Social Work with Groups

This course provides an overview of the fundamental theories and practice of working with different types of group, including therapeutic, task and action groups. Students will explore issues related to group development and process. Special attention is given to issues related to leadership, power, teamwork and collective ways of working together. Through a combination of reflective, didactic and experiential learning activities, students will be encouraged to explore their own interpersonal behaviours and those of others in a group context. The activities focus on interpersonal communication skills, feedback and self disclosure skills and intervention techniques. Leadership, therapeutic boundaries and ethical guidelines for group work practice are also examined.


1.    To present an overview of social work practice with groups, with emphasis on practice contexts in both rural and urban locations.
2.    To identify the goals and techniques of different types of groups, including
therapeutic, task and social action groups.
3.  To develop with your peers the planning & group presentation of a major
paper to  the  larger class and instructor.
4  To provide the opportunity to plan and facilitate at least one group.
5.  To develop skills in observing and assessing a group.
6.  To identify and build your own practice wisdom in an anti-discriminatory
approach to leading groups.
7.    To develop skills in reflective practice for social work with groups.
8.    To experience transformative learning ( beyond transmissional learning).


Text: McKinlay, L. & Ross, H. (2008)

“You &Others: Reflective Practice for Group Effectiveness in Human
Services”, Pearson Education, Canada.


The Reflection Summary Paper is written and submitted to instructor after you have “reflected” on your experiences in the required 10 course groups for your Reflection Portfolio assignment.

Your Reflection Summary Paper should include an overall summary of your experience in your 10 groups, including your insights, personal changes, what you have learned about group process, planning and facilitating groups etc. You will need to carefully review your 5 Reflection Sheets and 5 Group Behaviour Practice Recording sheets to effectively complete this assignment.

Your Reflection Summary Paper should be 8-10 typed pages, double spaced. Use the following topics, themes and questions to create an outline for the Reflection Summary.

Please use the following subheadings

A.      Do you notice any patterns as you review your reflection sheets
1.  describe your behaviour patterns
2.  describe the behaviour patterns of other group members
in general terms ( no names to be used)

B.        Participation
1.    in what specific ways did you participate in groups
2.    is there anything specific about how you did not participate

C.        Looking at your Home Group across the semester
1.  What changes did you report across time in your own behaviour,

2.  what evidence do you find in your reflection sheets about the
way in which your group did or did not become cohesive,
(example, group could not resolve a central conflict.)

D.        Group Learning
1.  what did you learn from the overall group Home Group dynamics?
2.  about others?
3.  about yourself?
4.  about small group process interaction?
5.  what can be inferred from your reflection sheets about how others
saw you?
6. observations about power, leadership, group decision making styles,
group stages.

E.        What differences did you observe in how you and your peers
behaved in the  4 Task groups vs. facilitated groups. Use compare
and contrast terminology, concepts learned in class ( readings,
lectures, text etc.)

F.        what experiences will you take from your group experience that will
influence you as a Social Worker in your future career.

An example of a group meeting:

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