SAMPLE EXCERPT:

INTERPRETATION OF STIMULUS

Mark and Albert were feeling like their needs weren't being addressed and that ample opportunity to share their needs was not a priority.

(3) A lull in the conversation then proceeded, after which I asked the group what steps they could take to reduce their stress levels at present.

VALUE ADDED OUTCOME

I hoped that by pausing a moment each of the group members would see how their individual actions and reactions had contributed to the stress and anxiety and help them realize certain positive actions could be taken to resolve the problems they were experiencing. I also hoped to cool the aggression that was brewing among the men in the group who felt their needs were neglected.

UNDERLYING PROPOSITIONS

"A tendency to over-react is often greater in work with groups than with individuals" (Wayne & Gitterman, 2003: 24).

"Feelings of loss may generate anxiety and regression over the breaking of bonds" (Berman-Rossi, 1993: 79).

"Members must achieve some measure of resolve about what they have achieved and must balance attending to their individual needs and the desire of others to be given to own this ending process" (Berman-Rossi, 1993: 79).

"Social workers recognize that their professional mission includes upholding behavioral standards, and setting limits on behavior that would be deemed unacceptable in the broader social environment" (Kuland & Salmon, 1993).

Worker action #4

STIMULUS

Cheryl was visibly upset at the turn of events and felt that her needs weren't being met, that the group had not recognized that her motivations for working were just and not selfish.

INTERPRETATION OF STIMULUS

I realized that Cheryl needed recognition of her hard work but also recognized that the group needed to understand that there were other ways of resolving stress and anxiety. I also hoped to turn the group toward a more forward and goal oriented way of thinking to promote resolution of the group's problems.

(4) I intervened by mentioning that sometimes working extra hours were not an option but necessary for some and that there were others ways of creating intimacy and reducing anxiety.

(5) I then suggested that it was important to create balance and that all partners shared an equal responsibility when creating this balance to help alleviate stress in the home and at work.

VALUE ADDED OUTCOME

My intent was helping the group come to a close by creating goal-oriented solutions that would help everyone achieve a less stressful interpretation of the week's events.

UNDERLYING PROPOSITIONS

'Understanding that this is the end of the work phase, the practitioner's central task is to help members clarify needs and gains, define remaining issues for attention an with members and labor towards satisfying those needs prior to ending the group session" (Berman-Rossi, 1993: 78).

"The group must evaluate its work, define any remaining task and realistically attend to whatever is still possible" (Berman-Rossi, 1993: 79).

"Over time, the group becomes a means of the member to make positive changes in their lives and to grow individually and as a group" (Wright, 1999: 32).

"The ending stage of a group cycle is characterized by openness and free and easy communication ... It is time for group members to stabilize the gains they have made, evaluate the experience and look ahead to new experiences" (Wright, 1999; Kurland, 1999).

SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS

Child abuse and neglect is an insidious problem affecting communities regardless of ethnic diversity, income, status or other factors. Interventions directed toward child abuse victims often work best when family-centered and child-driven. The interventions suggested for this case include a family-based system, community focused, child-driven and continuous learning based interventions.

The purpose of the interventions will include empowering families to make appropriate decisions to ensure the health and well being of the child at risk.

It became clear to me that Cheryl felt guilty about taking on an increasing workload, but that she also felt she had no choice in the matter. Her worries were centered on her guilt for neglecting her children and family. This is typical of clients who want to do the right thing but feel they have no choices. I could have done more to encourage greater recognition of the role of family systems in supporting a less stressful and more attentive environment. "The primary task of the social worker is to help the group evaluate work accomplished, define remaining tasks and complete as much of the outstanding work as possible ... The professional must help the group let go and move forward" (Berman-Rossi, 1993: 79).

I feel that the group session was successful in that group members began to realize how their roles and actions influenced one another and how the outcome of any situation is as much contingent on the participation of individuals members of a family unit as it is the unit working together to achieve a particular outcome.

References:

Berman-Rossi, T. (1993). "The tasks and skills of the social worker across stages of group development." Social Work with Groups: 26(1/2): pp. 70-81.

Duffy, T. (1994). "The check in and other go-rounds in group work: Guidelines for use."

Social Work With Groups, 17(1/2): 163- 174.

Gazda, G., Ginter, E. & Herne, A. (2001). Group counseling and group psychotherapy.

New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Kurland, R. & Salmon, R. (1993). "Not just one of the gang: Group workers and their role as an authority." Social Work with Groups, 16(1/2): 153-169.

Kurland, R. (1999). "Stages of Group Development: Beginning, middle,…