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Building Social Skills for Clients with Serious Mental Illness: Moving Beyond Medication To Address Social Deficits

Megan Pollock, PhD
Approx. 6 Hours
Jan 12, 2023
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Media Type:
DVD - Also available: Digital Seminar | Live Webinar

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When it comes to serious mental illness (SMI), so many of us were taught that medication is the biggest part of the solution.

No matter the prescription though, most of your clients still seem to struggle when it comes to building social skills and interacting with others.

You need a plan to help them thrive in the workplace, make new friends, start dating or improve existing relationships, just to name a few. That’s where senior psychologist specialist from the California Department of State Hospitals, Dr. Megan Pollock, can help! Dr. Pollock is certified in Social Skills Training (SST) and has trained many clinicians just like you to use social skills to treat persons with serious mental illness.

She has assembled a user-friendly guide based on SST and Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) that will afford you the skills to work in a much more effective manner with persons diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.

You’ll come away from this training with:

  • Techniques to overcome social disinterest and defeatist beliefs
  • Role plays to build conversation and conflict resolution skills
  • Specific clinical approaches to improve cognitive and problem-solving skills
  • Ways to help clients set meaningful recovery goals

Don’t miss this opportunity to expand your clinical skillset and help your most serious clients find the connections and relationships they desire.

Purchase today!


CE Information Coming Soon

Continuing education credit information is coming soon for this non-interactive self-study package.

CEs may be available for select professions, as listed in the target audience. Hours will be dependent on the actual recording time. Please check with your state licensing board or organization for specific requirements. 

There may be an additional fee for CE certificates. Please contact our Customer Service at 1-800-844-8260 for more details. 

**Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.


Megan Pollock, PhD's Profile

Megan Pollock, PhD Related seminars and products

Dr. Megan Pollock, is a senior psychologist specialist and forensic needs assessment psychologist at California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) in the newly developed enhanced treatment program, which provides an enhanced level of care for the most aggressive patients in the state. Dr. Pollock is certified in Social Skills Training (SST) for schizophrenia and was supervised directly by the developer of Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) during her time as a therapist in the active research trial of Combined Oxytocin and Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) for Social Dysfunction with Schizophrenia. During her time at DSH, Dr. Pollock has given several trainings on social skills in treating persons with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and authored the social skills section of California’s DSH diversion guidelines.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Megan Pollock maintains a private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Megan Pollock has no relevant non-financial relationships.

Additional Info

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


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  1. Evaluate current evidence-based psychosocial treatments for Serious Mental Illness (SMI) that can be put to practical use in-session.
  2. Determine common social deficits in clients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.
  3. Apply Social Learning Theory to help your clients improve their social functioning.
  4. Enhance therapeutic alliance and client engagement through setting recoverybased goals.
  5. Effectively assess clients’ social functioning to inform the clinician’s choice of treatment interventions.
  6. Employ Social Skills Training (SST) with your clients to improve client engagement.
  7. Create an implementation process using Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) with your clients to improve treatment outcomes.


Recognizing and Targeting Common Social Deficits in Serious Mental Illness
  • What are some of the major factors that can impair functioning for your client?
    • Social disinterest
    • Defeatist attitudes and beliefs
    • Negative emotions
    • Amotivation
  • Address the common social deficits of your clients with a serious mental illness
    • Managing the difficulty of initiating and maintaining conversations
    • Strategies for achieving goals in social settings
    • Become aware of and learn how to navigate odd interpersonal behaviors
Improving Functioning for Clients with Serious Mental Illness: Utilizing Social Skills Training (SST) and Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST)
  • Assessing a client’s social skills:
    • Using recovery goal planning
    • Social Functioning Interview
    • Social Adaptive Functioning Evaluation (SAFE)
    • Social skills checklist
  • Understanding Social Learning Theory and how it applies to SST
  • Targeting and Treating Social Skill Deficits
    • Empirical evidence supporting SST and CBSST
    • Limitations of the research
    • Fostering an attitude and expectation of success in clients to aid in the engagement of new tasks, harder activities, and expend more effort
    • Utilizing Social Skills Training (SST) as a safe place to practice real-life skills with a trained therapist(s) and peers to practice building interests and motivation in life
  • Recovery goal setting in SST
    • Some common recovery goals include making a friend(s), getting a job, being a better parent, start dating and more
  • Working with clients on bettering their:
    • Basic social and interpersonal skills
    • Health management skills
    • Work and professional abilities
    • Coping skills for drug and alcohol use
  • Effectively use role playing to help your client build the skills to initiate conversations, ask for help, and disagree with another’s opinion without arguing
  • Learn the three modules and applications of CBSST: Cognitive skills, social skills, and problem-solving
Working with Your Clients on Problem-Solving and Cognitive Skills
  • Using the 3 C’s (Catch It, Check It, Change) method to explore negative and delusional beliefs
  • Using behavioral experiments to test delusional beliefs
  • Using the SCALE method to help patients identify and solve problems:
    • Specify the problem
    • Consider all possible solutions
    • Assess the best solution
    • Lay out a plan
    • Execute and evaluate

Target Audience

  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Counselors
  • Nurses (nurse practitioners, advanced practice, behavioral health)


Satisfaction Guarantee
Your satisfaction is our goal and our guarantee. Concerns should be addressed to: PO Box 1000, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1000 or call 1-800-844-8260.

ADA Needs
We would be happy to accommodate your ADA needs; please call our Customer Service Department for more information at 1-800-844-8260.

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