Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) recently hired two full-time therapists, filling the two positions that became vacant after sudden departures at the end of the summer, and restoring the same level of therapy resources that was available during the 2017-18 year.
Now that the two full-time therapy positions are filled, CAPS Director Jennifer D’Andrea says that the center is currently evaluating whether to expand the level of staffing.
“While we have added therapists, therapy hours, and medication management hours over the past five years, we have also seen the demand for services rise dramatically over that time,” D’Andrea wrote in an email to The Argus. “I am working with Student Affairs leadership to evaluate whether we will be able to increase the staff again. Other university counseling centers nationwide have experienced similar increases in demand, and they are also in the process of identifying best practices for meeting this demand for clinical services.”
Licensed Professional Counselor Priya Senecal joined CAPS as a full-time therapist on Sept. 24, after which she immediately began individual sessions with students. Senecal started her career in academic advising before working in private practice, nonprofit organizations, and intensive outpatient programs. Her specializations listed on the CAPS webpage include helping students with the adjustment to university life, anxiety, depression, personal relationships, and identity discovery. According to D’Andrea, Senecal is a “poly, kink, and LGBTQIA+ affirming” and trauma-informed therapist, meaning she will not pathologize students for discussing these topics in session.
CAPS has also hired clinical psychologist Virginia Taylor, who will begin working with students on Oct. 22, when school resumes at the end of fall break. Taylor specializes in working with college students struggling with disordered eating, body image issues, trauma, and relationship struggles.
CAPS is still in the process of hiring a psychiatric Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). After a new APRN is hired to fill the position of previous APRN Katie Scheinberg, the center will have filled all the vacancies from this summer. During the search for the APRN, CAPS put students who have an established history of participating in both CAPS therapy and medication management in contact with Davison Health Center Medical Director Thomas McLarney.
“We understand this is a very difficult situation, and we hope to have this position filled as soon as possible,” D’Andrea wrote.
In an email to The Argus, Emma Austin ’19, president of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA), wrote that CAPS is evaluating whether to move to a new structure in which its services would be compatible with insurance and could be used for long-term counseling instead of the current crises-focused structure of treating patients short-term.
The WSA announced the hiring of the two therapists in a Sept. 28 Facebook post.
“A new therapist, who is a woman of color, started at CAPS this week. Another therapist who specializes in eating disorders will start on October 22nd,” the beginning of the post reads.
Sara McCrea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sara_mccrea.