As part of a series on the Counseling And Psychological Services (CAPS) team at Minerva, below are short overviews of how CAPS operates and is used by students in the classes of 2022 and 2023 – written by Aspen Pflughoeft and Kalu Dawson Daniel respectively. Check out parts one, two, and three to learn more about CAPS – how it’s changed over the years and between classes!

Class of 2022

Almost all of the 150 students in the class of 2022 studied in Seoul during the Fall 2019 semester. The Seoul CAPS team, directly hired by Minerva, included two local professionals. The CAPS team did not limit the number of sessions a student could have, though they recommended students not exceed once a week. 

The Quest interviewed two M’22 students, who requested to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of discussing mental health. Both students said the Seoul CAPS team typically responded within a day. Both described difficulty connecting on a personal level to the counsellors, saying CAPS felt like “just an email” to them even after the short introduction during elevation. The students equated their CAPS experience in Seoul to “going to the gym because it’s a habit,” not because they saw large personal growth like they experienced with CAPS in San Francisco. Neither could pinpoint why this was, suggesting that transitioning counselors or shortened duration of counselling may have contributed to this feeling. 

During interviews with these students, both cited the convenience of having the Seoul CAPS office in the residence hall. However, they expressed concern about the centrality of the office potentially dissuading hesitant individuals from coming to CAPS. According to M’21 students, the Seoul CAPS offices used to be located about a 30 minute walk from the res hall.

When asked about the criteria for deciding CAPS office location, Dr. Hung reported three main criteria: student feedback, accessibility, & cost. The residence hall often fits these criteria. In response to the concern of the office being in the same building, Hung reports that “we have not seen counseling usage drop significantly in the cities where we are in the res halls.”

Class of 2023

There are currently 165 students in the class of 2023 with three counselors in San Francisco led by I Ching Grace Hung Ph.D. and Fabrizia Sacerdoti, senior Managers of CAPS for USA and Asia, respectively.

I interviewed five students in the class of 2023 about their experience with CAPS. When it comes to scheduling, students interviewed said it was easy, straightforward, and fast. One student we interviewed, who wants to remain anonymous, said it took her less than 5 minutes to schedule an appointment successfully. Another student, Meliane, from the class of 2023, said, “when I completed the form, I was asked to meet immediately.”  To schedule an appointment, CAPS directs students to send an email to [email protected] Besides, students have the option to include their preferred counselor (though not guaranteed).

Helen, from the class of 2023  who participated in the interview, said: “I love them so much.” Another student who will remain anonymous focused on the impact of the service and described her experience as “a place to talk about your weaknesses; it helps me a lot.” she added. One final student from the class of 2023, we interviewed who also wants to remain anonymous, described how the CAPS listens without interruption. She added, “I enjoy every moment of it” and “will probably continue every week.”