· Share an example of a group experience and the general effect that it had on your life. This can include your experiences in a peer group, task group, sports team, social work class, etc.
· What were the highlights of the group experience for you?
· Were there specific things that you became aware of about yourself, your attitudes, and your relationship with others?
· What impact did the group leader’s style have on you?
This is based on chapter 7 of the book, Groups and Formal Organizations.
Student 1. Sharon Allen
I have had several experience to work in a group setting, initially when I was introduced to a group setting I was very resistant and felt it was a waste of time. As I realized that the course of study I had signed up for had several group settings that were mandatory, I had to adapt to my fate. Learning about groups and been a participant wasn’t as bad as I thought and I have learnt to be accepting and make major contributions to the group dynamics. The dynamics have had a very positive impact on how I interact with the other participants and it has also allowed me to share and be corrected as well as expanded my knowledge on particular topics.
The ability to participate in a group settings has allowed me to examine my knowledge base and has encouraged me to read more because I want to be able to actively participate in the subjects been discussed as well as make valuable contributions to the topics or to help add depth to the task assigned to us. It has also changed my attitude to been more caring and utilization of my listening skills. It has also changed my relationship with others for a more positive and receptive one. Before groups, I used to just attend class and not know who my classmates were; now I am able to identify them anywhere on campus as well as form friendships outside of the classroom.
As to the style of the leader, it was their style as a facilitator that impressed me the most. They directed the group topic and would allow participants to freely interact but at the same time controlled the group in such a manner that the conversations flowed but not allowing anyone to dominate the floor. I like how they would engage and pull back to allow participants/members to share but also making sure every member was able to participate and contribute, no matter how minute the contributions were.
Student 2. Shanna Cortez
Group work, no matter how small or large, has always been a source of anxiety for me. I’m introverted and always felt uncomfortable speaking in group settings and always shared the most minimal of information during group exercises. I knew that this was an area that I’d need to work as a first year student and remember even highlighting in my application essay that I felt Silberman would provide me a safe environment in which to do so. However, as much as I was prepared to do group work in my classes, it had never crossed my mind that I’d be doing group work at my field placement.
In the little bit of time that I’ve been there I’ve learned that my agency loves meetings. We have weekly clinical meetings, monthly meetings with our tenants, and biweekly meetings about this new client based cognitive behavior program that was recently implemented plus the occasional meeting centered around a specific social work topic. Upon learning that I was expected to attend and participate in all these meetings, I felt panicked and intimidated. For the first weeks I listened, but contributed nothing to the conversation. The staff exhibited a group cohesiveness that was intimidating to me and I was very aware of my out group intern status and felt that anything I’d say would be too trite or basic.
Last week was the first time that I felt confident enough to contribute during one of our meetings. The discussion was about bias and how it affects our clients and how social workers need to be aware of their own bias’. This topic reminded me about a lot of the material that we’ve been studying this semester and I found myself sharing and using points from class in my arguments. I still felt nervous doing so, but felt that I’d really pushed myself in this group setting for the first time. This meeting also marked the first time that we paired off for certain parts of the discussion and I noticed that I enjoy small group work where it’s maybe just me and 2-3 other people at most. I also realized that the other group members were receptive to my feedback and found me funny at points where I made a joke that applied to our discussion. I’d built these other group members up in my head to a degree that was stifling and letting go of that image I had of them helped me to find my voice and view them as colleagues and not just more experienced social work professionals.
I feel that I owe a lot of my growth to my supervisor and program director. Both are great leaders and even before the group exercise above I’ve always felt comfortable speaking and sharing my ideas, fears, questions etc. with them one on one. They’re great communicators and easy going. They don’t take themselves too seriously and aren’t rigid or too authoritative when presenting information or speaking with staff. They also recognize that we all bring different strengths to the agency and are encouraging and kind when asking me or another staff member to lead a discussion. They’ve also told me repeatedly that while I’m a student and inexperienced, I should realize that there will be times when I formally or informally teach them something new or make them think about something in a new way. They allow me to feel empowered and I need to remember that whenever I feel anxious about doing group work.
- Brief Contents
- Detailed Contents
- Case Studies
- Part I A Multidimensional Approach for Multifaceted Social Work
- 1 Human Behavior: A Multidimensional Approach
- 2 Theoretical Perspectives on Human Behavior
- Part II The Multiple Dimensions of Person
- 3 The Biological Person
- 4 The Psychological Person: Cognition, Emotion, and Self
- 5 The Psychosocial Person: Relationships, Stress, and Coping
- 6 The Spiritual Person
- Part III The Multiple Dimensions of Environment
- 7 The Physical Environment
- 8 Culture
- 9 Social Structure and Social Institutions: Global and National
- 10 Families
- 11 Small Groups
- 12 Formal Organizations
- 13 Communities
- 14 Social Movements
- About the Author
- About the Contributors