My primary approach in teaching social skills is the development and practice of assertive communication. Assertiveness is a communication style that emphasizes the expression of feelings, wants and needs in a manner that is respectful towards others. When we communicate assertively, we stand up for our own needs, while at the same time considering the needs of others.
Assertive communication skills are relatively easy to learn and can be applied to a number of interpersonal issues. However, simply knowing the concepts is different from actually using the skills in our day-to-day lives. Therefore, a crucial component of my social skills services is repeated practice of assertiveness in a variety of interpersonal scenarios.
I teach assertive techniques to young people to help them increase their social comfort, respond to conflict, express their feelings and ask others for help. Assertiveness training is also a key step in anger control and the reduction of aggression. I often combine assertive communication with coping strategies such as Mindfulness and CBT to help children and youth with anger, social anxiety, depression and/or general stress.