SOCW09001 2017 Group Work -Theory and Practice

General Details

Full Title
Group Work -Theory and Practice
Transcript Title
Group Work -Theory and Practic
100 %
Subject Area
SOCW - Social Work
SOCS - Social Sciences
09 - NFQ Level 9
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2017 - Full Academic Year 2017-18
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Maire Hanniffy, Niamh Gallagher, Brenda Feeney, Breda McTaggart
Programme Membership
SG_WSOWO_M09 201800 Master of Arts in Social Work

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.

This module supports the achievement of CORU Standards of Proficiency as follows:

  • Domain 1: Professional Autonomy and Accountability
  • Domain 2: Interpersonal and Professional Relationships
  • Domain 3: Effective Communication
  • Domain 4: Personal and Professional Development
  • Domain 5: Provision of Quality Services
  • Domain 6: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

Learning Outcomes

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.(Domain:1.1 (f) 5.5 (a), 6.1(f), 6.3(a), 6.3 (d).


Critically examine the theoretical context of groupwork. (Domain: 1.1 (f) 2.1 (c) 6.1 (a), 6.1 (d), 6.1 (e), 6.2 (c), 6.3 (a), 6.3 (c), 6.3 (d)


Assess thoroughly the various groupwork interventions in social work practice. (Domain: 1.1 (b), 1.1 (f), 6.3 (a), 6.3 (d)


Develop skills and competencies for planning, forming, facilitating and leading groups and evaluating outcomes of group work interventions (Domain: 1.1 (b)  1.3 (a), 1.4 (a), 1.4 (d), 1.6 (d), 1.8 (a), 3.1 (b) 3.1 (d), 3.2 (a), 5.6 (a), 6.1 (d), 6.2 (e), 6.3 (a), 6.3 (c), 6.4 (d), 6.4 (f)


Plan, deliver and evaluate a groupwork activity. (Domain:  1.1 (a), 1.1 (c), 1.6 (d), 1.6 (e), 1.7 (a), 3.1(b) 3.1 (d), 3.2 (a),  4.1 (a), 5.2 (a), 5.3 (d), 5.3 (e),     5.6 (a), 5.8 (b), 5.8 (f), 6.3 (a), 6.3 (b)

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: This modules assessment allows for assessment of CORU Standards of Proficiency as outlined below:

Assessment 1) A 2,000-word essay based on the role of group work within social work environments (40%) (Domain: 1.1 (f), 2.1 (c), 3.1 (b), 5.1 (a), 5.1 (d), 5.5 (a), 6.1 (a), 6.1 (d),  6.1 (e), 6.1 (f), 6.2 (c), 6.3 (d)

Assessment 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. (Domain: 1.1 (a), 1.1 (b), 1.1 (c),  1.3 (a), 1.4 (a), 1.4 (d),  1.5 (a), 1.5 (b),  1.6 (d), 1.6 (e), 1.7 (a), 1.8 (a), 2.2 (b), 3.1 (b), 3.1 (d), 3.2 (a), 4.1 (a), 4.1 (b),  4.1 (c), 5.1 (a), 5.1 (d), 5.2 (a), 5.3 (d), 5.3 (e),  5.6 (a), 5.8 (b), 5.8 (f), 5.9 (e), 6.1 (a), 6.2 (e), 6.3 (a), 6.3 (b), 6.3 (c), 6.3 (d),  6.4 (d), 6.4 (f)

Repeat Assessments

Repeat requirements will be based on failed component(s) and will be confirmed within the Exam Boards. 

Module Dependencies

EDUC09011 201700 Interprofessional and Interagency Collaboration (IPIAC) in Social Work

Indicative Syllabus

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

End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
100 %

Coursework Assessment

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

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Group Learning Flat Classroom Seminar Learning 3 Weekly 3.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Independent Learning 4.5 Weekly 4.50
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2018-01-01 Group Dynamics Cengage Learning
ISBN 9781337408851 ISBN-13 1337408859

GROUP DYNAMICS, 7th Edition, combines an emphasis on research, empirical studies supporting theoretical understanding of groups, and extended case studies to illustrate the application of concepts to actual groups. Author Donelson R. Forsyth builds each chapter around a real-life case, drawing on examples from a range of disciplines including psychology, law, education, sociology, and political science. Tightly weaving concepts and familiar ideas together, the text takes students beyond simple exposure to basic principles and research findings to a deeper understanding of each topic. Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

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.

URL Resources

The Association for Advancement of Social Work with Groups Inc.

Standards for Social Work Practice with Groups IASWG:

Social Care Institute for Excellence- Working with Groups in Social Work and Social Care: WITH GROUPS