Health care; Psychology; Society; Sociology
The topic of this research was the utilization of social skills group therapy with children with poor social skills and emotional and behavioral problems. The literature explains that group therapy has many benefits to clients that are not available in individual work with clients. Social skills group therapy is theorized to be helpful for children with mental health disorders, especially children who are physically aggressive. In this type of group therapy, it is effective to teach children the phases of using social skills and using discussion and role-play to understand each social skill. A social skills therapy group was conducted for eight weeks with six clients between the ages of eight and nine years at Children’s Intensive Services (CIS) in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The hypothesis of this research was that the social skills group would increase the pro-social behavior of the clients and decrease the anti-social behavior, especially physical aggression. A qualitative analysis was conducted of the group process, as well as a quantitative analysis of a questionnaire sent to the teachers of the group members before and after the group was conducted. Most of the members of the therapy group did at least slightly increase in pro-social behavior and at least slightly decrease in anti-social behavior, although no statistically significant changes were shown. Qualitative reports for the CIS clinicians of the group members show that their social behavior did improve after the group had finished. Not only is educating children about social skills helpful to their social functioning, but it could be used to reduce violence in schools and on a societal level, such as gang violence.