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  • Subsequent to our group role play session, members from our class acting as observers provided feedback. The feedback provided about our group’s session was generally positive. Based on the feedback received, our session was very informative and engaging. Group members conveyed welcoming body language and tone, active listening and good eye contact and hand gestures. Moreover, there was good elaboration of general information including group goals and rules.

Subsequent to our group role play session, members from our class acting as observers provided feedback. The feedback provided about our group’s session was generally positive. Based on the feedback received, our session was very informative and engaging. Group members conveyed welcoming body language and tone, active listening and good eye contact and hand gestures. Moreover, there was good elaboration of general information including group goals and rules. Essay Example

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Social Work and Groups Personal Reflection

Part 1: Role Play

In preparation for the group role play task, we meet after every tutorial session. In order to perfect our session, we also met outside class time on several occasions. All group members actively participated during the preparatory stage. Our group’s role play task involved a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) session for male adolescents with anger management issues. Since our therapy session employed CBT, our session had to be goal-oriented and based on a set of systematic procedures that aim at realising desirable behavioural outcomes (Hofmann, 2011). The main objectives of this session was to; provide insight on anger and demonstrate suitable strategies and skills that can be used to deal with anger particularly among male adolescents. This session also sought to support and empower group members to learn more about themselves and their feelings. The skills and strategies demonstrated in the course of this session are evidenced-based and can be used beyond this context and are transferable for day to day life situations. In the course of this session, a number of resources were used. Some of the key resources used include; whiteboard, name tags, a ball for icebreaking, pens, treats (chocolate) and booklet about the PCYC agency and therapy session among others.

Prior to the session, chairs were placed in a circle format in to enhance engagement among participants during the session. We set aside adequate time for dialogue between the client and facilitator. We clearly outlined the roles of each group member. The roles were assigned based on the knowledge and capabilities of each member. Our group’s role play therapy session was divided into three phases namely; introduction, middle and the conclusion phase. I and one member of our group facilitated the introduction phase which lasted for an average of 25 minutes. During this phase, we defined anger, illustrated the purpose and goals of this therapy session, the group rules and affirmed the importance of confidentiality. In order to enhance client participation and engagement we also carried out an icebreaker (Zastrow, 2009).

The subsequent phase was facilitated by two other group members. One member took up the role of a client while the other acted as the facilitator. The group member acting as the facilitator, explored and evaluated the client’s anger issues. She explored feelings associated with anger through an iceberg activity. Possible strategies that can be used to manage anger were also explored in the course of this phase. Following this phase, client and facilitator roles were alternated. During the last phase of the session, an evaluation was carried out. The evaluation process mainly involved a group discussion and verbal feedback from the group members who took up the roles of a client. Moreover, an evaluation form was also provided as part of the resource booklet. An opportunity for anonymous feedback and evaluation was also provided to group members by providing a “suggestion box”. Group members facilitating each phase of the session employed attending and listening skills which helped to create a positive rapport not only with the client but also with those observing. Skills demonstrated by the facilitators during the sessions included; active listening, attending and encouraging, paraphrasing and summarizing skills. These communication skills helped to facilitate the session and enhanced client engagement (Demarco, 2001; Hepworth & Rooner, 2009).

Subsequent to our group role play session, members from our class acting as observers provided feedback. The feedback provided about our group’s session was generally positive. Based on the feedback received, our session was very informative and engaging. Group members conveyed welcoming body language and tone, active listening and good eye contact and hand gestures. Moreover, there was good elaboration of general information including group goals and rules.

References

Demarco, J. (2001). Adolescent Group Facilitator’s Guide. Minnesota: Hazelden Publishing

Hepworth, D. & Rooner, R. (2009). Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills. New York: Cengage Learning

Hofmann S.G. (2011). An Introduction to Modern CBT. Psychological Solutions to Mental Health Problems. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell

Zastrow, C. (2009). The Practice of Social Work: A Comprehensive Worktext. London: Cengage Learning.

