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Formerly St. Louis Center for Family Development

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a well-researched, comprehensive treatment for people who have intense emotions they are unable to manage in constructive ways. When people struggle with intense emotions, the results can be impulsive or emotion-based actions that cause pain and problems in their lives and the lives of those around them. These behaviors can be raging, self-harm, depression, suicide attempts, substance abuse, eating disorders, being emotionally numb, over-shopping or gambling. Individuals with these problems are often diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. However, they may have other mental health diagnoses as well.

DBT works by teaching participants to become more aware of their particular sensitivity to emotions, especially ones such as anger and shame. It offers alternative ways to manage feelings, deal effectively with painful situations and improve relationships. It teaches skills to improve problem-solving, skillful response to emotional situations, effective thinking and acting in accord with one’s goals in life.

Since first being developed, DBT has been modified as a treatment for other complex and challenging mental disorders that involve emotional dysregulation, such as dual diagnoses, PTSD, eating disorders and severe mood disorders. Sparlin Mental Health (Sparlin) offers the only postgraduate training fellowship for DBT in the area, and several of our clinicians are DBT-Linehan Board Certified. We also offer training initiatives for organizations providing mental health services to clients with severe trauma histories and individuals who struggle to regulate emotions.

Why Develop Competencies in Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

  • DBT is the only evidence-based treatment to address multi-diagnostic and multi-problem individuals who are suffering every day
  • DBT is specifically designed to reduce suicidal and non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors
  • DBT provides a deep menu of interventions to help individuals tolerate distress, improve awareness, develop strong relationships, and help individuals regulate emotions
  • DBT is a trans-diagnostic approach to improving overall functioning in individuals who struggle to regulate emotional experiences

What Types of Organizations Should Consider Dialectical Behavior Therapy Programs?

  • Outpatient Mental Health Programs
  • Inpatient Mental Health Programs
  • Intensive Outpatient Mental Health Programs and Substance Use Disorders Programs
  • Partial Hospitalization Mental Health Programs
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Juvenile Justice Residential Programs
  • Trauma-recovery Organizations
  • Child-Welfare Organizations
  • Private Practices

Sparlin provides three program models for individuals, organizations and agencies interested in training, making a paradigm shift, enhancing the service delivery model, or implementing a specific treatment model. Contact us for more information and to get started.

Individual Training

Sparlin hosts a variety of didactic courses and learning labs throughout the year. Although the majority of the training courses span multiple sessions, we offer occasional single session trainings as well. These trainings are open to the community at large and are promoted on our Events page.

Collaborative Training

Organizations and agencies oftentimes share common needs and goals. Sparlin works with these groups to provide shared didactic trainings and tailored consultation for each of the individual organizations. Groups benefit by sharing the cost while still receiving individualized coaching.

Organizational Training

Sparlin offers customized plans for organizations that wish to create a cultural shift, learn and implement a new treatment model, or incorporate specific constructs into their service delivery model. Through ongoing consultations, we assess organizational functioning and engage in targeted skill development.