Counseling and Psychological Services Services

Resources Available at CAPS

Whether you are entering your first week of classes, or finishing your last semester at Westmont, we're glad that you are here and ready to assist with your counseling needs.

Westmont College is a unique Christian and academic community dedicated to the development of the whole person. The mission of CAPS is to come alongside students in their process of becoming healthy adults, particularly at this critical juncture in life. This is facilitated through:

  • Direct Service - Providing individual and group counseling
  • Consultation - Discussing with others (e.g., parents, faculty) on how to respond to mental health concerns
  • Outreach - Educating the community toward proactive prevention

To best serve the campus, our services are provided free and confidential. We are ethically committed to confidentiality and federal/state laws require it, such that even a student's attendance is kept private and confidential. For further information, please visit our tab on confidentiality. All of our counselors are licensed or supervised by a licensed clinician.

Getting Started

CAPS is located on the lower part of campus next to Armington Hall, in the same building as the Health Center.

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm

For psychological emergencies outside of the hours from 8-5, please see our Emergencies page.

Call or email our Office Manager with questions or concerns. Please note, email and this phone number are not used for emergencies. If your concern relates to an emergency, please review the options on our Emergencies page.  

Phone calls, messages and emails are processed during normal business hours.
(805) 565-6003

Request an Appointment

Within 2 business days (while school is in session), our office staff will reach out to you in regard to scheduling an initial appointment with our center. While most students are seen within a week, depending on your availability and CAPS schedule of openings, it can sometimes be longer. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please go to the Emergency page for information on what to do. If you are experiencing a significant personal crisis, please indicate on your Request for Counseling form.

Between now and your appointment, start learning and practicing strategies to manage the distress you may be experiencing by accessing our Self-Care Ideas.

About Electronic Forms: To ensure confidentiality and to avoid timing out and losing information, you will need to complete your forms in one sitting. Anticipate that this process may take 20-30 minutes.

Please contact us if you need any assistance. Come in, call, or email our Office Manager @ (805) 565-6003 or

Cancelling an Appointment

PLEASE PROVIDE 24-HOUR NOTICE FOR CANCELLED APPOINTMENTS, so that office staff may reschedule the time for another student.


Except for outside referrals, CAPS services are covered by Westmont Student Fees.


CAPS is closed for all student holidays and breaks. If there is an urgent need during a holiday or break, please see our Emergencies page.

Westmont CAPS is available for consultations to those who have concerns about students. This includes faculty, staff, parents, and other students.

One option is to talk to a counselor regarding concerns, without naming a particular student. The counselor would be able to review pertinent emotional and ethical issues.

If there are concerns about a student who would be named and thought to be in counseling, that student could be asked if they would be willing to sign a “Consent for the Release of Information” form. This form, available at CAPS requires the student signature, the counselor signature, the name of the person to whom the information is going to, and the specific nature of the information to be released. No information would be released without the student’s written permission. Sometimes students do not want any information released and will not sign the form. While difficult for those concerned, the wishes of the student would be respected.

Sometimes concerned faculty, staff, parents, or students wish to provide information to a counselor, fully respecting confidentiality, with no expectation of any feedback from the counselor. The counseling staff is able to hear this information and utilize it as applicable. What is important to know is that it is the counselor’s prerogative whether to tell the student that someone gave the counselor information about them, who gave it, and what was said. The trusting, confidential relationship between student and counselor is the absolute priority. Withholding information, unless that information is detrimental to the student, may compromise the therapeutic relationship. We strongly encourage those with concerns about a student to talk directly and sensitively with that student, encourage them to go to counseling if they have not already done so, and if they are in counseling, to bring those concerns to their counselor.

The exceptions to confidentiality still apply, as stated on the Confidentiality Tab.

Law requires these disclosures.

CAPS provides off campus referrals to students for nutritional counseling, psychiatric evaluation, and off-campus therapy. Fees for off-campus appointments are the responsibility of the student. 

Navigating the process of securing treatment off campus can be confusing. To assist, we have a detailed page about navigating the process for finding an off campus provider.  Additionally, we are available to answer questions about referrals, as needed. Please speak to our office staff if you are interested in a list of off-campus referrals.

Common Obstacles to Off-campus Support, and Solutions

  1. I cannot afford to pay for an off-campus provider. Many, if not most, insurance providers cover expenses for mental health counseling, similar to an appointment with a physician. If you are unsure, contact your insurance provider or ask the primary member on your insurance (e.g., parent). If you do not have insurance or wish not to use it, many providers accept sliding scales or reduced rates, including some as low as $13 per session. 
  2. I do not have a car to get to an appointment. There are many options available, and we can work with you to find the best option. Borrow a car, have a friend drive, have sessions over Zoom, etc. 
  3. I would like a long term counselor, but short term therapy at CAPS is much easier. Some students try to "get by" with short term counseling, but are experiencing symptoms that require longer term counseling. In these situations, students do not get the care they need, and their symptoms may not improve or even worsen. If your counselor recommends long-term therapy (e.g., more than 12 sessions), we are happy to work with you on setting this up.



Many staff at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are animal lovers, as well as professionals and advocates for student mental health. Occasionally, we receive requests from students for letters in support of obtaining Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) to help manage or improve their mental health while living on campus.

While a service animal is individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, an emotional support animal provides companionship and emotional support for a person diagnosed with a psychological disorder, but is not trained to perform any specific task or function.  ESAs are classified under the Federal Housing Act and do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The American Counseling Association’s (ACA) position statement on Human-Animal Interventions in Counseling recommends that professional mental health counselors do not engage in the practice of writing letters recommending ESAs as an intervention for their clients, unless the counselor has had specialized training and experience in working with human-animal interventions in counseling. The codes of ethics for licensed mental health treatment providers across all disciplines specify that providers must only work within their boundaries of competence based on education, training, supervision, experience and credentials. At CAPS, while our clinicians are trained in the assessment of mental health diagnoses and treatment, the use of Human-Animal Interventions in counseling falls outside of our scope of practice.

The use of Emotional Support Animals as a treatment intervention has many potential risks to be considered: for clients, for the broader campus community, and the animal. Due to these potential risks, as well as ethical codes regarding scope of practice, clinical professionals at CAPS abstain from writing letters of support for Emotional Support Animals. 

If you are interested in this service, we are glad to provide you with a referral to a community mental health provider who has training and expertise in this area. Please see our Community Referrals page.