Part 2: Personal Reflection on Group Work

Generally, the social work and groups course has in the past few weeks provided invaluable insights on group work within the social work context. In addition, this course provided opportunities to practice and demonstrate practical skills and competencies pertaining to assessment, engagement and intervention with individuals and groups. As part of our course work, we were required to undertake a group role play in form of a therapy session for male adolescents with anger management using cognitive behavioural therapy. This approach is goal-oriented and based on a set of systematic procedures that aim at realising desirable behavioural outcomes (Gonzalez-Prendes & Brisebois, 2012; Hofmann, 2011). The group facilitation was to be divided into three stages namely; introduction, middle session and the conclusion session. Each phase is was to be co-facilitated by two members. In total each group was to have a total of six members.

Personally, I consider working in groups to be beneficial but at the same time challenging. In most cases, groups comprise of individuals of different genders, cultural backgrounds, personalities, beliefs, behaviour, skills, views experiences and perspectives. When these diversities are managed and channelled appropriately, they can be beneficial. According to Forsyth (2009), diversities within a group can result to better decision making, better problem solving, increased innovation or creativity. This can in turn contribute to enhanced performance and productivity. Similarly, the standpoint theory holds that, diversities within a group draw out different perspectives that challenge status quo since the views constructed are different from those upheld by groups that are homogenous (Allen, 1995). However, in as much as diversities within a group can be beneficial that can also bring about conflicts and slow down the overall productivity of the group (Forsyth 2009).

Based on previous experiences working in groups, it became evident that it is much easier to work in groups where members know each other or are atleast acquainted with each other’s personalities, behaviour or perspective. However, for this group work task things were a bit different. Rather than each person choosing the people they want to work with, the lecturer personally grouped each student into groups of six. The lecturer also allocated each group a client group that they are to focus on during the role play therapy sessions. Our group was assigned the “children and young people” client group. It was a bit awkward being put in a group without having the option to choose who to work with since I have never experienced it before.

During our first group session, I was a bit apprehensive since I didn’t know anyone in our group. However, most members in our group knew each other since they had taken the same classes for over a year. I felt I was an outsider since I was placed in a group which had already been formed.

Nevertheless, our interactions in the course of this assignment largely reflected stages of group development postulated in Bruce Tuckman’s model of group development. According to this model, there are four stages of group development namely; forming, storming, norming and performing. In the first stage “forming”, group members in most cases exchange information and get to know each other. Tuckman further argues that during this stage, group members tend to show high dependence on leader for guidance and direction. Moreover, it is expected that during this stage clear goals and expectations for the group are set (Tuckman, 1965; Zastrow, 2009). In our group, I felt that I was the only member excluded in the forming stage since the other entire group members had known and interacted with each other in the previous classes. During the initial group meeting, we didn’t have any introductions, neither did we choose a group leader or set any goals and expectations for the group. In the course of this session, we basically brainstormed on the requirements of the assignments and the specific client group to focus on. One group member suggested that we focus on anger management for male adolescents as she has been part of a similar group during her previous field practicum. All group members agreed and we decided to base our role play task on anger management among male adolescents. Since communication is important in the proper functioning of a group, I suggested that group members should exchange contact details such as phone number and emails so we can stay in touch, share ideas and resources. All the members in the group agreed. One of our group members also created a Facebook page for our group so we can conveniently communicate and have discussions pertaining to the assignment.

Generally, our first group session was productive. However, there are certain issues that we overlooked. For instance, we did not set specific objectives or expectations for the group. Shaw (2005) argues that in order for a group to be effective, it is important to establish clear purpose, goals and expectations for the group. We also did not choose a group leader to provide direction and facilitate the group sessions.

Following our first group session, we agreed to have group meetings each week. Nevertheless in the following weeks, group attendance was somewhat daunting. Every week one or more member failed to attend the group discussion. This was a major drawback since everyone’s attendance and contribution was essential for the group’s progress. In the subsequent group meeting, I brought relevant resources and reviewed them together as a group. We then agreed that each member should find at least a relevant resource either journal article or information from existing organisation running similar groups so we can have significant pool of information to drawn on while preparing for the role play session. Absent members were notified about this through the group’s Facebook page.

