Need Advice? CAPS says "Let's Talk"
Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.
As a result of COVID-19, many campus resources have transitioned online in order to still provide students access, but in a way that makes sense for the current circumstances. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is one such office that has transitioned almost completely online; all CAPS services and resources (except for group therapy, which they plan to take online this fall) can be accessed from anywhere with a computer. The most accessible of these resources are the Let’s Talk sessions, which are walk-in consultations where counselors can quickly and easily meet with students. With what feels like a combination of the 1918 flu pandemic, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Great Depression all happening simultaneously, no one could blame you for needing a bit of time to reflect and talk through things. That’s exactly what CAPS hopes to offer with their Let’s Talk program.
Julie Lineburgh, a CAPS clinical counselor, says that the Let’s Talk program is “one of the first things we tried to do virtually. Because its virtual, you can’t really have a walk-in format like in person, but students can schedule a time that works for them online.” Students can sign up for a time on Campus Link and give their preference for conducting the session over a Zoom chat or a phone call. Let’s Talk sessions take place every day of the workweek in two-hour slots that are split between counselors (see the Let's Talk webpage for a list of counselors and their appointment times). Let’s Talk sessions are not traditional therapy; rather, they enable you to have a quick, 15-20-minute consultation with a counselor on whatever topic or issue you need help with. These sessions are free and confidential (with the exception of emergency situations that require immediate action).
What can you expect to walk away with in such a short amount of time? Next steps. “It depends on what you’re coming in for,” Julie says, “but what you can expect at minimum is that you will have a counselor listen to what is going on, offer some suggestions, and validate what you’re saying.” The counselor will go through further steps to take or resources to seek out with you during the session. The short time frame allows counselors (and you) to be more direct with the conversation, getting straight to the point of whatever topic is discussed.
Our unique circumstances in the time of COVID-19 (and all the other stressors going on in the world) mean that many of the problems we face are unique to the times. Julie pinpoints one of the challenges we currently face is in finding a way to ground ourselves, which can mean something different for everyone. Julie says that oftentimes a Let's Talk session will include "helping students manage uncertainty, helping with motivation in their research, and also dealing with isolation. Motivation is probably one that we help students with a lot already, but it’s taken on a different flavor now." These are likely things we've all felt with at some point in the last few months, so these sessions offer a constructive way to deal with them.