Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) welcomed two new clinicians to its staff for the fall 2021 semester: Alison Burge, LPC and Chandni Kapadia, Psy.D.
CAPS Director Jennifer D’Andrea highlighted Burge’s background and interests when she joined the CAPS team.
âAlison Burge, LPC joined our team as a full-time psychotherapist in August,â D’Andrea wrote in an email to The Argus. âAlison has worked in a variety of clinical settings and has a particular interest in working with first generation students and students struggling with depression and anxiety. “
Burge said one of the reasons she was interested in working at the University was that, despite her wide range of experiences, she had never worked on a college campus.
âI love working with emerging adults and providing a space for students to process, reflect and work to become the best version of themselves,â Burge wrote in an email to The Argus. “I made the decision to work at Wesleyan specifically after conducting my own research and reading how Wesleyan challenges his students to explore new ideas and make change in the world.”
Burge noted that university students are a particularly unique clientele, as they face the challenges of navigating a rigorous academic environment while familiarizing themselves with their identity and moving into adulthood. Burge acknowledges that COVID-19 has only added to these challenges and hopes to incorporate an awareness of these difficulties into his clinical practice.
âCOVID-19 has disrupted the academic experience of many students, leading to an increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms,â Burge wrote. “I use a client-centered therapeutic approach that allows students to be an equal partner within the session.”
Burge is also looking forward to collaborating with existing CAPS programs, such as the mental health collective BIPOC.
âI hope to use the BIPOC collective for mental health to connect more with students and provide students of color with a safe place to voice their concerns and feel validated,â Burge wrote.
D’Andrea noted that, like Burge, Kapadia is eager to work with special student populations.
âDr. Chandni Kapadia, PsyD is joining CAPS this year as a postdoctoral fellow,â D’Andrea wrote. Kapadia has a particular interest in working with international students and students who have experienced trauma.
As an international student when in college, Kapadia explained that she brings first-hand experience by helping students adjust to a new culture and move between different environments. Additionally, her interest in helping others heal from trauma has guided the majority of her fieldwork so far.
“I have seen how this can really affect the way someone looks at themselves, the world and others and how many times after a traumatic experience an individual can really have a hard time committing to life as before.” , Kapadia wrote in an email to L’Argus. âI really like working with someone to overcome trauma rather than avoiding it or trying to ignore it. I think most of all I like working on how trauma can affect relationships and help people form healthy relationships after trauma and recognize their value in their relationships.”
Kapadia also has a range of professional clinical experiences off campus.
âI have worked in community mental health centers, college counseling centers, an inpatient hospital, and more recently a VA hospital specializing in PTSD,â Kapadia wrote.
In addition, Kapadia brings direct experience of working with the University’s student population: as part of her training, she worked at Wesleyan in 2018 as an extern in clinical psychology.
Looking to the future, Kapadia is passionate about providing high quality mental health care to academics, especially students who may not have worked with a mental health clinician.
âOften in college, a lot of people will have their first contact with a psychologist or therapist,â Kapadia wrote. âI think being able to help someone create a healthy relationship with mental health is something that excites me. I would like to help students adopt healthy ways of asking for help and learning more about themselves. I also enjoy working with students, as most students will begin to understand each other better when they move away from their home environment. These are often difficult but rich years for identity formation, and I enjoy helping students understand each other better.
Kapadia hopes that students will not hesitate to contact the CAPS office if they need to.
âI would like students to know that no problem is too small to achieve CAPS,â Kapadia wrote. âI often have students who tell me ‘I didn’t know if this was a big enough problem to come to CAPS’. If this bothers you and you would like to work on it, then this is a pretty big problem.
Students can learn more about CAPS and the resources they offer at their website.
Emma Smith can be reached at [email protected].