SPARCS – Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress
El Futuro’s current group therapy initiative features SPARCS: a 16 session group intervention therapy program designed to help students build communication skills, problem solving abilities, and better engage in the learning environment. This group intervention program takes place at our downtown Durham clinic with meetings once a week over a 14-16-week period. Because other social factors impact students, El Futuro closely works with community partners to provide needed case management and connect students with community resources.
Students who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other symptoms related to repeated exposure to traumatic events are not able to perform to the best of their ability in school. Often it is difficulties in school that alert teachers, school counselors, and parents that a child is struggling with difficult emotions. Our SPARCS initiative allows us to strengthen relationships with school personnel and other partners who refer adolescents for our services, and to provide the treatment these adolescents need. In addition to the clinical successes of this program, the adolescents also strengthen relationships with peers who are going through similar struggles and build support networks for the future.
The impact of this project is immense. Students are learning to manage their emotions and difficult social situations that affect them (peers, school environment, poverty) so that they can be engaged at school and have academic success.
In post-surveys from previous El Futuro SPARCS interventions, 80% of the participants indicated they had “made some progress in achieving my goals in this group;” “found the group sessions to be helpful;” or found individual exercises like mindfulness and self-soothing / distracting to be helpful in their recovery. The participants said that they most enjoyed “sharing my feelings with people who are going through similar things.” And most participants indicate that they had learned new skills that they would take with them after the group, like tools for emotional regulation that help with decision making and new interpersonal communication tools.
82% of those receiving treatment in group or related individual or family therapy at El Futuro experienced functional improvements as a result of their treatment, meaning fewer absences at school, fewer disciplinary referrals (like suspensions), and improved ability to engage in healthy relationships.
We Need Your Help
Despite the fact that our group treatment approaches are not always reimbursable by insurance plans, we know them to be effective in achieving our desired outcomes in the two-generation approach to care. They really do help families become stronger, more nurturing, and more supportive, affecting the life pathways of the children for decades to come. Thank you in advance for your consideration of supporting El Futuro’s group therapy and related programs.