Social development – History taking

In taking a client history one important area to cover is the persons social development. Does the person have a social life and if so what are the features of it? The chart below shows some of the changes that are meant to occur in relationships from adolescence to adulthood. It is in essence highlighting the areas or questions one asks of the client.

Changes in social relationships Jpeg

It shows ten types of changes that occur in social relationships as one transitions from adolescence into adulthood. With the teenage client one can assess how this aspect of their psychological life is progressing. With the adult client one can assess how successfully or unsuccessfully they have made these changes in their social development.

The other important social task to successfully master is the formation of a stable relationship with a member of the opposite sex (or same sex for same sexed couples). To form a stable relationship with a mate. Those who have not been able to do this report:

“I can’t seem to find a man/woman”.

This chart is a questionnaire which illustrates 20 thinking styles or errors that people often use to keep themselves single. They are barriers people often use to avoid getting into relationships. There are many and varied reasons why people avoid forming an intimate relationships with a mate. This chart does not explain those but instead simply gives 20 thinking errors that people use so they can avoid doing so.

Barriers to relationships - scan

In working with a teenager or adult who presents with this difficulty this provides some direction in the questioning of the client to elicit their thinking errors. Or one can give the questionnaire for the client to complete.

After this we are then left with a three pronged approach to therapy

CBT – What CBT calls cognitive restructuring. The person first becomes aware of their thinking error and then creates a new thinking pattern to counter it

Redecision – Underneath the cognitive restructuring one isolates the early decision the client made such that they end up alone. Then the redecision is made

Behavioral contracts – The client does homework where they do new behaviour that counters the thinking error. For example with number 8 the person contracts to initiate contact with at least one person before the next session. Or with number 19 the person contacts to ask others how they go about meeting others. Such behavioral homework then provides content for the next session.


Teenagers and young adults are tribal in nature and tend to socialize in groups. As they grow into adulthood this happens less frequently. (That is me in the blue t-shirt looking at the camera)

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