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Spotlight on Counseling and Psychological Services

AS Senator-at-Large John J. Alfonso and AS Vice President Lucy Montano

Dr. Ferdinand Arcinue is one of the licensed psychologists who provides counseling for CSULB students at CAPS.

CAPS serves a vital role in helping students deal with life situations that might otherwise obstruct academic progress and success. The mission of CAPS is directly linked to the core educational mission of the campus. Services exist to support student learning, development and success. They are targeted to remove the psychological and emotional barriers that threaten academic excellence and personal well-being. Teaching students how to manage strong emotions, resolve conflicts and develop healthy relationships contributes to the development of a safe and productive campus learning environment.

There is increasing evidence for the link between personal growth and intellectual, emotional and social processes. Health and wellness are connected to optimum learning and academic success. CAPS is committed to an approach to psychological and physical health that focuses on wellness. Wellness is a holistic approach that recognizes the importance of the mind-body connection. It is a proactive approach that encourages individual responsibility for self-care, with the goal of increasing awareness for healthy lifestyle choices and achieving more balance and integration in life.

A wellness approach fits well with CAPS’ efforts, as it naturally merges with the department’s traditional life-span developmental model of counseling. The approach allows CAPS to expand the range and scope of its services to meet the mental health needs of CSULB’s diverse campus community. Outreach and consultation activities, such as workshops and psycho-educational programs, are an important part of CAPS’ mission and part of a wellness approach. CAPS’ professionals recognize that traditional counseling approaches may not always meet the needs of a diverse student population and large number of first-generation college students, so they are open to alternative approaches.

CAPS’ programs and services address the various dimensions of wellness. In the social/interpersonal dimension, students participate in a therapy or support group, learning to develop effective communication skills and supportive relationships. Individual counseling helps students cope more effectively with situational stress and develop positive self-esteem and identity. In the physical dimension of wellness, CAPS offers programs on stress reduction, healthy eating and body image, and supporting healthy lifestyles. In all dimensions, self-awareness, clarification of values and conscious choices are key factors.

CAPS collaborates with other campus departments, such as Student Health Services, Disabled Student Services, Women’s Resource Center and Housing and Residential Life, to expand wellness programs that focus on issues such as sexual assault prevention, alcohol/drug education and healthy relationships. As planning for the new Student Recreation and Wellness Center moves forward, CAPS anticipates opportunities to collaborate on future programming. The long-term goal of these collaborations will help students attain well-balanced, integrated healthy lifestyles which enhances learning and academic success.

In addition to services for students, CAPS oversees the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. This program offers counseling, coaching and educational services aimed at helping university employees lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. As part of its efforts to promote wellness, FSAP offers workshops on a variety of topics such as increasing creativity, positive psychology and healthy approaches to food/eating. FSAP aims to support changes in behaviors that improve overall well-being and promote a positive work and personal environment.