Can therapy give concrete help with social skills?
December 21, 2010 8:44 PM Subscribe
Unbearable loneliness is making me consider trying therapy again. I'd like to work with someone who can give me concrete help on improving my social skills. Do such therapists exist, and how can I find one?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in my late twenties and have struggled my entire adult life with socializing. Few of my friends live nearby and I struggle to make new ones. I have very little dating or sexual experience. And it's taken a toll on my mood and self-confidence. Sometimes the loneliness is almost unbearable and I feel powerless to overcome my situation.
This summer I finally started seeing a psychologist. He was professional and considerate, and also helped me explore some more general anxiety issues I didn't realize I had. But it didn't feel like a good fit, especially since he was unwilling to give concrete suggestions. He specifically said that it wasn't his place to say what thoughts and behaviors were "correct" or "normal". He did admit that some other therapists took a more…judgmental approach but that clearly wasn't his philosophy.
I really like the kind of help AskMe provides on matters of social etiquette. Providing suggestions of what to do or say in a given situation. I was hoping to get that sort of feedback as I try to build my intuition about how to interact with people.
I'm not as far along the autistic spectrum as that sounds. I'm fine with small talk, but terrible with taking things further to start and maintain relationships, platonic or otherwise. I don't take initiative because I'm terrified of revealing how clueless I am. Of course I need not follow society's norms, but how can I know the impression I make without knowing what those norms are?
So is there really an approach to therapy that deals with stuff on a small-scale level like one sees on AskMe? If so, what should I be looking for or asking to find such a person? And is this considered a mental health thing that I could use insurance for, or just some sort of "life coaching"? Certainly on bad days it seems indistinguishable from depression, and my previous therapist felt fine diagnosing me with generalized anxiety.