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SPARCS

SM

Structured Psychotherapy for


Adolescents Responding to Chronic
Stress:
A Guide for Trauma-Focused Groups
Mandy Habib, Psy.D.

Ruth DeRosa, Ph.D.

North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System


Adolescent Trauma Treatment Development Center
Manhasset, New York
mhabib@nshs.edu

Still in the Middle of the Hurricane

Complex PTSD
Problems with

Regulation of Affect &


Impulses
Cognitive Functioning/
Dissociation
Somatization
Sense of Self
Relationships
Systems of Meaning

Development of the Manual


Adapted From

Dialectical Behavior
Therapy
for Adolescents

DBT

TARGET

Miller, Rathus & Linehan, in press

TARGET

Ford & Russo, 2006

UCLA Trauma/Grief

UCLA

PROGRAM

Group Psychotherapy
Layne, Saltzman, Pynoos, et al., 2000
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SPARCS
Outpatient Clinics:
Collaborations

Childrens Institute Incorporated, LA, CA


The Village Family Services, North Hollywood, CA
Mental Health Center of Dane County, Madison, WI
Open Arms, Albany, GA
New York Foundling, NYC
Adolescent HIV Clinic, North Shore LIJ
Dept. of Children & Family Services, (foster care), Chicago,
Illinois

Residential & Day Treatment

Madonna Heights RTC & RTF, Dix Hills, NY


Andrus Childrens Center, Yonkers, NY
Dane County Group Home, Madison, WI
St. Marys Group Home, Boston, MA
Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, North Shore LIJ

School-based groups

St. Vincents, NYC


Safe Horizon, NYC
Center for Child and Family Health, Durham, NC
Teenage Parenting Program, Seaford, NY
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SPARCS:
Group Members

For adolescents between 12-19 years old

History of chronic (interpersonal) trauma

Designed for adolescents who may be living


with significant ongoing stressors

May or may never have met full criteria for


PTSD

Exhibit functional impairment


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SPARCS

16 Sessions (60 minutes per session)

Present-focused

No systematic exposure component


included

Strength-based

Broad Goals of the


Program
Enhance Resilience

The Cs:
Connect with others
(communicate)
Cope more effectively in the
moment
Cultivate awareness
Create meaning

SPARCS Core Skills


MAKE A LINK =
communication & connecting with
others
Let M Go =
meaning

problem-solving and creating

Distress Tolerance =
effectively in the moment
Mindfulness =

coping more

cultivating awareness

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Session Structure
Check In
Mindfulness practice
Review of application of previous weeks
topics
Session-specific content
Activities: role plays, movie clips, projects
Snack
Check-out
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Psychoeducation
re: Stress
Reactions

Bottle About to
Burst

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Reactions to Trauma
Mental Shutdown (Dissociation)
People tell me Im spacing out a lot.
I fee like Im in a dream or dont know myself.
I feel like Im watching myself from outside,
Its like separate parts of me take control of my life.
Trying to Feel Safe/In Control
I wont let myself eat. I make myself throw up
because I
am afraid of losing control of my eating and gaining
weight.
I eat to feel better. I drink or drug to try to forget.
Extreme Risk-Taking or Self-Harm
I do dangerous things, hanging out where I could get
hurt.
I get relief by cutting, punching, or hurting my body.

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Preliminary SPARCS
Outcome Data
All subjects:
Completed SPARCS group treatment
Had previous trauma
Had pre-treatment Youth Outcome
Questionnaire total scores in clinical
range, i.e.>47
Were female, mean age 15.46 years

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YOQ (n=20)

Community
norm total:
10.6-37.2
*
*

*p<.05
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