Academics & Research News

Psychology dept. opens new clinic aimed at adolescents


The new clinic will be housed in the psychology building and will focus on treating adolescents and their parents. | Courtesy of Adam Bhatty \ The Cougar.

A new clinic on campus provides low-cost services to families of adolescents as well as experience for graduate students concentrating in clinical psychology.

The University of Houston Adolescent Diagnosis Assessment Prevention Treatment Center is located in the Psychology Research and Services Center off Cullen Boulevard. UH-ADAPT opened in October and is run by Carla Sharp, a professor at the University, and her lab team of graduate students that focuses on developmental psychopathology.

“For the last 10 to 15 years, my labs have been studying adolescent psychopathology, but we never really considered doing the translational piece,” Sharp said.

By making their research translational, Sharp’s team will be able to take the knowledge they gained from their research and translate their findings into treatment.

“In order to become more translational in our research, we needed to start a clinic that studied the kind of issues we have studied in the past,” Sharp said. “From a research and scientific perspective, the aim of ADAPT is to give us a place where we can start translating some of our more basic clinical science into treatment science.”

ADAPT’s clients are adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 and their parents.

“We are really interested in the relationships between teens and their parents and how relationships influence other areas of their lives,” ADAPT postdoctoral fellow Amanda Palo said. “There are a lot of changes that are happening during adolescence that don’t necessarily happen to the same degree during other periods of development. So during adolescence, you have all these brain changes going on, and you also have other things, like identity development, that are happening.”

Sharp said what makes UH-ADAPT different from other clinics is the cost of services will depend on a sliding scale, meaning it will adjust depending on the income of the family.

“There’s lots of wonderful places and lots of private practices that are great, but none of them provide specialized services, and most of them are not low cost,” Sharp said.

The clinic offers either an extensive evaluation, individual therapy or group therapy depending on the client. Graduate students will have the opportunity to assess and treat the clients under the supervision of either Sharp or Palo.

“For me, it is an area of interest I am focused on in my research,” clinical psychology graduate student and assistant lab director Allison Kalpakci said. “Getting a clinic up and running, seeing what goes into that has been really educational because it’s a huge amount of work. I think we have the opportunity to make a big impact in this particular area of need.”

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