Social work helps link people to the services that they need to help them improve their lives. It is important for social workers to abide by the same standards. There are standards for social work with groups practice that are proven to effectively help social workers and their clients while working in groups. There are five standards that can be classified by core values and core knowledge.
Core values are fundamental for social work group practice because it outlines social worker’s beliefs and how they should conduct themselves while working in groups. Group workers should respect each member in their group. During group consultations, social workers, group members, and agency directors cannot use their privileges against each other. Social workers encourage group members to value the contributions made by the other group members so everyone’s ideas can be heard and considered. In addition to this, social work principles require social workers to influence their group members in a positive way. Social workers should not discriminate against any of their clients based on their culture, gender, ethnicity, age, physical and mental disabilities, and sexual orientation.
Group workers use their core knowledge about social problems, social policies and programs, the social work profession, and social work practice theories to serve their group. Social workers should be knowledgeable about how environmental factors can affect an individual in their group and the other group members. Group members social identities can be influenced by their families, their culture, their social environment, and politics. Group workers and group members work together to help each other make positive lifestyle changes. Social workers assess each members’ strengths and weaknesses, and the worker must report any risk factors that may put the client in danger. Social workers need to be culturally competent and they should know how to work with diverse populations effectively.
Group members help each other accomplish their individual goals and group goals. As the group evolves, the individual in the group will have the power to act on their own behalf and for the group. Social workers and group members can work towards achieving individual goals, group developmental goals, and social equality. Norms, roles, communication, and interaction patterns influence how individuals behave as well as the development of the group. The purpose and goals of the group will determine how the social worker will use their skills to facilitate the group, and it determines how the group members will achieve their goals. Group workers should be knowledgeable about the stages of group development, the group members’ disposition, and the skills that social workers should utilize during each stage. Social workers should use current research and practice principles to effectively work with their group members.
Group workers must observe and evaluate the progress of the group by making sure that the group is meeting their goals. They should keep confidential records about the groups operations and their results. In addition to this, social workers should stay informed about research on groups and educate other people about it. Engaging in reflective practice helps social workers get critique from a supervisor about how they can strengthen their practice.
During group work in the beginning phase, social workers and their group members create a contract that outlines the tasks and goals that the group wants to accomplish. Social workers will identify the groups purpose and define the roles of the social worker and group members. The group will discuss confidentiality and why it is important to keep the group discussions private. Group workers will support the group members by helping them determine their individual goals and their group goals. Members of the group will learn how their individual goals can help benefit the groups goals. While working with a domestic violence group, social workers and the group members may decide that the first task they want to complete is finding a safe shelter for them to stay at. Some of the goals that the domestic violence group may want to accomplish is serving the health and safety needs of the victims, holding the offenders accountable, and raising more awareness in the community ( ).
Social workers encourage their group members to participate in the group by allowing them to share their opinions and ask questions. In addition to this, social workers should ask their group members to evaluate the groups progress and give suggestions about how to improve the dynamic of the group. Furthermore, social workers need to be knowledgeable about the skills that they should use to work with mandated group members. Group workers assist their group members by helping them foster positive relationships with each other in order to promote group unity. The group workers need to provide a safe environment for the group members to openly discuss their stories and concerns.
Group work in the middle phase requires social workers to help their group members focus on their individual and group goals. Social workers help the group members understand how their individual goals are helping them meet their group goals. New programs and activities will be suggested by the social worker to help the group members accomplish their individual and group goals. If complications occur that might stop the progress of an individual member meeting their goals, the social worker will schedule time to meet with them outside of the group. Social workers should be attentive to each member’s cultural needs, physical needs, mental health needs, and language differences.