SOCW09001 2017 Group Work -Theory and Practice
A key requirement, both as a student of social work and a social work professional, is one’s ability to work effectively with and within groups. The overarching aim of this module is to develop this ability. This will begin by providing students with an understanding of the theory and practical skill set that social workers require to work in groups, with a particular emphasis on groupwork with vulnerable and oppressed populations including, for example, children, adolescents, those impacted by mental health issues, addiction, trauma and foster care, etc.
Throughout the module student practitioners will develop an understanding of the different types of groups in social work practice, for example, socialization groups, therapeutic and counselling groups, educational groups, task groups and self-help groups. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of the necessary skills for fostering service user engagement in groups and influencing individual and/or group change through small group interventions.
On completion of this module, students will be equipped with the necessary skills and competencies to help them plan, deliver, facilitate and evaluate effective group work interventions that are useful in addressing services users.
On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;
Explore the background and current context of groupwork in social work with particular emphasis on groupwork with vulnerable or oppressed populations.
Critically examine the theoretical context of groupwork.
Assess thoroughly the various groupwork interventions in social work practice
Develop skills and competencies for planning, forming, facilitating and leading groups and evaluating outcomes of group work interventions.
Plan, deliver and evaluate a groupwork activity.
Teaching and Learning Strategies
A three hour weekly seminar will occur to allow students to practice group working skills.
Theory will be front‑loaded to allow more opportunities for skills development, and evaluation. Lectures, small group discussions, problem‑based learning, case studies and role play will all be employed.
The course is structured around three complementary components: Groupwork theory; Groupwork observation and practice; critical reflection. The students will form a temporary group to provide them with opportunities to reflect on and examine their membership of this group, the roles within groups, the way we interact and communicate within groups and how this contributes to group culture. In learning to be professional social workers, it is necessary to become aware of our individual contribution to the processes and how we can inhibit or accelerate change. As this is an experiential based module students will receive both lecturer and peer feedback.
External stakeholders will also be invited to be part of this modules pedagogy.
Module Assessment Strategies
Both formative and summative components are included in the overall assessment strategy.
Students will complete two assessments:
1) A 2,000-word essay based on the role of group work within social work environments (40%)
2) A group project based on the planning, implementation and evaluation of a group work activity/intervention (60%). This will form part of a shared assessment with the module 'Interprofessional and Interagency Collaboration (IPIAC) in Social Work'. Students will receive an individual mark within this group project. In preparation for this, students will receive formative feedback on a draft project.
Repeat requirements will be based on failed component(s) and will be confirmed within the Exam Boards.
LO1: Explore the background and current context of groupwork in social work with particular emphasis on groupwork with vulnerable or oppressed populations
This learning outcome will provide a brief historical perspective of groupwork and move forward to examining contemporary examples of group working, including models of group work. Thus the learning outcome will discuss the professional context of groupwork, also explore where the concept of groupwork practice interrelates with the work of other professionals, including community work.
LO2: Critically examine the theoretical context of group work
Students will gain an overview of the major theories of groupwork and their application to social work practice. This will include an examination of Cognitive Behavioural group work, the Mutual Aid model of group work and Psychodynamic group therapy. Students will explore the stage models of group work, the role of participants and role of the social worker in facilitating and leading the group work process such as Yalom's and Tuckman's stages of group development. Students will critically evaluate the therapeutic potential of groupwork.
LO3: Assess thoroughly the various groupwork interventions in social work
Students will critically examine groupwork as a social work intervention in social work practice within a variety of vulnerable and oppressed groups. This will include an exploration of the different types and functions of groupwork interventions in social work such as therapeutic, socialization, counselling and psychoeducational. Students will also be introduced to existing groupwork interventions such as Strengthening Families and Helping Hands.
LO4: Develop skills and competencies for planning, forming, facilitating and leading groups and evaluating outcomes of group work interventions
Student learning will build on previous knowledge acquisition but will now focus on the practical skills, knowledge, ethics and values within the group working process, specifically, how to manage this effectively within social work practices. Students will identify and evaluate the development of leadership and facilitation skills within themselves. Additionally, students will be given the opportunity to explore and analyse the complexities of group working and dynamics, including group roles, power and conflict, working with differences, groups think, transference and group lifecycle.
Finally, students will examine and critically reflect on the importance of evaluating both the process and outcomes of group work for service users and other relevant stakeholders.
LO5: Plan, deliver and evaluate a groupwork activity
Students will be given the opportunity to plan, implement and evaluate a groupwork activity and in doing so develop appropriate knowledge skills and competencies, transferable to workplace environments.
Coursework & Assessment Breakdown
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||Essay||Continuous Assessment||Essay||40 %||Week 5||1,2|
|2||Group Planning and Intervention||Continuous Assessment||Group Project||60 %||End of Semester||3,4,5|
Full Time Mode Workload
|Group Learning||Flat Classroom||Seminar Learning||3||Weekly||3.00|
|Independent Learning||Not Specified||Independent Learning||4.5||Weekly||4.50|
Benson, J. (2009) (3rd Edition) Working More Creatively with Groups. Routledge: UK.
Corey, G. (2008). Theory and practice of group counselling. 7th ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Thomson/Brooks/Cole.
Doel, M.(2006). Using Groupwork. New York: Routledge.
Garvin, C., Gutierrez, L., & Galinsky, M. (2004). Handbook of Social Work with Groups (EDs). New York: Guilford Publications.
Gitterman, A., & Shulman, L. eds. (2005). Mutual aid groups, vulnerable and resilient populations, and the life cycle. 3d ed. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.
Gitterman, A., & Salmon, R. (2009). Encyclopedia of social work with groups. New York: Routledge.
Lindsay, T., & Orton, S (2014). Groupwork Practice for Social Workers. Sage.
Northen, H., & Kurland, R. (2001). Social work with groups, 3rd Edition. New York: Columbia University Press.
Shulman, L. (2009). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups, and communities. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.
The Association for Advancement of Social Work with Groups Inc. http://www.aaswg.org/group-work-group-therapy-resources
Standards for Social Work Practice with Groups IASWG: http://www.aaswg.org/group-work-group-therapy-resources
Social Care Institute for Excellence- Working with Groups in Social Work and Social Care: https://www.scie.org.uk/search?sq=WORKING WITH GROUPS