Sophia Thompson, Kaitlyn Deaner, and Marisa G. Franco
Thompson, S., Deaner, K., & Franco, M. G. (2023). How to Help Clients Make Friends. Journal of Health Service Psychology, 49(2), 77-85. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42843-023-00085-w
Friendships have been declining for the past 30 years, resulting in severe mental and physical health consequences. However, multiple barriers prevent individuals from initiating and maintaining connections. This paper highlights the individual and societal-level challenges that limit social connection including fear of rejection, insecure attachment style, structural racism, and increased use of technology. To help clients make friends, we recommend clinicians assess loneliness, social competency, and attachment style; administer cognitive behavioral or behavioral activation therapies; and guide clients to assume others like them and be self-compassionate.