Click here to edit title

DYNAMIC SOCIAL SKILLS GROUPS for kids, teens and alults, 

Connie Buckingham

Principal Psychologist and Practice Director
Friendship Saver Author, PhD candidate University of Melbourne (Dept. Psychology), Australian Psychological Society member

Connie loves sharing social emotional knowledge with children, adolescents and adults to help them grow the skills they need to effectively navigate through life.

In 2009, she founded the Social Learning Studio to provide engaging social skills group programs designed to build each participant’s social toolkit appropriate to life stage, starting from junior primary years. The practice has since expanded into a collaborative team of experts providing holistic, integrated care to help clients and their families work towards their goals.

As a psychologist, Connie consults with many schools, specialising in the well being of young people and enhancing the capacity of educators to teach social emotional content.

Ten years ago, through her work with schools, Connie recognised widespread occurrence of relational aggression between students, and the absence of an Australian evidence-based program to support Australian schools. Longitudinal research confirmed that children who have opportunities to learn pro-social skills are more resilient, achieve better academic outcomes, and report better mental health in adulthood. With this in mind, Connie drew on engaging pedagogy and social learning theory to write the Friendship Saver, a universal, evidence-based social emotional learning (SEL) program. When the Friendship Saver is delivered by class teachers across a whole school, it empowers students, teachers and parents in a shared language and skillset that fosters positive student relationships and problem-solving capability. In doing so, it promotes positive shifts in behaviour, learning engagement, and connectedness to school. This program is designed for 7 to 14 year old’s and is currently in its fourth edition.

As a PhD candidate Connie is formally evaluating the impact of the Friendship Saver program on children’s social and emotional skills. She runs dynamic social skills groups for clinical populations and has contributed to the world’s first Social Skills Groups Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) developed by Swinburne University. Connie is also a public speaker, most recently speaking at the Australian-Singaporean Transactional Analysis Associations Conference 2018.