Personal Counseling

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Personal Counselors are here to help students identify and accomplish their academic and career goals, enhance personal development, meet life's challenges, and improve interpersonal relationships.

  • We offer FREE brief therapy sessions to individuals and couples who are matriculated students of San José State University.

You do not need to be in significant distress to seek counseling. Sometimes our beliefs or expectations of ourselves or of counseling results in a delay in seeking help until situations become serious, or we are already in crisis. While no issue is too big or small, many people tell us that they wish they had come to counseling sooner. Start a new journey and seek counseling earlier rather than later!

For more information about personal counseling, please click on the links listed below:

Why Counseling?

Gain understanding in a safe environment

A counselor provides a friendly ear for you to put your thoughts and feeling into words. By talking to a counselor, you will gain some understanding and possibly a different perspective on various life circumstances.

Your time

Counseling is more than talking to a friend; it is your time only, and you can choose to talk about what is important to you.

Gain support

Many people seek counseling for everyday issues (e.g., relationship difficulties, death of a loved one, stress) as well as significant life struggles (e.g., depression, eating disorders, etc.). Coming to counseling does not mean that you are crazy, but just that you have decided to explore new ways of dealing with life.

Gain knowledge

Talking to a counselor will help you understand yourself better, help you become more aware of what is important to you, and help you grow into the person that you want to be.

Gain feedback

A personal counselor can help you figure out ways to best cope with life problems, and find constructive ways to deal with situations that may be beyond your control.


A counselor will listen without criticism, and will keep what you say confidential, with a few exceptions. For more information about confidentiality of your records, please visist our site on confidentiality. All personal counselors at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) subscribe to the Code of EthicsExternal Link that Will Take User Outside SJSU Domain of the American Psychological AssociationExternal Link that Will Take User Outside SJSU Domain and are required by the State of California to maintain strict client confidentiality.

What Can You Expect From Counseling?

First visit

*If you would like to be seen, please call 408-924-5910 to schedule an appointment. Your initial appointment will be 15-20 minutes.

CAPS is available to respond to psychological emergencies during our office hours.

For both the initial appointment and the crisis drop-in, the counselor will meet with the student for approximately 15-20 minutes, evaluate the nature and severity of the student's difficulties, and discuss with the student a recommended course of action such as a few problem solving sessions, individual or couples counseling, educational counseling, group therapy, or referral to another university or community resource.

Length of time of on-going individual counseling

Besides the brief drop-in/initial session, a typical personal counseling session lasts 50 minutes.


At times, one counseling session is all that is required. Often, students find counseling so helpful that they come weekly and for several sessions. Sometimes, you and your counselor may decide that you only need to come in once every couple of weeks or once per month. This is something that is agreed upon between you and the counselor. The frequency of sessions depends on many factors, including the types of issues that are discussed and your schedules as well as the appointment time the counselor has available.


Counseling is a collaborative effort. You and your counselor will identify your goals -- what you want to have happen and you will discuss the realistic amount of time it may take for you to see any changes. Periodically, you and your counselor will review your progress and determine if new goals need to be set.

Your rights

Feel free to ask questions about the counselor's training, experience, ways of working, supervision, and their professional association affiliation, as well as their code of ethics and complaints procedure. Feel free to refuse to answer questions or discuss any aspects of your life that do not feel relevant or appropriate. You may stop counseling at any time for any reason. If you decide to stop counseling, it would be helpful to inform the counselor and to provide the counselor with some feedback.

What Factors Can Help Make Counseling Beneficial?

Individual experiences are different for everyone, however most people find counseling beneficial. In fact, nine out of ten Americans surveyed by Consumer Reports said that psychotherapy (personal counseling) had helped them.

Here are a few factors that can help make your counseling experience a better one.

  • For many students, counseling is unfamiliar and a risky step to take. It is helpful to discuss with the counselor any concerns you may have.
  • Counselors are there to facilitate your skills and to help you gain perspective so that you can improve your quality of life outside of the counseling sessions. Therefore, be prepared to continue your work and growth in between counseling sessions. This may come in the form of “homework” or reflection when you will think about the conversations between you and your counseling. You may be asked to act on ideas or decisions between those counseling sessions. Your actions will favor even more growth.
  • The relationship between you and the counselor is an important factor. If you feel that the relationship with your counselor is preventing you from speaking freely for any reason, try to talk about this with the counselor. This may be a good time to practice your interpersonal communication skills. Otherwise, you may also request a change to a different counselor.

Come to CAPS in Student Wellness Center, third floor, room 300B, to vent, gain different perspectives, and to learn more about yourself. If your academics are negatively impacted, we also have educational counselors who may help with your educational performance, time management skills, etc. Please call 408-924-5910 for more information or to make an appointment with an educational counselor.