During our next group meeting, I was somewhat disappointed to find out that most members who were present had not found any relevant resource that we could use for our task. The few who found relevant resources had not read them. So they were not in a position to brief the group. In the subsequent group meetings, the same trend was repeated. I began to feel frustrated since we were not making any significant progress. I decided to become vocal about the challenges facing our group. I believe at this point, our group was at the “storming stage”. This stage generally involves problem solving and addressing issues within the group (Tuckman, 1965; Zastrow, 2009). In order to address the challenges facing our group, I suggested that we should set a timeframe for completing every task. I also suggested that we should establish a suitable time to meet outside class time so we can work towards our role play. However, I received very strong resistance from one particular group member who did not think it was necessary to meet outside class time as we have plenty of time during class. After almost one hour of deliberation, we agreed to set a time frame for completing every task and meet outside class time to work towards our role play session.

Following the “storming stage”, I believed that our group entered the “norming stage”. This is where group members overlook their personal interests and views and begin to do what is best for the team (Tuckman, 1965; Zastrow, 2009). In the following group session, we allocated to each group member specific role play parts. Our role play session was to be divided into three parts namely; introduction, middle phase and the end phase. Each phase was to be co-facilitated as per our assessment guidelines. One member and I, were allocated the introduction phase. Although we were in the norming phase of the group, we still experienced several challenges. For instance, as time went by we were still making very little progress. We seemed to be dwelling too much on what icebreakers to use. Some group members were also complacent and contributed very little to the group’s progress. Nevertheless, I and a few group members decided to take the initiative and do our best to complete the task successfully. We researched and found relevant YouTube clips on how to run groups and posted them on Facebook so that other members can view and discuss as a group.

In the final week leading to the group presentation, I was surprised at how proactive and motivated every group member became. I don’t know whether it was the deadline pressure but our group seemed to be in the “performance stage” where members work cohesively to achieve the set team objectives and goals (Tuckman, 1965; Zastrow, 2009). We deliberated and agreed that the outline of our session will include; introducing ourselves, confidentiality, group rules, group goals, icebreaker, discuss content of program and evaluation. Subsequently, we began practicing the role play. Initially, most of our group members were nervous but the more they internalised and practiced their roles, the more they became confident (White, 2009).

Generally working on this group task was challenging nevertheless, it provided invaluable learning experiences. Through this experience, I learnt that leadership is paramount in order to realise success. A group leader not only plays an important role in facilitating the group activities but also provides direction and guidance to group members. A group leader also ensures that the group has clear and specific goals and guides members towards the realisation of these goals (Shaw, 2005). By reflecting on Tuckman’s theory on team development, I also realised that since the other group member had known each other and had worked together before, they had already formed their own group culture mainly characterised by complacency and doing things at the last minute. Therefore, as an outsider it was a bit difficult for me to understand and adjust to how they work. Despite of the problems and resistance in the initial stages of the group, in the end I believe I formed a good rapport with some members.

References

Allen, B. (1995). «Diversity and Organizational Communication». Journal of Applied Communication Research 23 (2): 143–155.

Forsyth, D. (2009). Group Dynamics. London: Cengage Learning.

Gonzalez-Prendes, A. & Brisebois, K. (2012). ‘Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and Social Work Values: A Critical Analysis’. Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, 9 (2), 21-32.

Hofmann S.G. (2011). An Introduction to Modern CBT. Psychological Solutions to Mental Health Problems. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell

Shaw, K.A. (2005). The Intentional Leader. New York: Syracuse University Press.

Tuckman, B. (1965). ‘Developmental sequence in small groups’. Psychological Bulletin 63(6):384-399.

White, A. (2009). From Comfort Zone to Performance Management. New York: White & MacLean Publishing

Zastrow, C. (2009). The Practice of Social Work: A Comprehensive Worktext. London: Cengage Learning.