Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)


These self-help pages are another dimension of our service to the Duke community. We realize that many members of the community may want to learn more about certain mental health topics or about overall well-being. Regardless of your reasons, we hope you find these pages and links helpful. We anticipate adding to these pages as we receive feedback on emerging challenges and strengths that inform life on campus.

Adjusting to College

This page is offered to help you anticipate some of the difficulties, give you some guidance on handling those difficulties and point you to some helpful resources. College is an exciting time of life, one filled with many profound transitions in preparation for an exciting and fulfilling future. One thing is likely true for all first year students: beginning college provides countless opportunities for growth, newly emerging challenges, and an accumulation of rich interpersonal experiences. Homesickness, academic challenges, difficulty fitting in, managing expectations, and many other issues can take their toll. Sometimes, the challenges of adjusting to college can be stressful and require new life strategies. 

Read more about Adjusting to College.

Anti-Depressant Medications Q & A

Medicines most commonly prescribed to deal with emotional pain are called antidepressants, though they are used to treat many kinds of anxiety problems as well as depression. The idea of taking a medicine to help restore emotional balance is one that typically raises many questions for students. A few questions in particular come up frequently, so we've put together these answers as a starting point.

Read more about Anti-Depressants and Medications.

CAPS Survival Guide to the End of the Semester

The end of the semester can be quite a stressful time, one that students often faced by taking a cramming and sprinting approach.  Given how much work lies ahead and how hard you’ve already worked, such a strategy may actually add stress.  Here are some tips to help you get through the end of the semester with less stress and more effectiveness.

Committed Relationships & Grad School

Maintaining a committed relationship while attending graduate or professional school can be complex and challenging. The reality is, your relationship is simultaneously a source of support and a source of demanding responsibilities. The tension between these two dimensions can pose some significant threats to a thriving relationship. To minimize these threats and actually grow closer during demanding times, it’s important to keep some main goals in mind.

Read more about Committed Relationships & Grad School.

Confronting Conflict

When dealing with conflict, avoidance is not the answer. Many people think of conflict as a bad thing that is best ignored.  However, if we don’t attend to issues that cause conflict, those issues can infect and spread throughout our relationships and even into other areas of our lives. So, the first thing to realize about conflict is that we are better off if we confront it and contain it before it spreads.


The word has become so commonly used in our language, it is often difficult to know just how serious a person’s struggle may be.  At times, people distinguish between a "clinical depression" and the everyday term "depressed" which conveys feeling really down. This page is devoted to helping you understand both phenomena so you know best how to get support to those who may face depression, whether it's you or someone you know and care about.

Disordered Eating

Struggles with eating issues are are about more than just food, though if you are suffering from these issues you may not be able to explain what else is happening. What you do know is that you struggle a lot more than you want to with eating or not eating, gaining weight, keeping your current weight, or losing weight. All this holds so much of your attention that it's hard to get to what these eating issues are really about. So what is this "disordered eating" all about, then?

Grief and Loss

At some point in our lives we all experience loss, and with it a time of grief and mourning. Whether through the death of a loved one, divorce or relationship breakup, loss of physical mobility due to illness, loss of a sense of home due to geographic relocation, losses are a part of life. Understanding these emotions is important to moving on.

Read more about Grief and Loss.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is simply a way of learning to pay attention. It is the practice of becoming more aware and engaged in every moment of your life. With this practice we learn to release our worries about our future, release our regrets about our past, and focus with a sense of calm, accepting relaxation on the present moment. As we practice this way of being in the world, we find that we gradually begin to experience more peace and joy in our lives. By practicing mindfulness meditation you can learn to see your life more clearly, and find ways to bring pleasure and interest back into your daily experience.

Living Your Life-Values

Your Map for Living
What guides you? What are your personal priorities that influence the decisions you make in your day-to-day life?  

Your personal priorities doesn’t refer to your task list. It doesn’t refer to the things you have to do, necessarily, such as study for an exam, work on a paper, or complete that task for the extra-curricular organization you lead. Your personal priorities are the larger truths that help you define any task as important to begin with.

In other words, what are the things in life that you value enough that you want these values to guide your living?