While academic achievement is often seen as an indicator of long-term success, a local team of psychotherapists aims to address an often overlooked, but equally important aspect: social skills development.
Stone Creek Psychotherapy and Wellness Center has developed a unique program to help children and adolescents learn vital social skills. The program is guided by Directors Dianne W. Appolito, LCSW and Dana D. Debes, LCSW, who have several decades of combined clinical experience in the Katy/West Houston area.
Appolito, who has extensive experience helping children and adolescents with social struggles, cautions parents of the long-term consequences of underdeveloped social skills.
“Kids who struggle socially have painful experiences that can last a lifetime.” Appolito said. “Kids don’t want to be isolated, and they don’t have to be this way.”
For years, research has shown that social support is critical for both mental and physical health. However, recent studies also suggest that it is a significant piece of the puzzle for long-term success and professional growth.
Through her experience as a clinical social worker, Appolito has seen first-hand how social deficits can hinder even the brightest, most high-achieving students as they enter young adulthood.
“Many of our high gifted achievers end up falling in the sector of the population often referred to as the ‘failure to launch’ group due to social anxiety and a lack of social development,” Appolito said.
Using a research-based curriculum, Stone Creek Psychotherapy’s program takes a unique approach, based on the extensive combined experience of clinicians within the practice, which has been serving the community for nearly 15 years. Unlike other programs that only teach interpersonal skills, Stone Creek’s program focuses on addressing the neurological aspects of social difficulties. The approach is based on Appolito’s experience training with Dr. John Ratey, a Harvard professor and internationally-recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry.
“After working with Dr. Ratey, I learned that so much of what happens for kids, socially, is based on neural connections in the brain,” Appolito said. “I realized that if we can change those connections, we can promote long-term improvement in social development for kids as well as adults.”
Another unique aspect of the program is the support provided to parents through separate but concurrent classes. The parent involvement is an essential part of the program which has shown to be extremely beneficial to the success of class members.
Registration is now open for the upcoming summer semester and can be completed online at www.stonecreektherapy.com/services/social-skills-classes.