Attending the first meeting of a therapy group can be an intimidating experience. Every member of the group is having difficulties in some area of his or her life and now needs professional help. It does not matter if the group members are voluntary or involuntary; it still can feel scary to share problems with individuals who are essentially strangers. That is why strong leadership at the first meeting is so important. The clinical social worker’s role is to create a safe and comfortable environment for everyone. Using introduction strategies is helpful, but understanding how to assess and handle the uncomfortable situations is critical. This is a time when strong clinical skills are necessary so that certain members do not destroy the cohesion and possible clinical success of the intervention.
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Chapter 7, “The Group Begins” (pp. 197–230)
Chapter 8, “Assessment” (pp. 230-263)
Schimmel, C. J., & Jacobs, E. (2011). When leaders are challenged: Dealing with involuntary members in groups. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 36(2), 144–158.
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013a). Bradley (Episode 1) [Video file]. In Sessions. Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.
Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptCredit: Provided courtesy of the Laureate International Network of Universities.
Holosko, M. J., Dulmus, C. N., & Sowers, K. M. (2013). Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Chapter 3 “Assessment of Adolescents”
Chapter 4 “Intervention with Adolescents”
Involuntary members have been ordered to attend a group in exchange for some reward. Many times, this is a result of judicial system intervention. Often, these members are not interested in participating and getting to know others. The clinical social worker must understand the potential issues or problems that arise within a group of involuntary members and ways to address these issues. It can be especially difficult to create a sense of empowerment when these members have been mandated to attend.
For this Discussion, pay particular attention to the Schimmel & Jacobs (2011) piece.
Post your description of the strategies for working with involuntary group members presented in the Schimmel & Jacobs (2011) article. Describe ways you agree and/or disagree with their strategies. How might you handle the situations presented in the article differently? Explain ways these strategies promote empowerment.
Respond to a colleague who presents a different point of view on these strategies than you.
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Week 8 Discussion Rubric
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Week 8 Discussion
Group therapy is one of the most successful interventions for adolescents. This is because of the nature of this stage of development and the need to belong to a group. Hearing the stories of other teens and knowing that their experiences and feelings are similar is very therapeutic. Another characteristic of the adolescent stage is a short attention span, so the clinical social worker should tailor exercises that initiate and sustain discussion for adolescents.
For this Assignment, watch the “Bradley” video.
In a 2- to 4-page paper, identify two opening exercises that you might recommend for a group of adolescent girls who were victims of human trafficking.
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