Social Skills

Once clients have at least some control over their symptoms, they can shift some of their attention to improving their ability to interact with other people. Interventions in this section include teaching clients how to read body language, start a conversation, express positive and negative feelings, express disagreement, set limits and boundaries, resolve conflicts, etc.

The links on the left are examples of complete interventions (multiple sessions with one client focusing on a specific skill). Below are some examples of single services.


I: Brainstormed with Larry about alternative ways of handling issues with his neighbors. We came up with 4 ideas: 1) Establish a good relationship with his neighbors before problems come up. Offer a friendly greeting, smile, introduce himself, and make small talk if the opportunity presents itself. Neighbors who know Larry in this way are more likely to be responsive to his requests than neighbors who don't; 2) Ask neighbors to turn the volume down politely, by going to their door, saying excuse me, and making his request in a non-threatening manner; 3) When volume levels are high, use that time to run errands, visit friends, go jogging (which Larry likes doing), or do another activity that takes him away from the apartments; 4) Talk to his apartment manager about it. That's what the manager is there for.

I: On the drive to Meredith's home, I explained that some people with her diagnosis are highly vulnerable to stress, and that even small amounts of it can make their symptoms get worse. Meredith acknowledged that she thinks this may be happening with her. I also explained that when people have A/H, being in a loud environment with multiple people talking at once can make communication difficult and ineffective. Since Meredith's son also has A/H, their habit of shouting at each other and trying to talk over each other probably makes things harder for both of them. Meredith's son was not at home when we arrived, so I modeled how to interact with him when he returns, listening to him at first and waiting until he is finished to say anything. I suggested they take turns this way, and do everything they can to keep volume levels low. I role-played this kind of communication with Meredith so she could practice it.

I: Met with Roberto at his R&B and gave him a ride to the event. On the way there, I role-played with Roberto to help him practice interacting with others.  Reviewed relaxation techniques Roberto can use at the event, such as deep breathing, progressive relaxation, and positive/reassuring mental imagery. At the awards, I modeled appropriate behavior when interacting with others and encouraged Roberto to initiate conversations with persons around him. Asked him open-ended questions in front of the group at our table to provide easy entry points and encouraged him to elaborate on interesting things he had said. Provided subtle prompts and feedback. Assured Roberto that he was doing well in order to reduce his anxiety. On the drive back to Roberto’s R&B, I praised Roberto for his efforts and reviewed with him what he felt he had learned today.


All PHI has been de-identified per HIPAA Privacy Rule