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Student Wellness Services  /  Counseling  /  Services Offered  /  What to Expect

What to Expect

June 26, 2023

When you call or visit Counseling Services you'll be greeted by our friendly front office staff. You'll be asked to confirm your status as an enrolled Caltech student.

If you are experiencing a crisis or feel the need to be seen on an urgent (same-day) basis, please inform the receptionist immediately.

Non-crisis initial appointments will be scheduled within 1-3 days with a clinician who has availability that matches yours. Our goal is to see each student seeking services promptly - this allows Counseling Services staff to make an initial assessment of your needs and make recommendations for appropriate services and resources.

You will be asked to come in 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time so you can complete paperwork, which includes a consent form, privacy practices, and information that will help us address your concerns most effectively. Arriving early for your appointment will allow the initial appointment to start on time and will provide you with ample time for discussing concerns with your provider.

Your initial appointment will last 25-30 minutes. This visit is focused on identifying the primary reason you are seeking counseling services, and assess for any safety concerns or risk factors. The clinician will also ask you a series of questions that will help inform next steps. You will have the opportunity to talk about any immediate issues that could benefit from problem-solving and strategies to manage distress. At the conclusion of your initial visit, you may be referred to one of our groups or workshops, scheduled for an intake appointment, or referred to the consulting psychiatrist, a community provider, or other resource that will be helpful to you.

General Information About Teletherapy

  • Teletherapy refers to counseling conducted via telephone or video.
  • Initial appointments, called triage appointments, will generally last 20-30 minutes. During this meeting, you and the triage counselor will come up with a plan based on your needs.
  • Prior to the triage appointment, you will need to fill out a brief demographic survey. If you are not living in Pasadena, California, then this survey will ask you some mandatory required questions to ensure adequate emergency coverage, including:
    • The name and phone number of your emergency contact;
    • The name, address, and phone number of the closest hospital with an emergency room; and
    • The telephone number (not 911) of the closest police or sheriff's department.
    • Please have this mandatory information available prior to your appointment.
  • If you are located outside of the state of California, your triage clinician will talk with you about finding providers local to you.

Video Appointments

  • Counseling Services has an encrypted, HIPAA-compliant license for Zoom that adds additional security features. You will need to sign into Zoom using the "Sign in with SSO" option. Please reference the instructions if you are having trouble signing in.
  • If you schedule a Zoom video appointment, your clinician will send you the link to join the meeting via a secure message through the Student Health Portal. The link will be generated and sent the same day of the appointment, usually a few minutes prior to the meeting.
  • Once a video appointment is in place, your clinician will initiate Zoom video promptly at the time of your appointment. It is important that you are available at the agreed-upon time. If you do not join the meeting within 10 minutes of the agreed-upon start time, you will have missed the appointment and will need to contact the front desk at (626) 395-8331 to schedule another one.
  • Please ensure that at the time of your appointment, you are someplace where you can talk privately.

Telephone Appointments

  • If your phone is set up to automatically reject calls from unknown or blocked telephone numbers, please temporarily disable this setting.
  • Phone calls may come from an on-campus number, and in some situations, a blocked or unknown number. Please answer the call anyway, even if you do not immediately recognize the number.
  • If you do not answer the phone, your clinician will try to call you again in 5 minutes, and then once more 5 minutes after that. If you do not answer any of those calls, you will have missed the appointment and will need to contact the front desk at (626) 395-8331 to schedule another one.
  • Please ensure that your voicemail is not full, and is able to receive new messages.
  • If the call is accidentally disconnected, your therapist will initiate the callback.
  • Please ensure that at the time of your appointment, you are someplace where you can talk privately.

All of the clinicians at the counseling center are licensed professionals. We abide by California laws that protect client confidentiality, and we recognize that you need to feel confident that your information and treatment are treated with privacy and respect. Confidentiality applies to both in-person therapy and teletherapy.

We know that confidentiality is an essential part of what helps counseling work and so we strongly protect students' confidentiality. The Consent for Counseling Services and Privacy Practices forms that students sign before an intake appointment outlines our responsibility to students' confidentiality.

Mon - Fri
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
1239 Arden Rd.
Mail Code 1-8
Pasadena, California 91125
Fax(626) 585-1522