CAPS continues to offer therapeutic services both in-person and over telemental health. If you are interested in using your own insurance to see a provider outside of CAPS, please use this document to guide you in the process. For additional self-help therapeutic support, please see below.
TAO is an online platform of tools and educational materials to help you learn about and change how you think and feel. TAO Modules are designed to help you have a better understanding of your personal situation and equip you with tools to aid you in feeling less anxious now and as you go forward in your life. Some concerns that may be addressed by TAO include:
Depression | Anxiety |Communication |Substance Use Issues | And many more!
Sign up for self-guided TAO using your Pacific.edu email address. If you are a current client, ask your therapist to help design a TAO program that is right for you.
If you need support accessing TAO contact 209.946.2315 x2. Questions related to privacy and your information while using the self-help features of TAO should be directed to email@example.com.
We recognize that some personal concerns may not require professional attention or that some people may not wish to meet with a therapist at this time. With this in mind, we have provided information here about a variety of issues that affect many students.
Relaxation exercises are easy to learn and implement and can be remarkably effective in addressing stress, test anxiety, all kinds of phobias and other similar concerns.
Incorporating breathing exercises into your daily life
- Tune in to your breathing at different times during the day, feeling the belly go through one or two risings and fallings.
- Become aware of your thoughts and feelings at these moments, just observing them without judging them or yourself. Then let them float away and go back to focusing on your breathing.
- Be aware of any changes in the way you are seeing things and feeling things about yourself while you do this.
How to use audio clips:
- Try to practice whichever exercise you prefer at least once or twice a day. Expect your ability to relax to improve as you continue practicing and expect to practice two or three weeks before you become genuinely proficient. Once you learn how to do one of the exercises, you may no longer require the recorded instructions and you can tailor the exercise to your own liking.
- Avoid practicing within an hour before or after a meal (either hunger or feeling full may distract you). Also avoid practicing immediately after engaging in vigorous exercise.
- Sit quietly and in a comfortable position, with your legs uncrossed and your arms resting at your sides. This is especially important when you are first learning the relaxation techniques.
- Adopt a calm and accepting attitude towards your practice. Don't worry about how well you're doing or about possible interruptions. Instead, know that with repetition your ability to relax will grow.
- When you are ready, close your eyes, begin listening to the recording and follow the directions. As you complete the exercise, you can expect your mind to wander a bit. When this happens you can simply re-direct your focus back to the recording.
- Once you've finished, stretch, look around you, and remain still another minute or two.
- As you become more skilled, try applying the exercises to specific situations that might otherwise be anxiety provoking, such as tests, oral presentations, difficult social situations, job interviews, insomnia and so forth. If you need help learning or applying the exercises, consider meeting with a therapist.
1. Don't panic and make too much of the final.
Start by checking to see how much the final is worth in each of your courses. Remember, it is only one component of your final grade. If it is worth 20% or less, you probably won't be able to bring your final grade up or down by more than one grade level (e.g., B to B+), unless you perform extremely better or worse than you have on other exams and assignments during the semester.
2. Don't be too relaxed and make too little of the final.
On the other hand, you should try to do as well on the final as you possibly can. Furthermore, sometimes the final is a big part of your final grade (30% or more), in which case it is more likely to make a significant difference in your final average. It is better not to go into the final with the idea, "I just need to get x number of points to keep my B (or whatever it is) average." It may not be possible to calculate this accurately anyway, since teachers sometimes compute things like participation grades at the very end.
3. Make time for "renewing" activities.
This is NOT the time to stop exercising or doing other things that you find enjoyable. Pace yourself! Taking a 15 to 20 minute break where you exercise or engage in another relaxing activity will decrease your stress levels and allow you to focus better on studying the material that you need to learn.
4. Use an effective study method.
The key to effective retention is repetition, and not overloading your brain (it can only absorb so much in an hour). Schedule out your time so that you can focus on each course. Remember that it's better to study in small chunks of time (e.g., 40 minutes of studying with 20 minute breaks in between) than it is to study in large chunks of time (e.g., 5 hours of studying with a 5 minute break at the end). Taking a 20 minute break gives your brain time to process and consolidate the information you just studied.
5. Get enough sleep.
Don't pull an "all nighter." You will do better if you are rested, and cramming often leads to a superficial and confused knowledge of the material you have studied. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is used as torture. Failure to follow tips #4 and #5 can lead to writing nonsense on exams. Teachers often fall off their chairs laughing at some of the silly statements that appear on finals.
