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Unformatted text preview: . . . . [Every] time, just as you said, I found myself
retreating from people, I said to myself: ‘Now, even though you can’t see it, there must be
some sentences. What are they?’ And I finally found them. And there were many of them!
And they all seemed to say the same thing.”
“That I, uh, was going to be rejected. . . . [If] I related to them I was going to be rejected. And wouldn’t that be perfectly awful if I was to be rejected. And there was no reason for me, uh, to take that, uh, sort of thing, and be rejected in that awful manner.” . . . 12/10/09 11:16:21 AM Anxiety Disorders “And did you do the second part of the homework assignment?”
“The forcing myself to speak up and express myself ?”
“Yes, that part.” :// 115 •social skills training•A therapy
approach that helps people learn or
improve social skills and assertiveness
through role playing and rehearsing of
desirable behaviors. “That was worse. That was really hard. Much harder than I thought it would be. But
I did it.”
“Oh, not bad at all. I spoke up several times; more than I’ve ever done before. Some
people were very surprised. Phyllis was very surprised, too. But I spoke up.” . . .
“And how did you feel after expressing yourself like that?”
“Remarkable! I don’t remember when I last felt this way. I felt, uh, just remarkable—
good, that is. It was really something to feel! But it was so hard. I almost didn’t make it.
And a couple of other times during the week I had to force myself again. But I did. And I
(Ellis, 1962, pp. 202–203) Studies show that rational-emotive therapy and other cognitive approaches do indeed help reduce social fears (Rosenberg et al., 2010; Hollon et al., 2006). And these
reductions typically persist for years. On the other hand, research also suggests that
while cognitive therapy often reduces social fears, it does not consistently help people
perform effectively in social settings. This is where social skills training has come to the
HOW CAN SOCIAL SKILLS BE IMPROVED? In social skills training, therapists combine several
behavioral techniques in order to help people improve their social skills. They usually
model appropriate social behaviors for clients and encourage the individuals to try them
out. The clients then role-play with the therapists, rehearsing their new behaviors until
they become more effective. Throughout the process, therapists provide frank feedback
and reinforce (praise) the clients for effective performances.
Reinforcement from other people with similar social difficulties is often more
powerful than reinforcement from a therapist alone. In social skills training groups and assertiveness training groups, members try out and rehearse new social behaviors with other
group members. The group can also provide guidance on what is socially appropriate.
According to research, social skills training, both individual and group formats, has
helped many people perform better in social sit...
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