Free behavioral therapy clinic opens its doors for the year

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Photo Credit: Luis Gonzalez | Daily Texan Staff

The UT Department of Psychology’s free cognitive behavioral therapy clinic is now accepting patient applications for the fall, and spots are filling up fast.

The free clinic offers treatment for behavioral issues, anxiety and depression, and is open to both UT students and the public.

“New patients are accepted at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, so those contacting us at other times are likely to be placed on a wait list,” clinic director Martita Lopez said. “We screen potential patients to see if they are a good fit for what we offer.”

Currently in its 20th year, the free clinic is staffed by clinical psychology graduate students and supervised by licensed faculty members. Students who are interested in visiting the clinic can fill out a survey on the psychology department website.

Due to the clinic’s popularity, Lopez said she encourages students to explore other free or lower-cost resources on campus.

“Students have excellent resources on campus when they have mental health issues, including primarily the Counseling and Mental Health Center,” Lopez said. 

Another option is the Anxiety and Stress Clinic, which offers the same type of service but focuses on anxiety-related disorders.

“We use evidence-based treatments and cognitive behavioral therapy, which are found to be the most effective when treating anxiety and related disorders,” said Christy Dutcher, a clinical psychology graduate student who works at the anxiety clinic.

Dutcher said although the anxiety clinic is not free, the staff tries to accommodate for all cases.

“We work on a sliding scale fee ranging from $45-$160 depending on individual income,” Dutcher said. “We don’t like turning people away, so depending on the individual’s circumstances we are able to reduce the rate even lower on an as-needed basis.”

Sociology sophomore Isabella Jackson said she has had an overwhelmingly positive experience with on-campus resources.

“The quality of care is really good,” Jackson said. “Everyone I’ve talked to at the mental health center has been very kind, understanding and supportive. It’s helped me a lot.”

Jackson said she urges those who are experiencing mental health issues to not be afraid to seek help. 

“Talk to your friends and family, seek out a therapist and take time for yourself, even if that means taking a break from school,” Jackson said. “I promise there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of all — you are never, ever alone.”