Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS)

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What is SPARCS?

Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS) is a strengths-based group model for youth ages 12-21 who have been exposed to chronic trauma and/or stress. Treatment consists of 16 one-hour sessions. SPARCS is appropriate for youth who experience functional impairments including difficulties with:

  • Regulating emotions, behaviors, and impulses
  • Maintaining healthy relationships
  • Paying attention and processing information
  • Managing physical complaints and other symptoms of chronic trauma and stress

Return on Investment

In the United States, 61% of children are affected by violence, abuse, or crime, putting them at increased risk for: depression, academic problems, violent behavior, substance use, delinquency, teen pregnancy, and other emotional-behavioral challenges. Lifetime costs of childhood maltreatment are estimated at $210,012 per case.

Service Delivery

SPARCS can be delivered in a variety of clinical and community settings (e.g., outpatient clinics, schools, residential treatment facilities.) SPARCS has also been successfully delivered in juvenile justice and child welfare settings.

Treatment Goals

Increase effective coping skills

Enhance self-efficacy and self-esteem

Cultivate awareness and mindfulness

Create meaning relative to experiences

Master developmental tasks unique to adolescence

Optimize communication and problem solving skills

Training Opportunities

We offer 1 training cohort per year in SPARCS. Training cohorts are 12 months long and consist of face-to-face learning sessions and faculty consultation. Contact NC CTP for more information.