Social skills help facilitate successful interactions in familiar and unfamiliar settings. By communicating and expressing themselves, individuals are able to make friends, network with like-minded people, and excel in their careers. On the other hand, some people find social situations very difficult to navigate. They may lack sufficient interpersonal skills and frequently run into problems. A mental disorder or developmental condition may be hampering their abilities. Group therapies and activities offered at treatment facilities like Avalon Malibu provide a comfortable space to develop social skills while dealing with other concerns.
The Importance of Having Social Skills
Social skills are “learned behaviors based on social rules.” These behaviors facilitate positive interaction between two or more people through both verbal and non-verbal means, such as a person’s:
- eye contact
- word usage
- body language
- facial expressions
Someone who is socially competent has the capacity to predict and understand “other people’s intentions, feelings, emotions, and behaviors.” They find a way to “fit in” and others are gratified by their presence. This allows them to get what they need out of a discussion relatively easily. For instance, a customer service representative has good social skills if they can make a customer feel comfortable and resolve their issue without turning the mood sour. They know how to communicate with different types of people and de-escalate conflicts.
Someone May Be Struggling If…
As communal creatures, the ability to form and sustain relationships is a key aspect of mental health. Social skills are needed to “express feelings, attitudes, opinions and demands” correctly. Someone who cannot do this may experience frustration and loneliness.
A person may be deficient in certain social skills if they:
- overdramatize situations
- do not pick up on social cues
- often cannot think of what to say
- interrupt or speak for too long
- often feel left out of conversations
- become easily exhausted by others
- share too much information in the wrong context
- easily get embarrassed when sharing their opinions
Reasons a Person Lacks Social Skills
Kids naturally develop behavior patterns with others by observing and imitating relatives and peers. An explicit conversation is sometimes had regarding the types of social behavior parents expect from their children (e.g., be assertive but respectful). Other children are never taught these lessons and struggle to be effective in interpersonal situations. Perhaps they did not get the exposure they need through experiences with other children on the playground or participation in extracurricular activities.
A person could struggle in social settings because of a mental condition or developmental disorder. Social anxiety, for instance, can cause a person to become very anxious about attending a networking event. Those with attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder can exhibit poor impulse control; they may have trouble keeping their thoughts to themselves and focusing on the speaker.
It could also be the case that someone is under a lot of pressure. Their body may be present but their mind is stuck on whatever burdens they carry.
The Benefits of Group Therapies & Activities
Poor social skills can lead to a poor support system outside of the family. Being detached from others and self-isolating are fertile grounds for growing addiction and mental health disorders. Group therapies and activities administered by treatment facilities like Avalon Malibu provide creative ways to work through insecurities and relate to others with similar problems.
Group psychotherapy: A small group of clients come together under the guidance of therapists. The idea is for group members to communicate their experiences to learn from one another. The group works together on particular problems, creating a sense of connectedness and enhancing their comfort in social settings.
Ropes course: This challenge requires cooperation, communication, and trust as a joint activity. Clients learn to work together productively to solve problems and engage in positive risk-taking. This also builds self-confidence. The intensity of the ropes course can ground clients in reality, helping them to overcome personal barriers to social interaction.
Music therapy: Clients participate in musical activities like singing, songwriting, and listening to music. Pieces are sometimes analyzed to understand their meaning and build connections to one’s emotions. This therapy has been shown to improve behavioral and social skills by creating a space for individuals to express themselves in a creative manner. Music can help people connect in ways that other mediums cannot.
Psychodrama: This therapy depends on the input of others. Client A will pretend to be another character when performing in a group setting and act out a troubling scene. Client B will play the role of client A. This interaction requires participants to take emotional risks and trust one another. As clients role-play, the therapist will guide the group in collectively learning from the activity.
Cooperating with other people is one of the most basic human experiences. Nevertheless, it takes skill and experience. Some glide through the social world with few personal obstacles, while others have difficulty getting the right words out at the right time. Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety may be at play, or perhaps a developmental disorder like ADHD. Avalon Malibu is a licensed residential addiction and mental health treatment center committed to helping adults. We offer therapies that use the group setting as a mechanism to drive individual transformation. Some modalities are highly interactive, allowing clients to practice communicating their needs and concerns in a constructive environment. If emotionally triggered by something someone did in the session, it can be discussed and techniques can be practiced to resolve the issue. Let us help you, help yourself. Call (844) 857-5992.