The term “social skills” refers to our ability to interact and form relationships with others, and includes both verbal and non-verbal behaviours.
To make sense of the “social world”, three processes need to be used:
- To SEE what is happening;
- To THINK about what you need to do; and
- To DO what is appropriate in the situation.
It is important to see so you pick up on social cues and notice the behaviours in context. Secondly you need to think about the social situation you are in, so you don’t misinterpret behaviour.
Finally, you need to do what is appropriate, therefore interacting positively with others (for example waiting for your turn to speak).
For some individuals social skills come naturally; others need help to learn them.
What is Social Skills Training?
Social skills training is a form of psychotherapy that helps people to improve their social skills, and can be done individually or in a small group. Programs often take a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach, with the aim of solving problems regarding dysfunctional emotions, behaviours and cognitions, through a goal-oriented systematic procedure.
Who can benefit from Social Skills Training?
Social Skills Training is mainly used with, and can be of great benefit to, those diagnosed with a disorder that impacts on their social functioning (ie Social Anxiety Disorder). It is frequently used among children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to address social skills deficits, but it can be used for anyone who is having difficulty interacting with others, and wanting to be more confident in social situations.
What is involved in a typical Social Skills Training Session?
Program formats depends on the age of the individual and what their needs are. For children with ASD, programs typically include exploring emotions, the use of social stories, modelling and role play of appropriate social skills, and teaching friendship skills such as empathy and conflict resolution.
Author: Angela Bromfield, B Sc (Hons Psych), B Ed (Primary), M Ed Psych.
Angela Bromfield is a registered psychologist who has experience teaching social skills to children and adolescents.
She has developed and conducted social skills programs in schools for students with ASD and ADHD, as well as for children who have been bullied and are having friendship issues.
Angela Bromfield is currently on leave and may return end of 2019. Please call our office for other options on 1800 877 924.