Group Case Study Assignment 1
SWK 522-Reference: Chapter 3: Understanding Group Dynamics. Chapter 4: Leadership. Chapter 8: Assessment– Toseland, R. W. & Rivas, R. F. (2017) An introduction to group work practice. (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson
Answer these questions and reference Chapter 3, 4, & 8 INCLUDE PAGE NUMBERS.
Beth is a social worker at a community mental health program in a large city. She provides individual and group therapy in an outpatient mental health program. In addition to mental health and substance abuse problems, most of Beth’s clients have anger management issues and have spent time in prison. The purpose of the program is to help clients to alleviate and/or cope with co-morbid mental health and substance abuse problems and their tempers that have contributed to their committing crimes. One of the groups that Beth leads is for female offenders with histories of violent behavior. The group consists of ten members. Beth prefers her groups to have eight members, yet even though these clients are mandated by the legal system to attend all treatment requirements, including group, rarely do all members show up. The group has met five times so far. On most days between five and seven women attend and a core of five members has attended each of the first five sessions. Beth starts each week by asking the women how they are doing, and if anyone would like to share what happened during their week. She believes that this helps members to take ownership for their own treatment. For the past two weeks, members have not spoken in response to her invitation. By picking up on nonverbal cues, Beth believes that Carol wants to share, but that something is stopping her. She remembers a few weeks ago, when Carol was sharing an emotionally charged issue from her past (incest), that she immediately stopped in the middle of her story. When she stopped, she averted her eyes from one side of the group. One of the members of the group appeared to be staring at her very intently, with a smile on her face that Beth and other group members noticed. Beth, a young, white social worker decided to conduct a check in go round to see how the members were doing, to get them to share at least some information, and to break what she perceived to be tension in the room. Beth decided to start the go round with Mary so that it ended on Luisa, the Latina woman who had been staring so intently at Carol while she spoke about her childhood. Beth asked the members to rate how they were feeling and doing this past week, on a scale from one to ten, ten being fantastic, one being terrible. The majority of the women in the group reported numbers between 3 and 6. However, Janelle an African American woman who suffers from bipolar disorder reported a 2. Luisa reported a nine. When the go around stopped, Beth asked Janelle if she would like to share about why she scored her week so low. Scanning the group to gauge the responses of the members, Beth noticed that several members were looking at Luisa, and that they were shifting uncomfortably in their chairs. Janelle seemed to look at Luisa before deciding if she wanted to share or not. Luisa said, “I don’t think we should focus on people who had bad weeks. I had a great week, and I want to talk about it. Why do we always have to focus on the garbage? I mean, I had a messed up week in some ways, but that’s life, why should we talk about it, you know.” Beth thanked Luisa for speaking up, and told her that she understood her feelings about discussing negative events. These could be very painful to share, yet she believed that sometimes people needed to get things off their chest, or get feedback about things so they can be changed. Tomika, a young African American woman with a history of being sexually abused, started to laugh uncontrollably. She said that she had the funniest thing happen to her during the week, and something Jill said had reminded her of this. She started to get up from her chair and began to do an impression of a friend. Carol began to cry and Luisa started to get up and leave the group. Beth asked for everyone to sit down. She said that she understood that the group was going through a difficult period, and that it was important to figure out what was going on. She asked the group if they would take a few minutes to sit in silence so that “we could try to get ourselves together.” Jill and Tomika sat down and the group slipped into momentary silence.
After having read chapter 3 and 4 in your text and having completed the previous exercise on group dynamics, take a few minutes to write down your observations of the group dynamics.
Answer the following questions in APA format to help guide you in your assessment
1. What are the communication and interaction patterns in the group?
2. Describe the group’s cohesion.
3. Describe the norms of the group.
4. Describe the rules of the group.
5. Discuss the various roles different group members play.
6. Discuss status hierarchies that may be operating.
7. How would you describe the culture of the group?
8. What did Beth do well as the leader of the group? What needs improvement?
9. How do you think that ethnicity/race may have affected the development and current functioning of the group?
10. What would it be like to lead such a group?
11. What would you do differently?
Group Case Study Assignment 1