Socialisation is a key component of our daily lives and it often cannot be avoided. Social challenges impact many aspects of a child or adult’s life. Most commonly they impact an individual’s ability to initiate and maintain close relationships. When people don’t develop meaningful connections with others, this can lead to loneliness, isolation, and a lack of social support. Social difficulties can also impact learning, educational attainment, work performance, and self-esteem.
Social challenges may be related to specific diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Social Communication Disorder, Speech and Language Disorders, and Dementia. Alternatively, an individual may experience social challenges without meeting criteria for any diagnosis. People with and without a diagnosis can benefit from improving their social skills.
At Approach Psychology, your clinician will work collaboratively with you, to help you to identify your treatment goals. All interventions to address social challenges are individually tailored to meet your goals and are reviewed regularly during treatment.
Treatment for social challenges can teach clients new social skills or build upon their existing skills. Social skills interventions include strategies to improve eye contact, verbal and non-verbal language, and conversational skills. Other interventions help clients to understand the implicit and explicit meaning in conversation and conversational rules. Clients often benefit from learning social problem solving and skills to initiate conversations. Social stories are often particularly helpful for children and adolescents to learn socially appropriate behaviours and play skills.
Cognitive (thought-based) and behavioural strategies to lower anxiety in social situations are also common components of treatment. Identifying the thoughts that trigger anxiety in social situations is an important part of therapy, as is gradually reducing the avoidance of social situations. Behavioural strategies involve gradually working towards a specific goal, such as to deliver a speech or to manage anxiety in a group of people.