6. Resist the urge to party on "off" days.
Instead, if you have a break in your exam schedule, use it to get a head start on the exams coming up. This can be a time to catch up on missed reading. REMEMBER: if you party, you will need to recover! Research has shown that people who engage in high risk drinking deaden their cognitive skills (i.e., ability to recall and organize information).
7. Double check exam times.
You might think this is unnecessary. "Oh, I would never forget my exam times," you might say. "I have even had nightmares about them!" Nevertheless, it has happened. When you are taking many exams in the same week, it is easy to confuse the times. Write the time on a sticky note and put it on your refrigerator, computer, class books...anything that you will see on a regular basis.
8. Follow the rules of good exam taking.
Start by taking a couple of deep breaths to relax your body and then read the directions for the exam thoroughly. Skim through the entire test before you begin so that you are better able to budget your time. If you get stuck on a problem, move on and come back to it. Later questions may give you the information you need to answer the first question. Concentrate! If you notice yourself daydreaming simply bring your focus back to the test. Ask for clarification if something is unclear and proofread your work before handing in the exam.
9. Don't worry about others finishing earlier than you.
This could mean ANYTHING. Sometimes it means that these students have written a mediocre or poor exam. Take the time YOU need and don't worry about the time someone else needs.
10. When the exam is over...let it go!
Forget it! Move on to the next one, or go enjoy the break! If you do have major concerns, make an appointment to see your professor at a mutually convenient time.
The grieving process is a normal and natural process that every person goes through when someone they love has died. The grieving process can be slow and emotionally painful. It can be less painful if you try to understand that loss and grief is a natural part of life, and if you can learn to accept your loss and believe in yourself. Believe that you can cope with tragic happenings. Let your experience be a psychological growth process that will help you to deal with future stressful events.
You may experience some of the symptoms below. This is normal.
- Shock / Disbelief: This is the numbing, disorienting sense that the death has not really happened. This reaction can be intensified and complicated if the death is sudden, violent, or unanticipated. Your mind may be telling you "there must be some mistake," or "this can't be true." These symptoms typically last from several hours to several days.
- Anger: You may be confused when you feel anger. Your anger may be targeted at a number of sources. You may feel waves of anger at the doctors who treated your loved one, anger at your family members for not rallying together, anger at God over what seems senseless or unjust, and/or even anger at yourself or the person who died and "left" you.
- Guilt: You may blame yourself for not doing more, not being there enough, or not being there when the death happened. You may feel regret over "unfinished business," such as conflicts you and the deceased never resolved, or feelings between the two of you that were never fully discussed or shared.
- Sadness: You may experience a deep sense of loss. There may be moments when you find yourself at a loss for words, weeping, or bursting uncontrollably into tears.
- Numbness: Your mind only allows you to feel your loss slowly. Following the death of someone close to you, you may feel overall emotional numbness. What has happened may seem unreal or dreamlike. You might wonder What is wrong with me?! Feeling nothing during grief is alienating, but know that this feeling will not last forever. Typically numbness lasts for a few days to a few weeks.
- Fear: There may be anxiety or panic; fears about carrying on, fears about the future. If the person who died was an adult (partner, sibling, parent), it may bring up fears about your own sense of mortality or sense of being left behind.
- Depression: You may go through periods of melancholy, or "blueness," where you feel inclined to withdraw or isolate yourself. You may lose interest in your usual activities, or feel helpless or hopeless.
What You Need During Grief
Grieving the death of someone does not have a particular timetable. Mourning your loss may take weeks, months, or even years. For many individuals, the death of their loved one is carried with them throughout their lives. Although there is no "cure" for grief, here are several ways to help you cope with your loss, and begin to ease the pain.
- Time: Take time alone and time with others whom you trust and who will listen when you need to talk.
- Caring: Try to allow yourself to accept the expressions of caring from others even though they may be awkward. Helping a friend or relative suffering the same loss may bring a feeling of closeness with that person.
- Rest, Relaxation, Exercise, Diversion: You may need to give yourself extra amounts of things that nourish and replenish you. Hot baths, afternoon naps, hikes in the woods, a short trip, a project helping others -- any of these may give you a lift. Grief can be an emotionally and physically exhausting process.
- Goals: For a while, it will seem that much of life is without meaning. At times like these, small goals are helpful. Something to look forward to -- like lunch with a friend that day, a movie the next week, a trip next month -- helps you get through the time in the immediate future. Sometimes living moment by moment, or one day at a time, is the rule of thumb. As time passes, you may want to work on longer range goals to give yourself some structure and direction to your life.
