PEERS Social Skills Group

The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) is an evidenced based group program for adolescents and young adults with social differences. It teaches ecologically based social skills, which are based on the skills employed by individuals who are socially successful. Whilst PEERS is not considered neurodiversity affirming, our approach to PEERS aims to present the information as a choice, and to encourage group members to provide their perspectives and experiences. We understand the double empathy problem is real and our discussions and perspective taking aims to bridge that gap and to allow participants to become aware that they are not the only ones with different neurology. Participants are only accepted if they want to join the group, identify previous struggles with making friends and have a goal of wanting to make friends.
The group covers a range of topics and primarily focuses on the idea of finding and keeping friends and entering into romantic relationships and covers areas such as:

• How to find a source of friends
• How to use social media appropriately
• Handling disagreements
• Dating Skills

The PEERS program runs as two simultaneous groups. The first has the Participant learn ecologically valid social skills. The second group is called the Social Coaching Group and this is where a family member or support person (called the Social Coach) of the participant learns how to support their participant in using their skills, over the duration of the course, as well as ongoing. The presence of the Social Coach means that the support remains after the group program finishes and is more likely to result in an increase and sustained gains in capacity in these areas.

Structure of the program
PEERS is divided into
• PEERS Taster (1 week) Essential to join the Friendship Program
• The PEERS Friendship Program (12 weeks)
• The PEERS Dating Program (4 weeks)

The PEERS Taster is a single session (one for the participant and one for the Social Coach), designed to provide everyone with more information about the program, peoples roles within it, provision of the structure and expectations as well as learning some basic material. This one-session Taster helps you to know if this program is the right one for you. The Friendship Program goes through the program material as described above. The PEERS Dating Program teaches participants social rules for dating. We also have the special addition of a Relationships Educator join us for a few sessions. It is preferred but not mandatory for the Participant to have completed the Friendship Program before attending the Dating Program. If Participants are having difficulties finding a suitable Social Coach, then we can provide a support worker who has PEERS training and can work with the participant for the duration of the program.
If you are interested in joining us, please complete the Registration of Interest form available on our website and return it to us. Our intakes are January / February and July / August.

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Research Partnerships

University of Sydney

At Mind Plasticity, we are committed to advancing the field of mental health through research partnerships with leading universities. Mind Plasticity has a long-standing partnership with the University of Sydney and has hosted a number of research trials and participated in academic partnerships.



How to access Mind Plasticity mental health services? The frequently asked questions page has information on what you require to make an appointment with us; plus descriptions of the roles of our practitioners.