Skip to main content

Social Skills Training

Social Skills Training

Social skills training (SST) as explained by VeryWell Mind is “a type of behavioral therapy used to improve social skills in people with mental disorders or developmental disabilities… [specifically] to help those with anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and other diagnoses.” Behavioral therapy is an umbrella term used to describe a range of techniques used to change maladaptive behaviors. Social skills training is typically used once or twice a week and can be occur in an individual and/ or in a group setting. SST is rarely intended as a form of treatment that is used by itself, rather it is more commonly used in conjunction with other treatment modalities. Social skills training is often associated with the fields of applied behavior analysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, special education, and relationship-based therapies. Many different types of professionals can implement social skills training (e.g., psychologists, therapists, educators, etc.). SST can result in an array of benefits for a teenager. For example, SST has been noted to improve the social skills of an adolescent with peer relationship problems at school.

SST Techniques

Social skills training begins with an assessment to identify a teenager’s specific skill deficits and impairments. After the completion of the initial assessment techniques for improving social skills are introduced. Commonly used teenage SST techniques include, but are not limited to the following, provided by Verywell Mind:

  • Behavioral rehearsal: Role play which involves practicing new skills during therapy in simulated situations
  • Corrective feedback: Used to help improve social skills during practice
  • Instruction: The educational component of SST that involves the modeling of appropriate social behaviors
  • Positive reinforcement: used to reward improvements in social skills
  • Weekly homework assignments: Provide the chance to practice new social skills outside of therapy

Social skills training is a range of instructional methods and interventions used to help a teen understand and improve social skills. 

Targeted SST Skills

Social skills training addresses a wide range of social skills. While there are many ways to define social skills, in general, SST focuses on the rules and behaviors that help individuals interact with one another. Some examples of skills targeted in SST programs include: 

  • Initiating conversations
  • Greetings
  • Appropriate eye contact 
  • How to behave in specific social and community settings
  • Understanding emotions and facial expressions
  • Gestures and body language 
  • Assertiveness
  • Empathy

Each SST program will vary significantly, as they are directly informed by the age and skill level of participants. One of the fundamental benefits of social skills training is that the programs are fully customizable and will consider each young person’s strengths and needs.

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

Close Menu
Back to top