Counseling, Assistance & Referral Service (CARS)



The Counseling, Assistance and Referral Services (CARS) is the employee assistance program for faculty and staff of the University of New Mexico. Our mission is to promote a healthy work-life balance by providing on-site services to assist faculty and staff in identifying and resolving personal and professional concerns. The CARS program is designed to offer a highly professional, confidential source of help for faculty and staff of UNM experiencing personal concerns, including but not limited to, emotional health, marital, family, financial, alcohol/other drug, and stress issues. The following direct services are provided:

  • Individual and Couples Counseling
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Short-term Problem Resolution
  • Training of Organization Leadership
  • Supervisory Consultation
  • Psychological Education
  • Seminars and Workshops
  • Departmental In-Service Training

Our vision is to achieve a civil, healthy and productive campus work environment by enhancing the quality of life for the UNM community and thereby all of New Mexico. To visit the website, click here.

Director of CARS

Steven RugalaDr. Steven A. Rugala, Ph.D. joined the CARS staff in 2004 and has served as the Director since 2007. He has directed clinical programs at CARS, Albuquerque Family and Child Guidance Center, and the New Mexico Department of Corrections. In addition to working in employee assistance, Dr. Rugala has a wide range of clinical experience providing group and individual counseling in a variety of settings, which include: university counseling centers, community mental health, long-term care facilities, hospice organizations, and correctional facilities. Previously, he worked in the business world for nineteen years as a computer programmer and systems analyst.

Dr. Rugala is a licensed psychologist in the state of New Mexico. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the APA accredited Counseling Psychology program at New Mexico State University and completed an APA accredited predoctoral internship at the Counseling and Psychological Services Center at Ball State University. He also received a Master of Education degree in Counseling and Development from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The George Washington University.