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Formerly St. Louis Center for Family Development

Sparlin Mental Health (Sparlin) provides individual and family therapy for adults, teens and children in the St. Louis region. Therapy is a collaborative effort and your therapist works in partnership with you from the first meeting, where they get to know you, what is important to you, and what you want to be different about your life.

We listen to your values and goals to help guide your mental health journey.

The Foundation of Our Therapy

At Sparlin, we base all of our therapy on some assumptions that make our approach unique.

We believe that each person is doing the best that they can at any given moment, while at the same time, wanting to improve. People do not always cause their own problems but their own hard work will be the necessary factor to solve them.

We also believe our clients deserve the most up-to-date treatments available, which includes providing a trauma-informed and evidence-based approach to their therapy. This means that we integrate a set of best practices into every client’s treatment in an effort to improve therapy outcomes and prevent re-traumatization for those with a history of trauma. We also use techniques proven to work.

The Heart of What We Do

Much of the work in therapy revolves around learning to experience emotions again, in a way that doesn’t create problems in life. This is called “emotion regulation.” Typically, when people have enough positive emotions to balance out their negative emotions, they can function fairly well. However, when negative emotional experiences begin to outbalance the positives, then it can lead to depression, anxiety or even extremely intense emotions.

It often follows that our moods and emotions then take over decision making. This can become overwhelming for some. In therapy, you will learn how to understand your emotional experiences and apply skills that enable your core self to make the decisions for your life instead of your emotions or mood.


People tend to improve as a result of therapy in three ways:

  1. Therapy eases or resolves the problems that brought you into therapy.
  2. It improves your ability to cope with stress; manage your emotions; relate to others; and be productive at school, work, or in life.
  3. It enhances your personal growth. People who engage in therapy find they have more confidence and self-esteem, a clearer understanding of themselves, and enjoy life more.

The length of time that people stay in therapy depends upon goals and the issues they want to address. Most proven mental health treatments work fairly quickly. With some treatments it can be a matter of months and with others you can expect to spend a year working intensively with your therapist.

Types of Therapy Offered at Sparlin Mental Health

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment that helps people who struggle to manage the intensity of their emotions. When people struggle to cope with intense emotions, the consequences tend to cause significant pain and turmoil, such as straining relationships with loved ones, feeling suicidal, or even losing jobs. DBT works by teaching participants to become more aware of their emotions, and offers alternative ways to manage feelings, deal effectively with painful situations and improve relationships. DBT helps people build a life that feels worthwhile and meaningful. LEARN MORE ABOUT DBT

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy is an approach for children and adolescents who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties due to traumatic life events. Both child and parent participate in the therapy. It is a component-based therapy that uses trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles and techniques. Clients process, manage and resolve distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to traumatic life events. At the same time, they enhance safety, growth and communication.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy helps individuals who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The approach provides the tools and strategies to help individuals emotionally process and make sense of their trauma. This is done through utilizing techniques to reduce symptoms such as flashbacks; intrusive thoughts, images, and memories; and other anxiety symptoms.

Behavioral Activation is based on the idea that when negative life events trigger sadness or distress it can cause withdrawal. The very act of withdrawing can then amplify feelings of depression, leading to a cycle of more sadness, distress and withdrawal. Depression then causes a person to shut down emotionally and behaviorally. Behavioral Activation teaches people to rediscover their values, goals and desires, and adjust their behavior accordingly. We call this engaging values-driven behavior or, not allowing moods and feelings to make decisions for your day. By acting in accordance with your values and not your mood, over time, depression tends to lift.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) incorporates the inter-relatedness of thoughts, emotions and behaviors as they relate to the process of emotion regulation. It helps to modify the way a person experiences emotions and specifically aims to change problematic thoughts and behaviors that keep negative symptoms around. This therapy is typically short-term, lasting 12 to 20 sessions.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy helps individuals recognize the impact that transitions or major life changes have on an individual’s life and teaches them how to orient their healing around finding solutions that are helpful in the short- and long-term. Through the process of focusing on the interpersonal relationships of an individual, improving communication patterns, and understanding how people relate to others, the individual often experiences symptoms of relief, resolution of the acute interpersonal crisis, and an increase in social support.

Click on the sidebar links to learn more about some of the mental health issues and common concerns that we treat at Sparlin Mental Health. If you do not see what you are looking for, call 314-531-1155 or contact us for more information.