Social Work Practice With Groups Chapter 6
Introduction • Social work with groups has played an important role in transforming the way we think about clients and about the helping process. • Science has made the discovery that infants who are isolated from other human beings succumb to inattention. • Psychologists have observed that learning can actually be enhanced by associations with others.
Introduction • It is a well documented fact than many of the physical and mental illnesses of people are caused by social and emotional malaise and that social needs bring people to the office of social workers, psychologists, and marriage counselors. • People not only need to be loved, they need to know that they are wanted and understood.
Introduction • Human beings are strongly dependent on interactions with other humans. • Social work practice with groups builds on the important impact of groups on individuals and utilizes group processes to accomplish individual and group goals..
Group Work Defined • Group work is a method of working with people in groups (two or more people) for personal growth, the enhancement of social functioning, and for the achievement of socially desirable goals. • Group work is a method of reducing or eliminating roadblocks to social interaction and for accomplishing socially desirable purposes.
Group Work Defined • Almost all social service agencies use group work. • The social group worker uses their knowledge of group organization and functioning to affect the performance and adjustment of the individual. • The individual remains the focus of concern and the group the vehicle of growth and change. • Enhancement of social functioning through the use of the group is the primary aim of group work.
Group Work Models • Social Goals Model: • Designed to bring about important social gains for the group. • It is likely to address itself to problems within communities and is practiced in settlement houses, P.T.A. organizations, and community service and neighborhood councils. • Model has been used in addressing social problems accompanying community development and growth.
Social Group Models • The Remedial Model: • Tends to be clinically oriented. • Facilitates the interaction among members of the group to achieve change for the individual. • The group supports the member, encouraging new, more appropriate modes of functioning. • Intervention is reality focused and addresses the problem of dysfunction in the group and within the full range of the individual’s relationships.
Social Group Models • The Reciprocal Model: • Serves both the individual and society. • Sees the individual largely as an abstraction that can be studied, understood, and treated only in relation to the many systems and subsystems of which they are a part. • It views the individual as being created, influenced, and modified by their relationships, social institutions, and the interdependency between society and the individual.
Formation of Groups • Worker Goals: • Include the plans, methods, means, and programming developed and used to help members accomplish their goals and purposes. • Responsible for the organization, the treatment process, and termination. • Clarity of purpose, goal formulations, and purpose are essential in group process.
Structuring the Group • The Setting: • The setting is related to purpose. • For children with limited self-control, activities in a gymnasium or on a playground do not provide essential boundaries for group. • Privacy should be provided. • The use of a table may represent a psychological barrier to interaction for some groups.
Structuring the Group • Group Size: • The number of participants ought to be determined by the objectives of each group. • Seven to nine members are most often thought to be small enough to allow for open discussion and attention given to individuals. • The recommended size for educational groups is larger with groups as small as twelve or as large as thirty.
Structuring the Group • Group Rules: • A group that makes is own rules is more likely to abide by them and to apply sanctions as needed to reinforce them. • Individual beliefs and values should be considered in relation to group rules. • Rules should be few in number and include only those deemed essential to achieve the purposes of the group. • Some members may attempt to impose inappropriate rules on the group.
Structuring the Group • Open or Closed Groups: • Designations of “open” and “closed” pertain to the timing of admissions to the group. • Closed groups include only those members selected at the group’s formation. • Open groups are like a slice of life – birth, separation, marriage, and death. • Open systems tend to simulate reality and provide transferability to real life situations.
Structuring the Group • Short-Term or Long-Term Groups: • Adults and mature adolescents usually can accept a time limit on the number of meetings to accomplish their goals. • Youngsters who have experienced repeated rejections may see time limits negatively and try to negotiate for more sessions rather than invest themselves in the area of goal attainment.
Structuring the Group • Meeting Days and Time: • The day and time of meetings will be adapted to the needs and wishes of the members as part of initial planning. • Groups usually meet weekly for one to two hours. • Groups living in institutions may meet more frequently. • As goals are achieved meetings can be tapered off.
Structuring the Group • Leadership: • Many group workers advocate the development of leadership ability in all group members. • Some workers advocate a revolving leadership system, particularly in activity groups with children and adults. • Group workers continually must assess the leadership development of their group as well as the members ability to share leadership functions and participate as both leaders and followers.
Stages of Group • Beginning: • Group worker sets the stage • Worker takes time to identify the purpose • Clearly commit to the goals and procedures • Members need to know what they can expect from the worker • This stage is characterized as a time to convene, to organize, and to set a plan. • Members are likely to remain distant or removed until they have had time to develop relationships.
Stages of Group • Middle: • Almost all of the group’s work will occur during this stage. • Relationships are strengthened as a group so that the tasks can be worked on. • Problem solving is a term often used to describe this stage. • Group leaders are usually less involved • The leader may remind the group of their goals and rules and confront relationships that may be interfering with the overall purpose of the group.
Stages of Group • End: • Marked by the accomplishment of the goals of the group, production of results, and the evaluation of the group’s work. • Preparation for termination should begin with the first session. • The worker will help members deal with their feelings associated with the termination of the group. • Help participants plan on ways to maintain and generalize the gains each member has made.
Group Work Settings • Traditional Settings: • The YMCA and YWCA are examples of agencies that focus on the use of group process in helping youths. • The YMCA had 2,000 units in the United States in l992, with a registered membership of 12.8 million. • The YWCA was operating out of thousands of locations in the US and represented more than 2 million members in l998.
Group Work Settings • Group Services in Host Agencies: • Group process is being used considerably in the field of corrections. • In hospitals social workers often help patients in groups understand some of their medical and emotional problems. • In psychiatric hospitals groups of patients join together on a group basis under the guidance of a group leader. • Many school districts utilize group process in working with boys and girls who have various kinds of personal and family problems.