Friendship: A Buffer Against Depression

Cathi Cohen, LCSW

One way to give your child a greater chance of living a happy, productive life is to make sure he/she has the pro-social skills training necessary to make and keep friends. The research is very clear: Life success is determined less by IQ and good grades than it is by a child’s social skills and emotional intelligence; the ability to get along and understand the needs of others. And, yet our schools don’t typically teach such subjects as cooperation, empathy, conflict resolution, managing emotions, and communication or social skills.

In a New York Times article, Roni Caryn Rabin discusses research regarding the link between lack of friendship and depression. The writer notes that friendship offers children a “psychological resilience”. She suggests that parents have a responsibility to act as social skills coaches for their children in order to help them develop critical social skills and emotional skills.

Our Stepping Stones parent groups are in line with Ms. Rabin’s recommendations. Without the active participation of parents in our groups, the social skills the children are learning in their therapy groups do not generalize to the school and home environments. Parents learn cognitive behavioral coaching skills which are practiced at home for optimum results.

Each of our clinicians is prepared to equip your child with the social skills training that they need. In group therapy, In Step’s professional clinicians are ready and willing to help your child overcome the barriers with proper social skills training. For your convenience, In Step has two locations throughout the Northern, Virginia area – one in Sterling, VA and the other in Fairfax, VA. In Step strives to provide children, adolescents and young adults with the proper social skills training to boost their self-esteem, improve their relationships and give them the tools they need to pursue healthy, happy lifestyles.