On-campus mental health resources at Brown University
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Brown University's Counseling and Psychological Services provides a range of mental health services to the Brown community, including individual counseling, medication management, skills workshops, referral services, mental health assessment, crisis stabilization, after hours assessment and urgent care, and support groups.
Mental health student groups for Brown students
Find off-campus therapists near Brown University
How to find an off-campus therapist on Zencare
Select your health insurance
To find a therapist in Providence, select your health insurance below. Narrow your search using the 'Specialties' dropdown.
Watch therapist videos
Watch therapist videos to see who you might connect with best.
Email or book free initial calls
Book a free initial phone consultation or send a message to discuss your needs and find a good fit!
What if therapists that show up in my search results aren't accepting new clients?
Unfortunately, few therapists accept health insurances like Cigna and Aetna. Try reaching out to the therapist by sending a message. Ask if they have a waitlist that they can place you on. Therapist availabilities often open up around summer and winter as their clients get better or graduate from university. Alternatively, try asking other therapists about sliding scale fees.
What if my health insurance isn't listed?
If you have your parents' health insurance, it's possible that it doesn't exist in Rhode Island. Try finding out what the benefits are of by asking your parents or calling the health insurance company directly. Alternatively, try asking therapists about sliding scale fees they may offer.
Find off-campus therapists of color
As a student of color, finding a therapist whose racial or ethnic background matches yours can be one of the most important factors in a therapist search. You may be looking for someone who understands your values, culture, and experiences, and maybe also speaks your language. However, it can also be very extremely difficult, especially in Rhode Island, to find therapists of color. Find Black, Asian, Latinx, as well as Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Cantonese speaking therapists in Providence below.
Paying for therapy
Payment can often be a barrier to receiving mental healthcare.
Read below for ways to pay for therapy.
Sliding scale fees
What is a sliding scale?
A sliding scale is the range of fees a therapist charges per session.
For example, if a therapist's standard fee is $150/session, they might list a sliding scale of $80 - $150. This means that they may offer lower fees based on financial need, down to $80/session.
Some therapists will reserve a few sliding scale slots for clients who would not otherwise be able to seek therapy.
When can I ask for it?
You can ask for a sliding scale at any time, but be aware that your request may be declined, depending on how many clients a therapist already has paying low fees.
You might ask about sliding scales on your initial call with a therapist. You may want to look at what their standard fee is, as well as what other therapists in the area typically charge to get a sense of what you can reasonably ask.
Ask Zencare for low fee options
If you are a Brown University undergraduate or graduate student and are having difficulty finding a therapist within your budget, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please indicate you are a Brown University student and share as much as you feel comfortable (please note email is not a secure means of communication).
We will send an anonymous email to our community of therapists and ask if any therapist might be able and willing to accommodate seeing you for lowered fees.
Please note that the lowest fee that therapists typically offer in Providence is $60 per session, with a few cases of $40 per session. Most therapy sessions in Rhode Island cost between $80 - $200 per session. Psychologists (therapists who have a PhD or PsyD) and therapists who specialize in certain topics such as eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder tend to charge higher fees, between $150 - $200 per session; social workers and counselors (licenses are LICSW, LCSW, and LMHC) who have more general practices or for whom serving the community is an important focus of their practice tend to charge $60 - $100 per session.
How to use out-of-network benefits
When looking for a therapist, you have the option to choose between in-network and out-of-network providers. In-network means the therapist has negotiated a contracted rate with your health insurance company; out-of-network means the therapist does not have this contract. While finding an in-network therapist is often the default choice, including out-of-network therapists can help expand your therapist search.
When you see an out-of-network therapist, you pay the full price of the session upfront. Depending on your plan, your insurance company may help reimburse a portion of the cost by mailing you a check. Take the following steps to utilize out-of-network benefits!
What to expect on an initial call with a therapist
The initial call with a therapist is a great opportunity to resolve any questions about their practice and decide if you are interested in setting up an in-person appointment. Use this guide to assess if it would be logistically feasible to see the therapist and if their expertise and approach are a good fit for your needs!
What to expect in your first therapy session
Seeing a therapist for the first time may be daunting if you don't know what to expect. While every therapist operates differently, hopefully this general outline will give you an idea of what you may experience the first time you walk into a therapist’s office and help calm some of the first-session jitters.
You've had your first therapy appointment. Now what?
After an intake appointment with a therapist, you may be excited for your next session, or you may be left feeling drained and unsure. It’s typical to experience a full range of emotional reactions throughout the course of therapy, and the first appointment in particular can be a bit of a rollercoaster. Here are some tips to help navigate the potential highs and lows after your first therapy session.
How do I know if my therapist is "the one"?
It’s often easy to tell when a therapist is not the one for you -- sometimes all it takes is a few minutes to realize that it’s not the right fit. On the other hand, knowing if you’ve found a great therapist can be more nuanced and difficult to tease apart. A good therapist-client fit can be pinned down by asking yourself two broad questions: (1) Do I feel a connection with this therapist? (2) Am I making progress? Ultimately, trust your gut to answer these questions. If you’re unsure, look for these concrete signs of a great therapist-client fit in order to decide if you want to develop an ongoing relationship with your therapist.
