Effectiveness of Social Skills Training for reduction of self-perceived Stigma in Leprosy
by Valsa Augustine of the Schieffelin Institute of Health Research and Leprosy Centre in Tamil Nadu, India; and Miriam Longmore of Somerville College, Oxford University, Oxford, England.
To assess the effectiveness of social skills training in leprosy patients to raise self-esteem and reduce self-perceived stigma, five leprosy patients were given 10 day-long group-sessions of social skills training over three weeks. Training involved: identification of the emotions and concerns of patients when interacting socially; analysis of positive and negative social interactions and non-verbal and verbal skills training. Role-plays, videos and live models were used. The exercise revealed that social skills training along with counseling may be able to increase the self-esteem of leprosy patients, and so be a useful part of leprosy rehabilitation schemes to try and combat the stigma of leprosy.