Social Skills Training (SST) is a form of behavior therapy to help people who are shy, feel awkward or uncomfortable in various social, work or other settings, and who may lack the social or assertive skills to make introductions and “small talk.”
A person lacking certain social skills may have difficulty building a network of supportive acquaintances, friends, business networks, and may feel socially isolated or lonely, or lack intimacy in their relationships (or avoid relationships altogether). The consequences of loneliness, withdrawal, avoidance or isolation are lost career opportunities, lack of meaningful and intimate relationships, which in turn lead to feelings of sadness, depression, emotional/psychological problems.
Goals of Social Skills Training
A major goal of social skills training is teaching persons who may or may not have emotional problems about the verbal and non-verbal behaviors involved in social interactions. There are many people who have never been taught such interpersonal skills as making “small talk” in social situations, or the importance of good eye contact during a conversation. In addition, many people have not learned to “read” the many subtle cues contained in social interactions, such as how to tell when someone wants to change the topic of conversation or shift to another activity. Social Skills Training helps people learn to interpret these and other social signals, so that they can determine how to act appropriately in the company of other people in a variety of different situations. SST proceeds on the assumption that when people improve their social skills or change selected behaviors, they will raise their self-esteem and increase the likelihood that others will respond favorably to them.
Participants will learn to change their social behavior patterns by practicing selected behaviors in the safety, caring and support of the group, which will improve one’s ability to function in everyday (real-life) social situations. Participants will also have the opportunity to work on their specific issues and challenges within the safety of group.