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Social skills training aims to teach its participants, inter alia, how to react to your emotions, how to communicate with other people or how to work in a group. This method is applicable to both children and adults - when might a patient be advised to train social skills? What is it?

Social skills training - what is it?

Social skills trainingis one of the methods of treatment used in the case of problems with the functioning of the psyche of patients. The very name of the above-mentioned therapeutic technique suggests what it focuses on - social skills training is designed to improve the functioning of patients among other people. These types of classes are usually held in groups of several people, where the participants of social skills training - under the watchful supervision of the therapist - are primarily responsible for observing the behavior of others, but also paying attention to how they themselves behave towards other people.

It is relatively easy to observe other people's behavior, it is much more difficult to analyze how we behave ourselves. It is for this reason that social skills training sessions are sometimes recorded in order to later recreate the material and thus show participants how they behave in interpersonal relationships.

Social skills training - how is it going?

In order to be able to make any conclusions about the behavior and interpersonal contacts, the participants of the training must enter into such interactions with each other. During therapy, the following are initiated, inter alia, different scenes, where some participants of the training play some roles, assigned to them by the therapist, and then the whole group analyzes the behaviors presented by the actors. The attention of the training participants is directed, inter alia, to towards the communication styles they use - the therapist indicates which statements are assertive, which are passive, and which are close to the aggressive style. The therapist, as well as training participants, draw the attention of a given group member to the behavior they represent. One of the goals of social skills training is to replace unfavorable behaviors,presented by the patient to those that are more acceptable in society.

Training in social skills takes place not only through group activities - it is important that the acquired skills are gradually implemented by patients outside the therapy room. A very important aspect related to the therapeutic method described here appears - different behaviors of patients are modified gradually, one by one, never all at once. It is important that the training actually leads to the improvement of the functioning of patients in interpersonal relationships - the gradual introduction of changes increases the chances that the patient will actually change their behavior (if at the same time many different behaviors of the participant were tried, the chances of achieving success would be significantly reduced) ).

Social skills training: what skills should patients learn during it?

After training in social skills, patients should be able to function better in relationships with other people. For this purpose, during therapy, they are to acquire many different skills, among which the following can be mentioned:

  • ability to initiate, but also to conduct a conversation properly;
  • discussing;
  • ways of expressing criticism, but also the ability to react to criticism;
  • methods of dealing with different feelings - both negative and positive;
  • ability to listen to other people, but also the ability to ask questions;
  • refusal methods;
  • teaching how to work in a group;
  • ways to resolve conflicts;
  • differentiating feelings - both your own and those experienced by other people.

Social Skills Training Applications

Social skills training is a therapeutic method that is used primarily in younger patients. Children who may benefit from such therapy are primarily those with various pervasive development disorders, such as autism or Asperger's syndrome. Social skills training is also sometimes recommended for children with diagnosed behavioral disorders and for patients with ADHD.

The discussed therapeutic method is definitely not reserved for young patients - adults can also benefit from social skills training and this method is used, among others, by in the case of:

  • personality disorders (such as anxiety or avoidant personality disorders);
  • neurotic disorders (especially in people with social phobia);
  • affective disorders(such as depression, for example);
  • schizophrenia;
  • schizoaffective disorders.

Taking into account the situations in which social skills training is used, it is possible to describe in more detail what this therapy would lead to. For example, in children with autism, thanks to the training of social skills, they are supposed to establish better contact with other people - during therapy, they pay attention to the emotions experienced by others, but also show them the importance of eye contact in interpersonal situations. In patients with social phobia, the goal is for them to be able to find themselves in a larger group of people, to be able to initiate and take part in a group conversation, and at the same time not to feel anxiety and discomfort.

Worth knowing

Social skills training: duration of therapy

Social skills training is not a therapeutic method that requires a very large number of meetings. Usually, the entire training is closed in a dozen or so meetings, each of which lasts about 1.5-2 hours. A characteristic feature of this therapy is that the composition of the group does not change - once a group has already started social skills training meetings, new participants cannot join it anymore.

About the authorBow. Tomasz NęckiA graduate of medicine at the Medical University of Poznań. An admirer of the Polish sea (most willingly strolling along its shores with headphones in his ears), cats and books. In working with patients, he focuses on always listening to them and spending as much time as they need.

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