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To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video. Need help? How do I find a book? Can I borrow this item? Can I get a copy? Can I view this online? Ask a librarian. Within the last decade there has been increasing interest in testing the practices which have been established empirically through the techniques of experimental research. Some of the studies of small groups carried on by social psychologists and sociologists 5.
These studies also provide new insights into the group process which provide stimulus for modifying old principles and techniques and developing new ones. The development of a conceptual framework for work with groups within the social service field began as, and has continued to be, a group project to which educators, practitioners, supervisors, administrators, consultants, field representatives, and others have contributed.
This is a project-in-process; it will never cease, nor will it be formulated as an absolute as long as new knowledge is developed in the behavioral sciences, and creative, imaginative, and experimental practitioners are engaged in helping individuals and groups to make the social adjustments necessary to function in our dynamic, changing society.
The responsibility of identifying or formulating and then operationalizing the concepts helpful to learning how to become an enabler in groups largely has been carried by people identified with programs of leisure-time, educational, and recreational activities.
Both within the field and in the schools of social work, there has been only nominal interest in this area of practice on the part of the majority of social workers associated with other settings. As the group worker became knowledgeable of the significance of the concepts which brought increasing understanding of the social processes which occur in groups, he identified with these ideas and they became to him group work content rather than generic content for use of anyone who seeks to function more effectively as a member, leader, or enabler.
The allocation to group work of the concepts relative to understanding the social processes in group life is illustrated by the fact that very few schools of social work offer this material as generic for all students, but instead require or offer one semester in group work to all students not specializing in it. Some courses in community organization include socio-psychological knowledge of groups in their content, but in most schools the course in group work must carry the full burden of providing this basic background for the practice of all social work.
Identification of group workers with the use of the social process in all types of groups is further illustrated in the report of the Committee on Function of the Social Group Workers of the A. Through his participation the group worker aims to affect the group process so that decisions come about as a result of knowledge and a sharing and integration of ideas, experiences and knowledge rather than as a result of domination from within or without the group. Through experience he aims to produce those relations with other groups and the wider community which contribute to responsible citizenship, mutual understandings between cultural, religious, economic or social groupings in the community and a participation in the constant improvement of our society toward democratic goals.
This statement does not identify or describe social group work as a specialization in social work; instead, it describes not only the goals of participation of any social worker in groups, but also of any professional or lay person who may work with any type of group. To all of them, understanding many of the basic concepts and how to operationalize them is beneficial. It is important, however, to point out that the basic values of the social work profession -respect for human beings and the right of self-determination are violated if enablers to groups are trained in use of techniques without understanding the principles and basic concepts from which they are drawn.
In a single paper it is impossible to list, much less discuss, all the basic concepts upon which principles of effective work with groups are based. I have chosen ten concepts 7. These concepts help us to see selectively and understand and communicate what goes on in the group process. To this extent, they help us to develop and refine principles and techniques.
Some of the concepts from which principles of work with groups are drawn are:. All groups have a purpose, not necessarily conscious, which is expressed in the substance of the interaction. All groups experience conflict and exercise controls-the equilibrium or homeostasis of the group. All groups use a decision-making process based on elimination, subjugation, compromise, integration, or combinations thereof. All groups reflect the social status system of the community and create one of their own in its decision-making processes.
All groups develop morale or esprit de corps which distinguishes each from all others. These concepts are some of those which are essential to understanding any type of group; they provide a basis from which any person working with a group in any capacity may develop principles and techniques for working with them for any purpose, i.
Social Theory, Social Change and Social Work
When principles and techniques are developed from them for use by social workers, the value system of the social work profession has a determining influence on the formulation of principles and how the techniques for implementing them are used. Respects all human beings and their social organizations through respecting their right to manage their own lives. Accepts each individual and group as unique and the right of each to be different from every other. Feels with individuals and groups without necessarily feeling like them. Adjusts his behavior to his understanding of the behavior of the group.
Accepts and handles negative and positive feelings for the benefit of the group. Supplies the group with needed factual material and helps it to recognize issues without indicating solutions. Stimulates the group to consider implications of issues and new horizons.
Supports the group in making and carrying out decisions consonant with individual and social welfare. Recognizes the structure of interpersonal relations as an influential factor in group decisions. Helps the group to divide responsibility and involve as many members as possible in planning and executing a program.
Respects and uses the structure established by the group for division of labor. Accepts the role of authority, when necessary, without passing judgment. Understands the social status system of the community and neighborhood and helps individuals to live with it or to change it, when change is necessary to safeguard the right of self-determination and the welfare of the community. In human relations there are usually many techniques 9.
They are not applied automatically in the practice of social work. The enabler:. Knows the name of each individual in a group and addresses him according to the accepted way in his culture not always by first name or with title, but in the way which he expects. Considers the schedule established by his group as important as any other obligation.
Is the first one to arrive at the meeting, in order to observe who comes with whom, who sits with whom, who agrees with whom, in order to identify subgroups. This list of techniques could be extended ad infinitum , and each item has a meaning of its own. Their significance lies in the leads they provide to the applied scientists or practitioners for the formulating of principles of how to do something with people and groups.
A member of a professional discipline which has a value system examines them to find how he can use their meaning in order better to serve the people whose problems lie within his professional competence. Each of the selected principles listed above emanates from one or more of the quoted concepts, but each one carries meaning beyond the concepts themselves because each one reflects the value system of social work.
As a social work principle, it is not enough to say that the worker, recognizing that a group is interaction, affects its processes.
