Skill enhancement provides the opportunity and knowledge for a client to develop and strengthen the necessary skills to gain, maintain, and advance in a chosen area.
Definition of Skill Enhancement
Skill enhancement programs are focused around training that combines the best practices from education, psychology, social work, career counseling, sports, and technology training. Through skill training a person can improve their overall performance in any identified area and in so doing can improve the overall quality of life. Skill enhancement or training typically uses a combination of cognitive and behavior problem solving approaches, both of which are used to strengthen a person's positive skill development.
There are generally four parts to effect training in specific skill enhancement: assessment, skills program construction and selection, implementation, and feedback/evaluation.
Areas of Focus
Examples of areas of focus in skill enhancement are detailed below:
Social skills and competence: A person's ability to develop and maintain appropriate social skills and social relationships with family, friends, peers, lovers, colleagues, authority figures, etc., is critical in being able to live a happy, productive and successful life. Social skills are defined as specific strategies used by an individual to perform social tasks effectively and thus be socially successful and socially competent. They can be seen as falling into one of 2 categories: (a) environmental social skills which are essential to perform tasks in both an educational setting and the work place, such as listening, following instructions, and appropriate work habits; and (b) social interaction skills that facilitate any positive social interaction, such as starting and maintaining a conversation, complementing others, and resolving conflict.
Non-verbal communication: Non-verbal communication can occur through sight, sound, smell, touch or taste. Non-verbal communication can be conscious and purposeful or unconscious. Also, non-verbal communication comes in many forms at the same time. For example, a person's dress, tone of voice, attitude, and movement all contribute to the communication going on in a certain situation. It can be very helpful to understand the importance of non-verbal communication and to modify those aspects of your non-verbal communication skills which may be problematic.
General academic skill competence: A person can develop problems that interfere with their ability to learn specific information in an academic or occupational setting.
Coping skill enhancement in the treatment of pathological addictions: The development of new skills is necessary for a person to overcome an addiction such as gambling, a sex addiction, alcohol and drug abuse, internet addiction, an addiction to food, work, or shopping.
Organizational skill enhancement training: This is utilized in organizations where employees and/or managers do not effectively respond in certain crucial situations. Organizational skills like problem solving, assertiveness, time management, relaxation responses, etc., are essential for better functioning of any company.
Skill enhancement in handling stress: The term stress refers to the pressures placed on individuals and to the physical and mental consequences of those pressures. Numerous common health problems are linked to stress including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, suicide, eating disorders, and many other health related problems. Stress effects both the individual, his or her home and family life, and the person's workplace.
Failure to develop skill competence can be due to a variety of reasons and there are many commercially available skill programs to help an individual, family, work group or company. However, in general, to teach a single social skill or single grouping of skills a simple five stage cognitive and behavioral problem solving model can be followed: (1) helping the person develop sensitivity and awareness for their problem area; (2) the development in the client of a sense of causality by linking this particular problem past and current events and problems; (3) the development of a comprehensive list of alternative behaviors; (4) taking the client step by step through the most applicable alternative behaviors; and (5) once a solution for the particular problem has been selected and implemented, the client is helped to apply the solution to other problems they may be having.
The more you understand about skill development and skill enhancement, the better will be your ability to modify your behavior and to live a healthier and more fulfilling life. Skill development and skill enhancement can be achieved by using one of several commercially available programs or with the help of a mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinical social worker.
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