Social skills training has been shown to be effective for a variety of mental health problems. It has been used in different forms throughout the past 20 years in the treatment of social anxiety, panic, depression, shyness, and low self-esteem as well as schizophrenia. The more severe the psy-chopathology is, the more structured and behavioral the interventions would be.
Social skills deficit seems to foster psychopathology, and also contribute to the development of psychological dysfunction. Social skills deficit has been linked to a number of psychiatric diagnoses and with all of them, in particular to low self-esteem. Skills acquisition was significant in hospitalized patients with schizophrenia, and group therapy for schizophrenia may reduce the number of inpatient days, when the aim is to balance education with emotional support for chronic patient groups and there have been promising aims to teach psychiatric patients to cope in the community using group treatment.
In depressive patients the psychotherapeutic part of the treatment involving cognitive restructuring is central especially since low self-esteem is a painful part of the psy-chopathological problem area. Enhancement of self-esteem and social skills works as an antidote to the depressive symptoms.
Likewise in anxiety disorders, social skills training is highlighted when working with personality disturbance, where the training is focused on relationships and communication. Social anxiety in schizophrenia is often treated in groups, leading to improvement on anxiety, social interaction, and quality of life. It is important to consider the potential value of group treatments when treating people with social difficulties.
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