UC Santa Barbara’s Counseling and Psychological Services does not offer long-term counseling because its staff limitations and budget do not currently allow it, according to Clinical Director Turi Honegger.
Honegger said the Counseling and Psychological Services (C.A.P.S.) budget would need to increase in order to meet the additional demands that long-term counseling would require.
Honegger defined long-term or “traditional therapy,” as “weekly, ongoing therapy that goes for months” and sometimes years.
C.A.P.S. serves approximately 10 percent of the student body yearly and does not charge students for the services offered unless a student cancels after a certain deadline or doesn’t show, Honegger said.
For long-term counseling, students without insurance would need to pay for sessions which would be anywhere between $20 to $150 per session, according to Honegger.
C.A.P.S. follows a short-term or “brief therapy” model that serves students on a need-to-need basis. This allows for flexibility among both students and staff schedules, according to Honegger.
In order to maintain free counseling for students, long-term counseling is not offered at UCSB, according to Honegger. Students who desire long-term counseling are typically referred to clinicians within the community that can provide more in-depth support.
“Some students who have a greater need [for more frequent counseling] are seen for longer; it depends on their financial resources and their level of need and what other alternative services are available out there,” Honegger said.
“Some universities like Stanford … offer long term therapy. [However] the moment you want longer term services, you [are] converted to utilizing your insurance,” he added.
C.A.P.S. currently has one psychologist for every 967 students and is aiming to expand to have one psychologist for every 750 students, according to Honegger.
“[C.A.P.S.’ desire] is to hire more clinicians and hopefully with that we’ll be able to serve more people and more efficiently serve them,” he said.
“[C.A.P.S.] believes very strongly that mental health resources should be available to all students … [because of this] it’s hard to have long term therapy options,” he said.
A future in which long-term counseling is offered at UCSB is a possibility, Honegger said. However, that would require C.A.P.S. to have a “bigger budget, a bigger building, and … more clinicians.”
Honneger said he believes most students are satisfied with the current short-term model C.A.P.S. follows.
“For the most part, students just want help getting through a rough time and don’t necessarily want the norm to be long term, extensive, and in-depth therapy,” he said.
C.A.P.S. concentrates on assisting students seeking help from professionals in building self-confidence, reducing stress and solving problems among other things, according to C.A.P.S.’ website.
“[C.A.P.S.] serves a pretty large percent of the student body,” Honegger said.
In the future, C.A.P.S. hopes to hire a social worker or a family therapist to do initial assessments of the students prior to providing counseling or psychological services.
C.A.P.S. is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students can also contact the office directly at (805) 893-4411.
A version of this article appeared on p.3 of the May 10 print edition of the Daily Nexus.