Informed Consent for Counseling Services at CAPS

Except in emergency/crisis situations, CAPS staff have a legal and ethical obligation to obtain your informed consent before initiating services.


CAPS maintains a policy of confidentiality. All services are guided by the Ethical Principles and Standards for Service Providers of the American Psychological Association and by the licensing laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

All information disclosed within the session, as well as the fact of registration for services, is confidential and will not be revealed to anyone outside CAPS without your written permission, except under several conditions: a) where disclosure is required by law; b) when there is a substantial likelihood that you will, in the near future, cause serious physical harm to yourself or others; or c) if there is a substantial risk that you will suffer serious harm due to lack of capacity to protect yourself from harm or provide for your basic needs. In cases (b) and (c), CAPS staff may be obligated to seek hospitalization for you, and/or inform appropriate individuals who may be able to help intervene and protect (e.g., VP of Student Development, Dean's office, UR Police, your parents, members of the Threat Assessment Team).

The CAPS Privacy Practice Notice provides more detailed information about possible uses and disclosures of confidential information. Please be sure to read it carefully.

How Counseling Works

Counseling is a mutual, collaborative process. You and your counselor will work together to develop goals on which you want to work. Your counselor cannot change you, but acts as a facilitator. Only you can change yourself. You are responsible for making the effort to work on the problems or issues that concern you. Your counselor is committed to help you in this process.

When you are working with a counselor, it is important to honor the commitment you have made to meet with your counselor, and to take an active role. For example, it is helpful if you:

  • Spend time between scheduled sessions thinking about what you and your counselor have been discussing
  • Follow through on any actions you agreed to take
  • Take the initiative to bring up issues or topics to talk about with your counselor

Counseling works best when you and your counselor develop a good working relationship, based on mutual trust, honesty and respect. If you are experiencing any problems or difficulties relating to your counselor, we encourage you to discuss these with her/him and attempt to reach some resolution. Sometimes you and your counselor may decide that it is best for you to meet with another therapist.

Counseling Outcomes

No one can guarantee that counseling will produce certain results. There are some risks associated with counseling. For example, you may discover things about yourself that are uncomfortable; sometimes relationships change as a result of counseling; if you are discussing a traumatic event with your counselor, sometimes the feelings get more intense. We can assure you that your counselor will use her/his professional skills to the best of her/his ability to address your concerns and help manage possible risks.

Right to Revoke This Consent

You have the right to revoke this consent in writing and terminate services at CAPS. In that event, CAPS staff members are willing to help you locate alternative resources, either on or off campus.