CAPS earns international reaccreditation - University of Houston
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July 21, 2022

Counseling and Psychological Services has earned reaccreditation from the International Accreditation of Counseling Services, which focuses solely on evaluating professional counseling centers on university and college campuses.

Counseling services accredited by IACS have met the “highest established standards in the field,” the organization says.

“The reaccreditation by IACS validates CAPS’ compliance with national standards and the provision of quality mental health care to our students that meets the gold standard,” said Norma Ngo, director of CAPS. “I am especially proud of the ethical care provided by the entire team at CAPS deserving of this reaccreditation from IACS.”

Counseling and Psychological Services, one of the key health and well-being support services within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, first received IACS accreditation several years ago. To maintain its accreditation status, CAPS is evaluated every eight years.

CAPS also has accreditation from the American Psychological Association. Located in both the Health 2 Building and in the Student Service Center 1, CAPS offers a number of mental health services to the UH community, including short-term counseling, group counseling, and suicide prevention training. It also offers virtual services, including Let’s Talk, which offers more informal sessions with a CAPS clinician.

Over the 2020-2021 fiscal year, CAPS served 1,371 unique clients across all its services. After its first full year of offering all services via telehealth, surveys showed that respondents had a 90.8 percent approval rate with the virtual options CAPS offers. In recent years, CAPS has also implemented a new “stepped care model” that reduced its waitlist to zero.

“The pandemic and the high demand for our services has forced us to be innovative,” said Rune Moelbak, associate director for CAPS clinical services. “The result is a lot more flexibility for students about ways they can receive help and how they can reach us. We have introduced multiple new services such as Essential Skills Workshops and Single Session Therapy, and students can now choose between in-person visits or Zoom appointments depending on their preference.”

As part of this evaluation process, IACS first conducts a board review of information CAPS sends, and then an on-site review. Following the site visit, there is then a final board review before accreditation is granted.

Counseling centers who have received IACS accreditation must submit annual report materials each year and be re-evaluated every eight years to maintain that accreditation. As part of the evaluation process, IACS critical reviews CAPS on dozens of standards related to their services, including its relationship to the university community, how it meets ethical standards, and its resources and facilities.

These standards were first devised in 1970 and have been revised numerous times over the past few decades to reflect the evolving role and changes in the profession, but also to address technology and its ethical use in counseling, for instance.