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Living and Social Skills Courses
Life is too short to wait – learn to live successfully now!
Life Skills Courses
Such skills are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as:
“abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”
Specifically, life skills are the aptitudes, rooted in self-responsible behaviour, that individuals exercise in the effective management of all their personal affairs; a set of human skills, developed from experience and/or learning, employed to deal with the ordinary problems and queries that commonly arise in day-to-day living.
The type of life skills a person needs to acquire varies greatly and often depends on social norms or community/cultural expectations. UNICEF suggests "there is no definitive list" of these psychosocial skills and further highlights that "many skills are used simultaneously in practice”. For example decision-making often involves:
- critical thinking about options
- values clarification about what is important to the individual
- awareness of emotional importance (how the individual feels about the potential outcomes)
The adequate interplay between such skills (listed above) motivates effective behavioural outcomes, especially when these skills are supported by other life-management strategies:
- information gathering
- seeking expert advice
- an ability to prioritise activities
However, many recovering addicts, whilst infinitely ‘street savvy’, have under-developed basic life and socialised skills; and whilst the list below is not definitive, such skills include:
- Eating well
- Cooking and cleaning abilities
- Home making
- Health and fitness awareness
- Financial management and paying bills
- Social and interpersonal communication abilities
Our Life Skills Courses are designed to develop the communication abilities and the practical skills essential for successful and socialised living; and all our clients have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) drawn up in consultation with their Case Manager that meets their individualised need.
Many life skills programs focus on teaching the prevention of certain behaviours however, such programs have often proved to be relatively ineffective. Based on recent empirical research in the USA we advocate the theory of Positive Development. We facilitate clients in focusing on their strengths and demonstrate how destructive ‘street and criminal survival tactics’ can be turned around; adapted into positive life skill assets.
We have found that our clients who developed life skills in a positive, rather than preventive, way gain a greater sense of self-responsibility, competence, authentic inner power, and a deeper sense of belonging.
Social Skills Courses
Social Skills facilitate our effective interactions and communication with other people and are intrinsic to the maintenance of functional life skills. People learn the ‘rules’ of social skills though socialization however; many addicts come from backgrounds that did not provide healthy/loving relationships and such skills were never fully developed. Additionally, through the destructive egocentricity of the using addict and his/her ultimate social isolation any existing social skills deteriorate over time and have to be rebuilt.
These Interpersonal skills are sometimes also referred to as people skills and are skills individuals use to communicate, interact and build healthy, sound relationships with others. These skills include:
- Verbal and non-verbal communication
- Active listening
The term ‘interpersonal skills’ is often used in a business context, and refers to the level of a person’s ability to operate within business organizations through social communication and interactions therefore; developing these skills is also vital to success in finding work and building a career.
Whilst it may appear that such skills are obvious and natural, this is far from true. And many recovering addicts find the following interpersonal behaviours almost impossible to employ:
- making/maintaining eye contact
- smiling at the right time
- giving others the space to fully communicate
- showing empathy
- giving and receiving compliments
- exhibiting appropriate body language
We facilitated our clients in learning social skills through changes in their attitude, thinking, and behaviour and we demonstrate appropriately high levels of social skill/s to provide an effective role model. Clients learn how to:
- Be good listeners
- Maintain interpersonal boundaries
- Demonstrate self-control
- Develop interactive social relationships
- Develop conversational skills
- Handle difficult situations and confrontation
- Give and receive feedback
- Better understand body language and non-verbal communication
- Develop assertiveness rather than rely on defensiveness and/or aggression
The destructive impact a lack of social skills has on individuals is clear to see in relation to the USA’s Business, Labor and Government Authorities Agreement that a significant number of deaths in the United States can be attributed to psychosocial deficits in an individuals’ ability to manage stress and make supportive social connections.
UNESCO research found that people, who develop effective speaking/listening skills and know how to get to know others have better self-awareness, improved social/emotional adjustment and enhanced positive/self-caring behaviour; and such people are less self-destructive and less prone to violent behaviour.
For all the above reasons we consider the development/improvement of our clients’ social skills essential to their long term recovery from active addiction, and finding and maintaining ways to break the addicts’ pattern of isolation is vital to our clients’ progression toward a renewed ‘way of being and living’ that works drug-free!