Human being is a social animal they can’t live without the social interaction, and community life. Social interaction is one of the indirect ways learning by doing. The establishment of satisfying group life outside the family is pre- requisite for effective social living, which every individual must accomplish though out his life. All human beings do not live alone and group life is basic for every human being. Another important area of social work is social group work, which deals with the individuals as a member of the group.
Social Group: Social group in the ordinary sense means that any collection of more than one individual, but sociologically it is a collection of individuals interacting with each other under a recognized structure. A social group is always motivated by some common goals and interests, characterized by some rules and regulations (formal and informal), which regulates the behavior of its members. Ogburn defines it: The group in a statement “We feelings”. We feelings mean that the members of the group develop basic responses for each other. The following are some of the essential characteristics, which distinguish a group from a non-group:
Group work is a method of social work practice by which individuals are served within and through small face to face groups, in order to solve their problems and bring about desired changes at the individual, group and community level. It recognizes the strength of the social forces that are generated within small groups and seeks to mobilize them for change in the client. Group work is a conscious attempt to help people to become more effective in group situations and to find common interests and mutual satisfaction in doing so.
Genesis of Group Work:
Social group work began as 'group work' with its own unique history and heroes. It was not part of the mainstream of professional social work, which in the early days was synonymous with casework, as far as the method was concerned.
Basic Assumptions of Social Group Work:
Douglas has mentioned the following basic assumptions upon which group work practice is founded.
Coyle has narrated basic assumptions of group work as :
In general, social group work is based on the following basic assumptions:
Definitions of Social Group Work:
In Indian context, Social Group Work refer to working with a small group (members ranging from 7-10) to a medium size group (members ranging from 10-20) for a variety of purposes beginning from recreation to behaviour modification on the one hand and accomplishing tasks including social change and development on the other, with a variety of clients ranging from children to elderly. The worker makes use of the expertise in human relationships to help these groups to achieve the group goals in a participatory manner while paying adequate attention to individual needs and social norms (H.Y. Siddiqui -2008).
Skidmore (1988) defined that “Social Group Work is used for the purpose of reducing or eliminating roadblocks to social interaction and accomplishing desirable social goals”.
According to Balgopal & Vassili (1983) “Group Work include both improving the normal functioning and neutralizing the abnormal functioning of individuals”.
Sallie Bright (1955) defined “Group Work can address the two fold objectives of providing therapeutic services and also the political goal of strengthening democratic functioning”.
According to H. B. Trecker (1955) “Social Group Work is a method through which individuals in groups and in agency settings are helped by a worker who guides their interaction in programme activities so that they may relate themselves to others and experience growth opportunities in accordance with their needs and capacities to the end of the individual, group and community development”.
G. Konapka (1963) defined “Social Group Work is a method of social work which helps individuals to enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experiences and to cope more effectively with their personal, group or community problems”.
In view of Hamilton (1949) “Social Group work is a psychosocial process which is concerned no less than with developing leadership ability and co operation than with building on the interests of the group for a social purpose”.
Coyle (1954) defined “Group Work is used within group experience as a means to individual growth and development, and that the group worker is concerned in developing social responsibility and active citizenship for the improvement of democratic society”.
According to Wilson & Ryland (1949), “Group Work as a social process and a method through which group life is affected by a worker who consciously direct the interacting process toward the accomplishment of goals which are conceived in a democratic frame of reference”.
Social group worker does not concentrate on individual alone. It helps in educational development and cultural growth of the members of the groups. The worker is interested in helping the individuals through guided group interaction.
Aim and Objectives of the Group Work:
The success of the group work depends on the creative abilities, skill, and attitude of the worker. Workers conduct him in such a way as to enable to group to achieve its objectives. He plays as the role of helper, and enabler. Cementing force, keeping the group intact, and giving their activities proper direction with the help of group. Their further job is to stimulate the initiative, the group consciousness and self-direction in the group.
In the words of H.B. Trecker: “social group work is not only a matter of what the worker does but also a matter of how the worker does it and why does it that way. Truly, the key to social group work is the worker. The worker is an, ‘enabler’ rather than the ‘group leader’. They are interested in seeing to it that groups are helped to a greater independence and self reliance.”
Social group work has many objectives to help the individuals of the groups and community. The following are some of them:
In short, social group work provides a training ground for democratic life. Thus, social group work has proved equally beneficial to individuals, groups and community.
Goal/Purpose of the Group Work:
The broad objectives of the group work are similar to social work profession as a whole. Social group work tries to enrich community life by helping individual learn how to take responsibility for their own behavior and how to take to become participating members of the group. Thus the member of the group become socially mature and learns how to work as a team. The programmes must be based on social needs and support of the community. Participation in-group activities lead to their personal satisfaction and social advancement.
Group work seeks to provide opportunities for planned group experiences that are needed by all people. As a specialized technique, group work seeks to provide a group setting in place of old institutions like joint family and neighborhood etc. that once used to provide a healthy group life experience so essential for the development of an integrated personality.
