Counseling and Psychological Services
Information for Family and Friends

How CAPS Can Help Parents

  • Speak with a therapist

    Clearly, if a student is imminently suicidal or endangering his or her life, or the life of someone else, immediate action is indicated (please see Suicide Prevention or Emergency and After Hours Care if this applies to you). However, there are "grey areas" when professional services might be helpful but your student wants to handle things on his or her own. 

    Because college students are considered adults, there are legal limitations to how much you or we can help if your student is unwilling to schedule an initial evaluation. However, we invite parents to call CAPS to speak with one of our professional staff if you have any questions about our services or if you are wondering how to assist a son or daughter struggling with a particular issue. We can also provide parents with referrals to therapy services outside the University. 

    To contact us, please call 206.296.6090 during normal business hours, Monday - Friday from 8am - 12pm and from 1pm to 4:30pm. 

    If you feel that a serious situation requires that a University official reach out to your student, you may contact the Dean of Students and/or their Residence Hall Director.

    What does confidentiality mean for parents and other family members?

    Confidentiality is essential to the therapeutic relationship we establish and maintain with students who seek our services. We adhere to confidentiality guidelines mandated by Washington law as well as those required by our professional licensing boards. We understand and appreciate that parents often wish to be involved when their son or daughter seeks psychotherapy; however, confidentiality law does not permit us to talk with parents in any way about their child's participation in therapy without the student's written consent (except in certain emergency situations). Under ordinary circumstances, we can not confirm or deny that a student has come to CAPS for a psychotherapy session or disclose the name of his or her therapist. However, if you are worried about your child, you are welcome to contact CAPS and share your concerns.

    Self-help information

    Parents and students can access self-help virtual pamphlets on a wide range of issues (e.g., grief and loss, students in distress, anger management, computer multitasking) through our website. Our website features links to resources that assist students with developing or improving their study habits and other academic skills. In addition, we have links to pamphlets and information on a variety of topics developed by other universities.

    Scheduling an appointment for your student

    If your son or daughter is not yet accustomed to scheduling health, counseling and date appointments, now is a good time to learn. We have found that the students best know their own schedule and that they are more likely to keep appointments they scheduled. A therapist can talk with you about ways to encourage your student to schedule an appointment and how to talk to him or her about psychotherapy.

    Paying for psychotherapy services

    Brief psychotherapy at CAPS is provided to SU students currently attending classes at no charge. Students who need or desire longer term psychotherapy, psychiatric care or specialized mental health treatment are referred to community resources. These costs are covered by the student's own health insurance and financial resources. Health and mental health providers are plentiful on "Pill Hill" (as the adjacent neighborhood is known due to the number of health resources located there).

    Links and resources

    Below are several links to informative websites that you might find helpful.