Treatments for social functioning

What are social skills therapies? 

Poor social and interpersonal skills can prevent people from interacting effectively with other people. Programs targeting the improvement of social skills are designed to allow people to achieve greater social and community functioning. These programs involve training to improve social interactions, social cognition (accurately perceiving and understanding social interactions), self- and illness-management skills, community participation, and workplace skills. These programs can be organised through a day-centre unit that is attended by residents of either hospitals or those living in the community, and can be provided on an individual basis or in a group setting.

What is the evidence for social skills therapies?

Moderate to high quality evidence shows a large benefit of social skills training for improving social interactions, particularly for inpatients. There is also some benefit for improved community function, symptoms – particularly negative symptoms – and for reducing relapse rates. Moderate quality evidence shows a medium to large benefit of social cognitive skills training programs for improving emotion perception and Theory of Mind (understanding other people’s mental states), particularly for patients with longer illness durations. Moderate to low quality evidence shows large benefits of focussed facial affect recognition training for improving facial affect recognition and social functioning.

 

August 2018