Last week I had a client come in to see me and wanted to talk about this topic of “friendship development”. This 18 year old male proceeded to tell me that over the past week, he got 22 “new friends”. He looked excited as he sat on the edge of the couch, leaning into to me, telling me about all these new “friends” he got……on Facebook. DING DING DING…..It was clear where I needed to take this conversation. Yet before I started to speak, I looked back in my notes and realized this was a conversation we have had on multiple occasions. So how can I frame it differently this time? In this article I am hoping to provide some tips I have gathered over the course of time that have helped the process of teaching social concepts like “friendship development” which clinicians and teachers can make use of in their settings.
Tip 1: Think about what “clicks” for them—What do they “get?”
When working with middle school clients and older, teaching “social” through their interests and their “expertise” is a valuable tool. For example, the 18 year old client I mentioned has an intense interest and passion for math. He does very well with Math and sees himself using Math in his profession later in life. He “gets” Math. So when talking about social relationships or any social concept you are hoping to teach, think about your client or student and ask yourself, “what do they get?”, and what do they use to make sense of the world?
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