health plans.

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How do I apply for health insurance?

If you don’t have a family health insurance policy, then we recommend students get a personal one. Health insurance not only covers your medical costs; it covers your counseling costs. It is a good thing to have. Start now; don’t wait until you are faced with an emergency.

To apply online:

  • Have your driver’s license and your W-2 forms handy.
  • It will take about 45 minutes to complete the application.
  • Once it start early!

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How do I transfer a Medi-Cal policy from another county?

  • If you have a Medi-Cal Policy in another county, make sure you transfer that policy to Ventura County Medi-Cal BEFORE you come to college.
  • If you are on a family policy, your parents must initiate the change. 
    • They must call in to the local Medi-Cal provider and request the change.
  • If you are over 18, and have been on a family Medi-Cal policy, you will need to get your own Medi-Cal policy. 
    • This does NOT happen automatically.
    • Your parents will have to call your local Medi-Cal provider and request the change.
  • If you are 18 or older, have never had a Medi-Cal policy, and are NOT being claimed as a dependent on your parents’ tax return, you can apply for a Medi-Cal policy in your own name.
  • If you already have a Medi-Cal card in your own name from another county, there are two agencies in Ventura County that can help you transfer your Medi-Cal policy. 
    • Human Services Agency
      • To apply online, click on the red button that says, "Apply Here." 
      • To apply by phone, call 888-472-4463.
        • Tip: Call in the morning. Wait times are usually longer in the afternoon.
    • Interface Children and Family Services
      • You will need to call, 805-485-6114, to schedule an appointment with a representative and they will help you with the application process. 
      • No online application is available for this resource. 

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How do I apply for insurance coverage as a naturalized citizen?

  • If you are a naturalized citizen and want to apply for Medi-Cal, you will need to provide proof of naturalization. 
    • This can be the naturalization papers and/or a US passport.
  • See section on how to apply for health insurance for next steps.

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How do I access my health care benefits?

Most insurance companies will give you an insurance card that has a telephone number for “member services” and/or “customer service.”

  • This is the number that you will want to call when you are trying to find out what your benefits are.
  • You may have to wait on the line for a while; so be prepared.
  • The insurance company will usually ask you to verify your date of birth, home address, member ID number, etc.
  • Once you have done that, they will tell you what your medical and/or counseling benefits are.
  • B>Some of the insurance companies will give you an authorization number. Be sure to write this down; this is the number you will need to give to your provider. 

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How do I obtain a list of in-network providers from my insurance?

Once the insurance company has confirmed and identified your benefits, ask them to give you the names of in-network providers.

  • Some of them will give you this information over the phone or will send you an email.
  • Others will ask you to go onto their website and find a provider.

To find a provider on a website:

  • Set up an account on the insurance company website
  • Create a password,
  • Enter the main page where you will see something like: “find a provider”
  • Type in your zip code in the space provided.
  • Once you’ve done that, a list of names will pop up.

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How do I screen in-network providers?

Researching potential providers:

  • Sometimes, you can do research on the insurance company’s website.
  • More often, you can do it on Psychology Today and/or by typing in the provider’s name in Google. 
    • This website can be useful in that you will get a chance to read the therapist’s bios and specialties whereas, insurance company’s provider lists typically only give phone numbers and addresses.

Using Psychology Today:

  • You can use the website to check the list of provider names you have been given by your insurance company
  • You can use the website to find names of other people in your area who can take your insurance.
  • Enter your zip code in the box that says, "Find a Therapist".
    • This will give you a list of providers in your area.
    • You will need to narrow your search by entering the type of insurance you have.
      • Hover your mouse over the word "Insurance" to select your type of insurance from the drop down menu.
  • If you don’t see your insurance company’s name on the list, then it is likely you will have to use the insurance company’s website and/or whatever you can find on Google.

The Screening Process:

  • Go through the list of names that comes up after you type in your zip code
  • Filter by the name of your insurance company. 
    • These are all people who should be able to take your insurance.
  • Read up on each one. 
    • Once you click on their names, a full page of information will open up.
    • This will give you the name of the clinician, the type of license, educational background, and the training and experience they have. 
    • Read this information carefully. See if you think there is a “fit” for you.
  • Be sure to pay attention to the information listed on the right-hand column for each of the names you select. 
    • This will list the person’s specialties (or areas of special training).
    • Examples, in the counseling area, might be: 
      • ADHD, relationships, PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc.
    • Pick 5-7 names from the list that you have been given and/or have found on the Psychology Today website. 
      • These are people who you feel are possible therapists for you.

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How do I contact my in-network providers?

Once you have selected your 5-7 names of possible providers, call them and leave your contact information.

  • Ask if they are taking new clients.
  • Leave your name, phone number, and type of insurance.
  • If you have an authorization number, tell them you have the number but DO NOT leave that information on the answering machine.
  • Ask them to call you back.

Before the clinician calls you back:

  • Spend some time thinking about what you want to ask them.
  • At a minimum, you want to ask them if they have worked with someone who has your concerns.
  • You want to interview them; you want to be sure this is the right person for you.

When you get a call back:

  • If you like the clinician, then go ahead and make an appointment.
  • If, for any reason, you feel the clinician is not suitable for you after you’ve completed the first interview, then look for another clinician. 
  • Always remember that you are the customer; you are paying for these benefits.

You are allowed to choose the clinician that you feel is best for you

If you have questions or concerns about obtaining mental health care from your insurance, please contact Dr. Alexis McKenna, Clinical Case Manager at 805-437-2088.

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Where can I get more detailed information about health insurance & how it works?

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How do I access long-term counseling?

How do I access Kaiser Mental Health Services in Southern California?

How do I access Kaiser Mental Health Services in  Northern California?

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