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He does this with respect to the rights of the participating members as human beings for self-determination, and with respect for, and within, the limitations of purpose for which the group is organized. In other words, how he affects interaction comes from the value system of social work, but knowledge of the nature of interaction in any group, as learned from the social scientists, gives direction and concreteness to his activity. The techniques listed, on the other hand, are not value-oriented, and unless they are used in relation to social work principles they will not provide social work service.
The use of techniques without consciousness of their appropriateness to the particular group situation has as much potential for interference as for assistance to a group in the accomplishment of its objectives. Thus each technique represents the substance of what a worker does; the kind of help he gives a group, however, is dependent on his understanding of the principles which guide his choice of techniques. Further examination and discussion of these concepts, principles, and techniques would reveal that these lists represent knowledge and skills needed by every social worker, no matter with what type of group he works.
Social workers also need this knowledge and skill to work with the non-social work groups in the community which seek to lessen the maladjustments in social situations.
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- Social Welfare History Project Social Group Work Theory and Practice.
- Applying critical social work theory in practice;
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- Social Welfare History Project Social Group Work Theory and Practice.
Social change pressured by technology, mobility, threat of war, social cleavages, urbanization, and spatial communication present challenge to social workers who are daily in personal contact with the consequences of social change. Observation of social work practice and of the curriculum content of most schools of social work seems to indicate that there is greater awareness of the responsibility of social workers to work in, and with, groups than evidence of the prerequisite knowledge and skill for fulfilling this responsibility.
This is an appropriate time for an examination of the content of courses in group work, similar to the examination of the courses in casework which occurred about twenty years ago when these courses were carrying the major responsibility for teaching the understanding of individual human behavior. When this content was recognized as generic and developed in separate courses, the teachers of casework were freed to teach the social casework process per se.
Recognition of knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts, principles, and techniques of working with groups as generic will likewise free the instructors in social group work to teach the distinctive characteristics of the social group work process. The distinction between social group work practice and work with groups is one which is needed, not just in relation to our professional organization and the curriculum content which supports the profession, but also in the fields in which we practice where we are in daily contact with workers who not only serve groups as part of social work practice, but who work from an orientation different from that of social work.
Such distinctions are postponed for later consideration on the theory that we must first agree on what we do that is distinctive within our own profession before we can undertake the task of identifying similarities to, and differences from, other professional work with groups.
In contrast to the statement of the A. The extent to which the definitions given by the six authors listed below are shared by the majority of practitioners is unknown. I agree with the distinction established but believe that the definition is inadequate. I think the crucial distinction between social group work and work with groups has to do with 1 whether group members are perceived as having specific and identifiable social adjustment problems, and 2 whether the practitioner fulfills a role directed at the resolution of these difficulties through use of the group process.
Whatever the definitive statement of social group work practice may be, if it is to cover an area of professional practice it must designate the nature of the problems for which the service is designed, and describe specifically the principles and techniques applicable to helping people overcome them.
In consideration of the agreement of the majority of the group workers who have returned the questionnaire that we should distinguish between social group work and work with groups, we propose the following assumptions which, if accepted by the majority of us, would help to clarify and define social group work practice:. Understanding the nature of group interaction the group process and the dynamics of human behavior is a prerequisite for anyone who successfully fulfills the role of an enabler for a group.
The role and responsibility of an enabler are determined by the primary purpose for which the group is organized. When a group, such as a class, an agency staff group, an agency board, or a committee of a welfare council, is organized to accomplish a predetermined task, the primary responsibility of the enabler is to help the members to accomplish this task.
A Critical History of the Social Work Response to Social Justice | SpringerLink
When a group is organized for the purpose of providing an opportunity for members to use the group experience for adjustmental purposes personal growth and change , the first responsibility of the enabler is to diagnose identify the unique problems of each member in the group.
The enabler who works with a growth-oriented group carries the primary responsibility of affecting the interaction as expressed in the program content toward the resolution of the problems of the members. The program content is subject to change at any time in accordance with the problems of the members. To summarize, we propose that the distinction between work with groups and social group work may be made on the basis of the following assumption: the distinction is to be found in the difference between the nature of the task-oriented group as compared to that of the growth-oriented group. Just as the principles and choice of techniques of working with any group are affected by the value system of social work, they are likewise affected by the more specific purpose of social group work service.
Diagnosis is the core of practice.
It is not sufficient to be well grounded in understanding the dynamics of human behavior. The social group worker serving a growth-oriented group understands as much as he can about the specific problems of each member in the group he is serving. This involves a study of each individual to secure as much understanding of the meaning of his manifest behavior as the combination of accessible facts of his life experience and theory can provide.
The study is continuous, but the use of principles and techniques at a given time is determined by the result of the study at that time. Knowledge and understanding of the problems of the members determine: a the techniques of using program content; b the direction of the interacting process between members and between individual members and the worker; and c the extent to which members can be helped to secure a feeling of belonging and acceptance of responsibility toward the group. It is currently used to describe: 1 a job classification; 2 a field of work; 3 a classification of agencies; 4 a philosophy or movement; in addition to 5 a method, which was the original intent of the words.
It is, of course, self-evident that no sound conceptual frame of reference can be developed to apply to an area of work which covers everything and anything which might be included in the job load of a worker or the variety of occupational skills and techniques needed by agencies to fulfill their purposes. If social group workers are to practice from a commonly accepted conceptual frame of reference, the first step must be the acceptance of the limitation of the term as one descriptive of a specialized method of serving people in groups.
The term does not describe other group methods which social group workers use in such functions as administration and its various work with boards and committees; supervision, whether it be individual or group; public relations, or work with the variety of groups which are part of the community organization responsibilities which every social worker carries. These other functions are no less important, but they are not the practice of social group work; rather, they are the practice of social work, and they demand generic social work knowledge and skill which are essential to a social group worker in the performance of his total job.