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Table 2 Description of sessions and procedures

From: Social skills training for drug users under treatment: a pilot study with follow-up

Session and objective Procedures
Session 1—Presentation
Objective: To introduce the SST structure, motivating participants to continue to participate in the intervention
1) The participants introduce themselves and report how they are feeling.
2) They create their own name tag.
The meetings are scheduled (dates and shifts); the meeting structure is explained; a poster listing the six steps of each session is placed in the middle of the circle formed by the group; explanations are given about attendance—they will receive a certificate of participation if they attend the minimum of 75% of the meetings and receive a stamp at each meeting they attend on a list visible to everyone.
3) Six social skills are selected to be worked on.
4) Exercise on Basic Human Rights, according to Caballo (2003).
5) Homework: choose one of the rights from the list that you deem most important for you at this moment
6) Feedback: What did you think about the meeting? How did you feel? What do you suggest for the next meeting?
Session 2—Starting and keeping a conversation going
Objective: To understand the relevance of the skill starting and keeping a conversation going in different contexts and then practice it.
1) Mood check and diaphragmatic breathing.
Explanations are given about the importance of breathing for well-being and decreasing anxiety; practice exercise by means of guided instruction.
2) Homework review.
Positive reinforcement is offered to those who finished the task by showing the importance of SS practice. An imagination activity is performed to exercise the basic human right of choice.
3) Psychoeducation activity about the social skills to be learned: starting and keeping a conversation going
Understanding verbal and non-verbal signals of a person’s interest in starting a conversation, types of question that create other conversational topics.
4) Social skills practice
Bus activity: in pairs, each participant starts and keeps a conversation going, as if they were on a bus, until they hear a sound signal that notifies arrival at the destination, when they should say goodbye and speak to another pair.
5) Homework assignment: start and keep a conversation going with a colleague from the Therapeutic Community Center
6) Feedback.
Session 3—Expressing positive affect
Objective: To understand the importance of expressing positive feelings to strengthen relationships, and practice such a skill.
1) Mood check and diaphragmatic breathing. Moment to talk about the previous week and see if the participants have some important information to share with the group
2) Homework review
Emphasis on the need for SS practice to learn and develop it further
3) Psychoeducation about the social skill to be learned: expressing positive feelings
Relation between the expression of positive feelings and the proximity between people, support network expansion
4) Social skill practice
Empty Chair Exercise: an empty chair is placed in the middle of the group and each participant goes to it, as if there were a person to express positive feelings to there.
5) Homework attribution: Give a compliment to a colleague
6) Feedback
Session 4—Speaking in public
Objective: Develop strategies to speak in public and practice such a skill.
1) Mood check and diaphragmatic breathing
2) Homework review
Discuss how each participant felt giving a compliment: ease and difficulty
3) Psychoeducation activity about the social skill to be learned: speaking in public
Strategies that can help (look for those who are paying attention, get to know the public and the place, etc.)
4) Social skill practice
Empty Screen Exercise: each person has 1 minute to speak about objects that are randomly taken from a bag
Discussion on how they felt while doing the exercise and how they can deal with unexpected events. Importance of daily diaphragmatic breathing to decrease anxiety while speaking in public.
5) Homework assignment
Practice diaphragmatic breathing and make a note of how many times they did that during the week.
6) Feedback
Session 5—Acknowledging compliments
Objective: To acknowledge assertive compliments and acknowledge their own qualities.
1) Mood check and diaphragmatic breathing
Discuss how they are feeling and how their week was
2) Homework review
Discuss how they felt after doing the daily diaphragmatic breathing and if they felt better after respiration.
3) Psychoeducation activity about the social skill to be learned: Acknowledging compliments
Understanding the importance of compliments in different contexts, as well as recognizing their skills
4) Social Skill practice
In a circle, each participant practices the compliment technique and asks a question so that the other person can acknowledge the compliment more easily.
5) Homework assignment
Give a compliment to some colleagues and add a question about the theme of the compliment.
6) Feedback.
Session 6—Making refusals
Objective: To recognize the right of refusal and practice it.
1) Mood check and diaphragmatic breathing
2) Homework review
Discuss a peer’s reaction after receiving a compliment.
3) Psychoeducation activity about the social skill to be learned – Making refusals
Teach strategies such as “Scratched Disc” (Caballo, 2003), asking for more time to think, asking for clarifications, being brief, etc.
4) Social skill practice
Based on situations that the group considers to be more difficult to refuse, each pair will act out how they can assertively say no in that situation.
5) Homework assignment
Refusing a command that you do not wish to obey
6) Feedback.
Session 7—Defending rights
Objective: To practice the skill of defending rights, while clearly understanding respect for oneself and for others
1) Mood check and diaphragmatic breathing
2) Homework review
Discuss feelings arising from making refusals; the importance of being aware of rights that must be respected by oneself and by others.
3) Psychoeducation activity about the social skill to be learned – defending rights.
Context of defense of rights, transparency about one’s own rights
4) Social skill practice
Practice of product exchange: each participant acts out as if they were in a store.
Discussion about alternatives and ways to defend their rights.
5) Homework assignment
Choosing one of the skills that have been learned during the training and practice it.
6) Feedback.
Session 8—Conclusion
Objective: To think about the social skills that have been learned, and create confrontation cards to be used on a daily basis.
1) Mood check and diaphragmatic breathing
Discussion about the previous meeting and the importance for the group to continue practicing social skills
2) Homework review
3) Creation of confrontation cards
Using sheets of paper with the names of each social skill, review ways to exercise those social skills in several situations. Next, after the group discussion, each participant creates a confrontation card for each social skill, with hints and strategies for development of social skills.
4) Feedback
The participants assess the SST training and make suggestions about it.