Often, when a person’s schizophrenia symptoms begin to emerge, one of the signs is social withdrawal and isolation. The person finds conversations more difficult to follow and his or her thinking can be constantly interrupted by symptoms such as paranoia and voices. However, there are several ways a person with schizophrenia can work on their social skills and improve their social life. Individual and group therapy, which can provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis and social skills training and practice, can be of great help (see previous blog posts about Meeting New People and Small Talk).
In addition, club houses and Cognitive Enhancement Therapy are two other resources that, where available, can be a powerful tool to improve the quality of one’s social life.
Club houses (also called Community Support Program) are clubs for people with mental illness, where there are activities and opportunities to meet others. They offer a straightforward approach of offering a place and the structure to meet new people and do fun things. They’ve been around for decades, and improved the lives of many people.
Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET), on the other hand, is one of the newer treatments for people with schizophrenia disorders. Still in the research phases, it is available in many larger universities’ research programs, and has shown great promise with social skills improvement. Here is the link to one man’s experience with CET.