Social Group Work Essay

1788 WordsOct 11, 20128 Pages
------------------------------------------------- Social work with groups represents a broad domain of direct social work practice (Garvin, Gutierrez & Galinskey, 2004). Social workers work with a variety of groups in all settings in which social work is practiced. While some have proposed that social work practice with groups reflects any and all groups within which social workers participate, other definitional parameters have been established (Garvin et al., 2004). Middleman and Wood (1990) have proposed that for practice to qualify as social work with groups four conditions must be met: the worker should focus attention on helping the group members become a system of mutual aid; the group worker must understand the role of the group process itself as the primary force responsible for individual and collective change; the group worker seeks to enhance group autonomy; the group worker helps the group members experience their groupness upon termination (Middleman & Wood, 1990). Middleman and Wood (1990) observe that social group work meets their criteria of social work with groups. They also point out that "given our definition of work with groups, therapy can be the content and can be included also, contingent upon the way in which the group as a whole and groupness are used" in accord with the identified criteria (P.11). As long as the criteria is met, structured group work "where the worker is the expert until her knowledge has been imparted to the group" could be regarded as social work with groups as well (Middleman & Wood, 1990, p. 11-12). The group as the unit of social work practice A common conceptualization of the small group drawn from the social work literature is as “a social system consisting of two or more persons who stand in status and role relationships with one another and possessing a set of norms or values which regulate the

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