PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL GROUP WORK
Social group work is a method of social work that develops the ability to establish constructive relationships in individuals through group activities. Group experiences are the essential needs of human beings. The reciprocal and dynamic interactions and transactions between persons and the environment are inherent in social group work practice. Sometimes due to his/her own fault or weakness and sometimes due to an unfavorable environment, one fails to perform his/her activities of the group life. Here group work helps the individual in removing weakness and strengthening internal power to perform his/her job satisfactorily. The social group worker must have the theoretical knowledge of social group work, its principles, its skills, its models, and its assumptions so that he/she may be able to perform his/her jobs satisfactorily. All these concepts have been discussed in this unit.
PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL GROUP WORK
The group worker benefits from a conscious understanding of the basic principles of social group work because this knowledge provides him/her a framework to work with the group. Sometimes the words ‘concept’ and ‘principles’ are used interchangeably but there is a difference between the two. The concepts are ideas regarding individuals, groups, and communities that emerged from social and biological sciences as well as from the humanities disciplines. Such concepts are for example social distance, problem, role, ego, etc. They are basic to all social work methods. A principle is a verbalized statement, general rule or law, or fundamental truth by which we proceed from one situation to another. A principle must be understood to mean a hypothesis so adequately tested by observation and experiment that it may be put forward as a guide to action. Social group work principles are guiding assertions of statements that have come from experience and research. Basic principles of working with people in groups to help them grow and change have emerged from the practice of social group work. The objectives of social group work can be fulfilled only within the framework of principles. Therefore, it seems necessary to deal with basic principles, which are the guiding force for group work practice.
14 Principles of Social Group Work by Douglas
- Recognition and subsequent action about the unique differences of each individual.
- Recognition and subsequent action about the wide variety of groups as groups.
- Genuine acceptance of each individual with his unique strengths and weaknesses.
- Establishment of a purposeful relationship between group workers and group members.
- Encouragement and enabling of help and cooperative relationships between members.
- Appropriate modification of the group process.
- Encourage each member to participate according to the stage of his capacity and enable him to become more capable.
- Enabling members to involve themselves in the process of problem-solving.
- Enabling group members to experience increasingly satisfactory forms of working through conflicts.
- Provision of opportunities for new and differing experiences in relationships and accomplishments.
- Judicious use of limitations related to the diagnostic assessment of each individual and total situation.
- Purposeful and differential use of the program according to diagnostic evaluation of individual members’ group purpose and appropriate social goals.
- Ongoing evaluation of individual and group progress.
- Humane and disciplined use of self on the part of the group worker.
Seven Principles of Social Group Work by Konopka
- The social worker’s goal is to enable clients or group members as a whole to move toward greater independence and capacity for help.
- The social worker must use the scientific method to prepare for action fact-finding analysis and diagnosis about the individual, group, and social environment.
- The social worker must form purposeful relationships. It means a conscious focus on the needs of the group members and attempts to fulfill them.
- The social worker must use himself consciously. This includes self-knowledge and discipline in relationships but without the loss of warmth and spontaneity.
- The social worker must accept members as they are, without condemning their behavior. This involves a deep understanding of group members as well as knowledge and identification of values regulating human beings.
- The social worker must understand the origins of his value system and be able to handle it about the value system of others.
- He must allow members to develop their behavior without much interference and to choose their point of departure without imposing outside demands. However, the worker has the responsibility for stimulating change.
Five Principles of Social Group Work by Cohen
- The group members must be encouraged to help themselves by the social worker playing an indirect or enabling role rather than a manipulative one. It means the group members are given the right to self-direction and self-determination.
- The work with the group should be started at the level of group members. It means that proper knowledge of educational, economic, social, and other characteristics is essential while working with the group. If the work or programs are above the mental level of members, they will lose interest.
- Social workers must focus not merely on the immediate problem as seen by the group but on relation to the total situation.
- Social workers must keep in mind that individual differences exist while dealing with the group members.
- It should be kept in mind that the welfare of an individual is inextricably interwoven with the welfare of the group. Therefore, social workers must be concerned with the development of material, human, and social resources to meet the needs of all the members of the group.
Ten Principles of Social Group Work by Friedlander
- The function of the social group worker is a helping or enabling one. This means that his goal is to help the members of the group and the group as a whole move toward greater independence and capacity for self-help.
- In determining his/her way of life, the group worker uses the scientific method–fact-finding, analysis, and diagnosis about the individual, the group of the social environment.
- The group work method requires the worker to form purposeful relationships with group members and the group.
- One of the main tools in achieving such a relationship is the conscious use of self.
- A basic respect and love for people without considering his weakness.
- The work should be started from where the group is.
- There should be a constructive use of limitations. The group worker will mainly use himself, program materials, the interaction of the group, and awaking of insight in the group members.
- Every member of the group should be understood separately. It means individualization is essential.
- Interaction is a process through which group members develop their strengths and power. Therefore, social group workers should properly monitor this process.
- It is also necessary that non-verbal activities and programs should be understood and used along with the verbal material.
14 Ten Principles of Social Group Work by Trecker
- The principle of planned group formation.
- The principle of specific objectives.
- The principle of purposeful worker-group relationship.
- The principle of continuous individualization.
- The principle of guided group interaction.
- The principle of democratic group self-determination.
- The principle of flexible functional organization.
- The principle of progressive program experience.
- The principle of resource utilization.
- The principle of evaluation.
According to Trecker, social group work is a method of social work that helps individuals enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experiences and to cope more effectively with their personal, group, or community problems. Trecker has explained the following principles of social group work:
1. The principle of planned group formation:
This principle states that the group should be formed with a clear purpose and goal, and the group worker should be responsible for selecting and organizing the group members.
2. The principle of specific objectives:
This principle states that the group should have specific and attainable objectives that are in harmony with the agency’s purpose and the individual needs of the group members.
3. The principle of purposeful worker-group relationship:
This principle states that the group worker should establish a positive and trusting relationship with the group members, based on mutual acceptance and respect, and facilitate their participation and involvement in the group process.
4. The principle of continuous individualization:
This principle states that the group worker should recognize and respect the uniqueness and diversity of each group member, and provide them with individualized attention and guidance according to their needs and interests.
5. The principle of guided group interaction:
This principle states that the group worker should help the group members to interact with each other constructively and cooperatively, and to use the group experience as a means of learning, growth, and change.
6. The principle of democratic group self-determination:
This principle states that the group worker should encourage the group members to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions and to share the leadership and control of the group activities.
7. The principle of flexible functional organization:
This principle states that the group worker should adapt the structure and function of the group according to the changing needs and situations of the group members and the agency.
8. The principle of progressive program experience:
This principle states that the group worker should plan and implement a variety of activities that are relevant, meaningful, and challenging for the group members, and that provide them with opportunities for skill development, problem-solving, creativity, and enjoyment.
9. The principle of resource utilization:
This principle states that the group worker should make use of the available resources within and outside the agency, such as personnel, materials, facilities, community services, etc., to enrich the group experience and achieve the group objectives.
10. The principle of evaluation:
This principle states that the group worker should monitor and evaluate the progress and outcomes of the group work process, using appropriate methods and criteria, and provide feedback and suggestions for improvement to the group members and the agency.