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Social Skills Training for Veterans with Schizophrenia Changes Lives for Better
In addition to helping individuals with schizophrenia reach their goals, the coping skills and social competence learned through SST have been shown to provide protection against stress and correlate with high levels of life satisfaction.
While the VA’s SST classes are quite structured, the duration of participation in the classes is highly variable. Unlike some other evidence-based therapies that have a set number of sessions, SST can work for veterans who are in an inpatient setting for just a week or for those who participate in outpatient groups for three months or longer.
Clinicians regularly check with participants to see if the program is continuing to work for them. Many cycle in and out of SST as they need skills at particular times to reach their goals, according to Goldberg. Others may be referred for SST from vocational programs, clinics and recovery centers.
Veteran satisfaction with the program has been very high. Since the program began surveying participants, over 90% have reported that they were pleased with the program and would recommend it to others.
1. Kopelowicz A, Liberman RP, Zarate R. Recent advances in social skills training for schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 2006 Oct;32 Suppl 1:S12-23. Epub 2006 Aug 2. Review. PubMed PMID: 16885207; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2632540.
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