CAPS counsellors are trained to provide effective evidence-based interventions to help students build strengths, improve well-being and achieve academic success. Individual counselling is free, confidential and available to all currently enrolled undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University of Sydney.
We offer three types of individual appointments and are open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. To attend any of these sessions either contact us to book an appointment or you are welcome to drop-in to CAPS and check if there are any available appointments on the day. CAPS locations are also available on the Contact us page.
Short appointments (25 minutes)
If you are experiencing a psychological concern and are seeking brief, practical advice this could be the best option for you.
These sessions of about 25 minutes assist you to problem-solve and obtain the key resources needed to help manage your concern. These sessions are particularly useful for students who may not want ongoing counselling but would like some brief, psychological advice on an issue. There are a number of short 25-minute appointments available each day.
Ongoing counselling (25 or 50 minutes)
If you’re struggling emotionally and are seeking ongoing counselling, this could be the best option for you.
Ongoing counselling sessions often involve longer consultations (50 minutes) in combination with shorter 25 minute sessions. CAPS psychological interventions are based on recognised best psychological practice. To cope with heavy demand, CAPS offers up to six sessions per student. Should you require more than 6 sessions, your counsellor will explore referral options.
Mental health emergencies
If you are experiencing an urgent mental health concern please come straight to the CAPS office. Reception staff will ask a counsellor to see you as a clinic emergency. This service is only available during working hours.
For after hours emergencies and further information please see our page on crisis information.
Appointment cancellations and changes
You are welcome to phone and change your appointment(s). However, due to the high demand for appointments especially during peak periods of semester we ask that you give a day's notice if you want to change or cancel your session. If you fail to attend an appointment without 24 hours notice it will count towards the maximum number of sessions that we are able to offer you each year. Find out how to contact us.
Confidentiality and information storage
Our counsellors are registered psychologists and follow the codes of ethical conduct of the Psychology Board of Australia and the Australian Psychological Society.
Our staff will not discuss your personal information or attendance details with anyone outside of CAPS, unless you have given us your written permission. The only exceptions are when:
- your counsellor judges that not to disclose information would result in clear danger to yourself or to others
- reporting of information is required by the law
- your file is subpoenaed by a court of law.
Counsellors are required to keep records of each counselling session for the purposes of monitoring progress and statistical analysis of our service’s efficacy (e.g. CAPS attendance numbers, average number of sessions and common presentation issues). We will not use your name, contact details or other identifiable data in these statistics.
Your counselling file is kept online at CAPS, and is not connected to your University student file. Only CAPS staff can access your file. We are required under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIPA) to keep this file for seven years after the last date of contact. Or, if your were under 18 at the last date of contact, the file must be kept until you are 25 years of age.