CaPS, also known as Counseling and Psychological Services at Cabrini University is in search of a new permanent director. There’s currently an interim director holding down the position: licensed psychologist Dr. Bryan Peightal.
Dean for Student Engagement and Leadership Dr. Anne Filippone said of CaPS, “They really are focused on the mental health of our student population. Students come in with varying needs in terms of mental health within the community, and so, they provide individual appointments.”
Filippone added CaPS does training and consulting with student leaders and faculty to provide additional mental health support.
CaPS offers services to students such as telehealth and in-person sessions, and same-day urgent appointments or mental health emergencies.
Filippone said, “Our former director was Dr. Alissa Brown. Alissa left for a new opportunity that was closer to home and a great opportunity for her and her professional career, and she left at the end of summer.”
Challenges of not having a permanent director
Filippone acknowledged the department’s current challenges. She said, “There is great need in terms of individual appointments with students and the clinical presence of our counselors. And so, to really have those appointments with students to be able to meet the need that exists on our campus, the challenges are that we’re down a counselor.”
She added that there are some administrative tasks that would come with the director role that Peightal currently covers. However, due to supporting tasks like these that come with acting as director, he has fewer available hours to meet with students.
“In terms of ongoing meetings with our counselors, there may be some challenges there,” Filippone said. “We haven’t experienced that yet. But there are kind of different spikes across the semester. As students hit that midpoint, as they hit critical times in the semester, the needs may be greater … in the past, we’ve had times when we have students maybe on a waitlist to be able to be seen by a counselor.”
The search process
The search process started after Brown’s departure. There was a gap in time of trying to identify the skills, abilities, and qualifications CaPS sought in a director candidate, Filippone explained.
She said, “It’s a committee, so, there would be many different voices at the table. All of our searches obviously would run through our Human Resources department. We have to get approval to rehire for the position, which we did. You have to have an updated job description, make sure everybody’s on the same page.”
Now, Filippone said, “Hopefully we’re in the final stages. We’re finalizing interviews now, and then hopefully we’ll make a decision and offer soon.” She believes students will return in the fall semester with a permanent director in place and added that, ideally, CaPS will have a director before the end of this semester.
Allowing for “long-term thinking”
Peightal explained the importance of having a permanent director, “I think it allows for long-term thinking within the counseling center in terms of establishing meaningful successful relationships with other departments on campus.”
Peightal added, “Being able to implement some of those longer-term goals and longer-term policies could benefit the Cabrini community not just beyond this academic year but for many years.”
Nonetheless, he said CaPS has had a lot of stability with the rest of the staff, and it’s a staff he feels incredibly confident in and comfortable with.
“We’ve actually, you know, created a little bit of a community here, and as a result, we were able to kind of implement a lot of the policy that we’ve been operating from for the past couple of years,” Peightal said.
Junior digital communication and social media major Skyler Kellers said she believes the new director of CaPS should be, “The sort of person … who’s really passionate about what they do.”
Kellers believes CaPS has helped her pinpoint trauma and lessen it. “CaPS is important to me because it’s a great resource. I go on Wednesdays, and you know, you might not feel like in the moment that you need that exact help, but it’s to maintain your happiness, maintain your homeostasis.”
CaPS offers a six-week mental health group for all students called Solving for Distress, which started Thursday, March 23, and continues until Thursday, May 4. These are drop-in groups. Students can attend whichever themed sections best fit. Sections are led by different CaPS staff members.
The sessions will be held in Grace Hall, Academic Affairs Conference Room, second floor from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Contact CaPS with any questions at 610-902-8561 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CaPS is available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Infante House on Residential Blvd.