- Security: Try to reduce or find help for financial and other stresses in your life. Allow yourself to be close and open up to those you trust. Developing or getting back into a routine helps. Focus on doing things at your own pace.
- Permission to Backslide: Sometimes after a period of feeling better, you find yourself back in the old feelings of extreme sadness, despair, or anger. This is the nature of grief -- one moment you're up, and next, you're down. Sometimes when you backslide, you are simply remembering or re-experiencing the trauma or enormity of your loss which starts to flood back and overwhelm you.
- Hope: You may find hope and comfort from those who have experienced a similar loss. Knowing what helped them, and realizing that over time they have recovered, may give you the hope and strength to envision that you, too, will eventually heal from your grief.
- Small Pleasures: Do not underestimate the healing power of small pleasures. Sunsets, a massage, a walk near the ocean, a favorite food -- all are small steps toward giving to yourself and regaining your pleasure in life itself.
- Be Aware of Drug and Alcohol Use: The use of drugs, alcohol, and even prescription medications may prolong and delay the necessary process of grieving. You cannot prevent or cure grief. The only way out is through the grief process.
- Permission to Change your Mind: Grieving can shake you up inside. You may have difficulty concentrating; or find yourself constantly reevaluating your priorities. You may be unsure or uncertain what you want in numerous aspects of your life. When you make commitments or plans, be sure to let people know you may need room to cancel or change your mind.
- Be Prepared around Holidays and Anniversaries: For many people, holidays, birthdays, or the anniversary of their loved one's death can bring up painful memories or revive feelings of longing and sadness over their loss -- even for those who believe they have "finished" their grieving and moved on. This "anniversary" reaction is a common part of the grieving process, but you may be still be surprised by the flood of emotions that may be reactivated during this period. You might want to be especially aware and gentle with yourself around this time. You may also want to allow more private time for yourself, or arrange to spend more time around family and others close to you.
Ways to Help a Bereaved Student or Friend
- Be supportive. Show that you care. Listen attentively and show interest in what the grieving student has to say about their feelings and beliefs. Share your feelings and talk about any similar experience you may have had. Avoid using the phrase "I know just how you feel" or trying to give encouragement and reassurance.
- Talk openly and honestly about the situation unless the student does not want to.
- Use an appropriate, caring conversational tone of voice.
- If symptoms of depression are very severe or persistent and the grieving student is not coping with day to day activities, encourage that student to make an appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or another mental health professional.
When Grief Does Not Go Away
It's normal to feel sad, numb, or angry following a loss. But as time passes, these emotions should become less intense as you accept the loss and start to move forward. If you aren't feeling better over time, or your grief is getting worse, it may be a sign that your grief has developed into a more serious problem, such as complicated grief or major depression. Please make an appointment with CAPS or another mental health professional if you feel stuck, or if you or anyone you know begins to feel like life isn't worth living or wishes for death. You can also find a GriefShare support group or event near you.
Adapted from UC Berkeley Grief and Loss and Helpguide.org.
Tips for Travelers with Mental Health Concerns
- Recognize that some of what you may experience is normal for everyone (aka culture shock)
- Learn the vocabulary associated with your condition before you leave the U.S.
- Bring a translated copy of any needed medical records and/or release forms
- Connect with international mental health groups and/or find someone you can trust to disclose your condition to and teach them about the support you need
- Plan for contingencies
- Remember what strategies work for you at home and use them while abroad
- Talk to your doctor before leaving to make plans for handling your medication needs
Questions to Consider If You Take Medication
- Are there pharmacies near where I will be living?
- How do I find out what overseas equivalent of medications are available? How can I get medication from home if the local medication isn't effective or if my usual medication needs to be changed or is lost?
- What if I feel my condition has improved while I'm abroad, and I stop taking medication that I'm typically on? What effects could this have? Who will I consult for medical advice about discontinuing or decreasing my medication?
- How soon do I need to consult with my clinical specialist about availability of medications abroad and the possibility of takign enough medication abroad with me to cover my entire time abroad?
- What happens if I am taking medications that are still under strict patent in the U.S. or may not be legal overseas?
- If I can't find the same medications, how much time will my doctor need to change the prescription and make sure my condition is stable before traveling abroad?
- Are there any medications that I will need to take while abroad (e.g., anti-malarial medication) that could interfere with my current medication? If so, what is the best way to manage this?
- How do I adjust my medication regimen when crossing time zones?
Content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Also, please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.