How to tell a therapist it's not working
If after 2-3 therapy sessions, you don’t feel a connection with your therapist and haven’t seen any progress, it may be time to move on. Telling your therapist it’s not going to work can feel like breaking up with someone, but unlike the dating world, a therapist is a professional and won’t take it personally. Use these strategies to politely tell your therapist it’s not a good fit.
Different types of therapists
The various therapist acronyms and degrees can get confusing. Use this guide to understand different provider types!
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and behavioral health disorders. Psychiatrists evaluate patients and prescribe medications when beneficial.
Psychiatrist (MD, DO), Nurse Practitioner (NP, APRN, CNS)
Therapist is a broadly used term for professionals trained in psychological and emotional issues, including psychologists, social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists.
Psychologist (PhD, PsyD), Social worker (LICSW, LCSW), Counselor (LMHC), Marriage and family therapist (LMFT)
Dietitians provide nutrition guidance, but typically do not have additional training in psychotherapy. They may specialize in topics related to eating and mental health, such as eating disorders and non-diet approaches to wellness.
Registered dietitian (RD, RDN, LDN)
How to help a friend in need
Seeing a friend in deep pain can cause us to feel lost and helpless. Know that often what your friend needs most is to be free to safely express themselves in their vulnerability.
Below are a few steps you can take. Most importantly, remember that you are not a trained professional, nor are you expected to be! Use the suggestions below to help direct your friend to safe resources.
How to be a safe, supportive friend
1. Take the time to listen. Notice your own feelings around what the person is telling you, try to care for your own feelings, and keep them separate from your friend’s feelings. This will help you to listen to your friend.
2. Show them you've heard them. Reflect back to your friend what you've heard: ie. "I'm hearing you say that you feel really unsafe right now."
3. Use a validating statement, such as: "that sounds really scary" or "that sounds really painful." To validate means to show that something is real (as they’re experiencing it) and acceptable. An example of invalidating: "Don't be silly, you're amazing." This sounds like a compliment, but what your friend hears is that what they’re experiencing doesn’t matter because feeling this way is silly. Instead, try "I know what it's like to feel (worthless) but I see you as (so strong and capable). Be careful not to go into your own story. Sometimes we do this to connect but often it leaves a person feeling unheard. If you felt it was helpful to your friend to know that they are not alone, share an example from your life, but keep it brief. Just enough to show them that "together we have a shared experience." This can help to normalize their experience.
Some useful things that you can say
"I care about you and your safety and I want to make sure that you have the kind of help that you need and want."
"It sounds like you need more help than I can give and I want to make sure that you have it because you have the right to it."
"What I'm hearing you say is that you need help feeling and/or staying safe. Will you let me help you find assistance with this?"
How you can direct your friend
"I have a plan" = Call 911 or Brown EMS at 401-863-4111 and report a mental health emergency. They will send a trained paramedic. Ideally you do this with your friend if they are willing. If they are unwilling, find a quiet place and send the paramedic to the location of the person. If you don't know their exact location, call anyway.
"I have no plan and I don't want to kill myself, I just feel like it sometimes" = Engage the person in a conversation of what they need right now to be safe as well in the next couple of days. This might mean, "Why don't you sleep over and tomorrow we can look for a therapist or go to urgent care?" or "I think it would be best for you to get some immediate help" (call 911 or Brown EMS at 401-863-4111).
Always trust your gut, and know what you can handle.
Urgent Care Resources for Brown University students
Urgent mental health needs
- Available 24/7, every day of the year
- Call: 401-863-3476
- If you have a psychiatric emergency, crisis support is available for Brown University students 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Follow the prompts to talk to a clinician.
In-person urgent care
- Available during business hours.
- Call 401-863-3476 or come to J. Walter Wilson, Room 516. Let the office manager know that your situation is particularly urgent, and they will make arrangements for you to have more immediate attention.
Life threatening situation
Administrator on Call & Dean of the Day
- During business hours, Dean of the Day: 401-863-3145
- After business hours, Administrator on Call: 401-863-3322
- Connects students with confidential medical, counseling, and legal resources.
- Can put in place a temporary No-Contact order, in which both parties are required to avoid contact with each other. (A no-contact order within the University system is distinct from a legal restraining order.) Temporary orders are reviewed the next day by the Office of Student Life: Student Conduct.
- Works with Residential Life to move students to a safe living space. » Referrals to other administrators as needed.
Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor
- Available 24 hours/day: 401-863-6000
- Confidential crisis support and information is available for any Brown student suffering from a sexual assault, or for friends seeking to support a victim of sexual assault.
- The on-call counselor is available to accompany a victim to the hospital.
- Provides support for students who have suffered a sexual assault, or who are supporting friends who have.
Other immediate care resources
Brown Counseling and Psychological Services
Please note this resource guide has been created independently of Brown Counseling and Psychological Services. While we try to update the information on this page as frequently as possible, it is possible that some information is out of date. Please see the "Last updated" date above.