Here the object of social group work is to provide a kind of experience in a controlled environment, which enables the members to participate freely and effectively in varying group situation. Social group provides a training ground for democratic life .The group members imbibe democratic values and get experience in conducting themselves in a democratic way. Democratic experience has educative and liberalizing effects on the participants, which is likely to make them democratic in outlook. Group work has a preventive aspect also. The problem of delinquency (criminal behavior) is most due to poor unhealthy conditions. So that it is important to start preventive programme in order to check the occurrence of several social problems. Group work activity is integral part of such programme. Prevention is better than cure. So group work has proved equally beneficial to individual, grouped and communities.
Functions of Group Work:
Principles of Social Group Work:
The group worker must understand the basic principles of social group work and must be guided by them in his professional practice. Principles are guiding statements that have come from experience or research. Their generalizations are based upon what has been observed good practice with groups in different situations. The purpose of these principles is to guide the group worker who needs knowledge of the individuals and groups’ behavior and social conditions as well as the ability to work efficiently with the group of people. H. B Trecker in his masterpiece “Social Group Work – Principles and Practice” has given the following principles of social group work:
1. Principle of planned group formation: The group is the basic unit through which individuals are helped to grow physically, socially, culturally and psychologically. The first task of the group worker is to form a group. The group workers should be aware about the needs and resources of the group and also their potentialities limitations and the cultural values of the areas.
2. Principle of helping or enabling function: The function of the group worker is helping or enabling function. So, he should solve his problems on self-help basis. The objective should be according to the wishes and capabilities and help them for the solution of their problems within their own resources through self-help basis.
3. Principle of purposeful relationship: Group work method requires the worker to form purposeful relationship with group members, which means that they should focus on the needs of the people, which are expressed by the members. We can achieve such relationship through self-knowledge and self disciplined.
4. Principle of organization: The organization of the group should be flexible, should be adjustable in various situations. It should change with the needs of the group and according to the change situations for the smooth function of the group.
5. Principle of self decision or planning: The group must be helped to make its own decision, its own planning and programmes and the members should take the responsibility according to their ability.
6. Principle of programme acceptance: the members of the group according to their capabilities, educational level, needs, experience and socio-economic level should accept Programme of the group. These programmes should progress in relation to the developing capacity of the group.
7. Principle of people: Without acceptance this programme by the people it cannot give the good results. The social group worker should convince the people to accept this programme, which is aimed at the solution of their felt needs. They people should accept the advice to solve their mutual respect and love increases the good relationships, which helps in understanding of social group worker and group and for the solution of the problems and for the development of the programme.
8. Principle of best utilization of resources: The group and community resources should be utilized in relation to the group and individual needs for the benefits of the group as a whole.
9. Principle of individualization: The individual should be convinced in a way that he should feel to contribute to the group welfare. However the individual and the group should feel for the development and new changes in the community.
10. Principle of evaluation: The continuous evaluation of the group work process and the progress is essential. The group worker should evaluate the progress in accordance with the prescribed standard. In Pakistan, social group work method is used incommunity centers, hospitals, and educational and other institutions. The principles of social group work can successfully apply not only in the limited fields but also in the larger fields of social welfare and even in working withother political, social and religious group.
In addition to the above principles given by H. B Trecker, other social science experts like Douglus & Tom has mentioned 14 Principles of Social Group Work. Terence J. Cooke in his book ‘Basic Principles of Social Group Work’ mentioned 4 Principles of Group Work and Walter A Friedlander in his book ‘Concepts and Methods of Social Work’ mentioned 10 principles of Social Group Work.
Characteristics of Social Group Work:
Group work is essential to work with a systematic plan having understanding, we feelings and concentration. Group workers are viewed as helping persons whose job is to help people by identifying her/his problem, skill and ability.
There are specific characteristics of group work which are distinct from those of the other methods of social work.
1. Group work makes use of multiple relationships and a multi-person process (worker to member, worker to group, member to member and member to group) whereas casework relies on the interview, a two-person process. The latter also sometimes utilises joint interviews as well when there are multiple clients in family casework in which case knowledge and use of group theory and dynamics are used.
2. The group is an instrument for meeting basic needs and strengthening human capacities. It promotes identification of participants with one another and provides freedom to relate as and when the client is ready for it.
3. A unique characteristic of group work is its use of programme media such as play, discussion, arts and crafts, music, dance, drama, role play, outings and parties which facilitate mastery of skills and serve as a vehicle for fostering human relationships.
4. Programme activities offer scope for utilisation of non-verbal communication, a particularly valuable tool for clients who cannot articulate their needs and problems.
5. Membership in the group, exposure to its influences, participation in its activities and acquisition of a role and status within it can have potent effects for individuals.
Skills of Social Group Worker:
The worker in the group have different role to play at a time, before starting an activity he must be aware the group dynamics, interaction, environment and interest of the group to achieve the set goal and objectives. For that, he must have some skill in hand in order to implant the project according the expectation of, first group and second the community for him/her if working.
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