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INTRODUCTION.

Social work as a profession has its own history of responding to the need of the
society and the environment with its own tools and techniques. Today it is a much
more dynamic and a scientific process with a lot more understanding of the socio-
economic and political dynamics of the individuals, groups and the community. Social
work today has shifted from welfare perspective to developmental perspective, and
right based perspective.

SOCIAL GROUP WORK.


Before defining group work we should have the understanding of a group which
generally is a social system consisting of two or more individuals. But in the broader
sense it has been defined, “a group is two or more individuals in a relationship of
psychic interaction, whose relationship with one another may be abstracted and
distinguished from their relationship with all others so that they may be thought of as
an entity.” Eubank, 1932.
Thus a group is a social system consisting of two or more persons who stand in
status and role relationship with one another and processing a set of norms or values
which regulate the attitude and behavior of the individual in matters of consequence to
the work. A group is also a statement of relationship among persons, therefore social
systems have structure and some degree of stability, interaction, reciprocity,
interdependence and group bond.

“Social group work is a method through which individuals in a group and social
agency setting are helped by a worker who guides their interaction in programme
activities so that they may relate themselves to others and experience growth
opportunities in accordance with their needs and capabilities to the end of individual,
group and community development.” (H.B. Trecker).
Thus group work builds up a certain attitude towards each other which makes
them help one another in moving towards a better future. Many a times individual
shortcomings are overcome with the help of the group support and makes the
individuals more positive towards attaining his and the groups betterment. So the
group in itself is seen as an entity, not separate from its members.
Group work is a process of meeting both the group, individual and societies
need as a whole, as it cannot be seen out of its social, political and economic context.
Group work is interested in furthering individual adjustment, using deliberately
formed groups. It believes that individuals need acceptance and sense of security in
relation with others and provides the same through planned group experience.
PLANNING FOR GROUP WORK USING KURLANDS MODEL.
A model is a conceptual design to solve a problem that exists in reality. A model
describes various phenomenon’s, from understanding to goal in a theoretical way and
defines the related practice. Various models developed have given stability to group
work as a social work method.
Kurland’s model consists of eight components of planning which is meant to
direct and guide the social work practitioner to plan to serve the group. The whole
model is designed both for pre-determined and undetermined groups. The model
guides the workers thoughts throughout the planning stage. It presents the areas for the
workers consideration, decision and action.
The components: -
1. Social context- it refers to the influences from the larger social and political
environment that affects the delivery of services to clients.
2. Agency Context- it refers to the conditions existent in the agency or the host
setting that may have an impact on workers actions and the group that is
being formed.
3. Need- need refers to individual and social wants, drives, problems, issues,
and/or areas of concern that can be expected to exist universally for people
in the target population as they function socially and, more specifically, that
exist among persons in the particular target population the worker has in
mind as potential members of the group he is planning.
4. Purpose- purpose refers to the ends towards which the group is formed. It
encompasses both the ends and the objectives that the group will pursue
collectively (the group purpose) and the hopes, expectations, and objectives
that each member holds for the group (individual goals).
5. Composition- composition refers to the numbers and characteristics of both
members and workers who will participate in the group.
6. Structure- the concrete arrangement that the worker makes to facilitate the
conduct of the group.
7. Content- content refers to the means that will be used to achieve the groups
purpose. It encompasses what is done in the group, how it is done and why it
is done.
8. Pre-group contact- it refers to the securing of appropriate members for the
group being planned and to their preparation for participation.
Group Context.
The student worker is working with a male youth group comprising of
14members, of the age group 16-25yrs. These fourteen members live in group homes
supported by the agency and are actively related to the organization and are in the
group process of ‘bringing them successfully to the main stream of the society’.
The group members were all living in the streets before participating in the
project of the agency. Most of them had come away from their homes at a very young
age in search of work to Mumbai, and coming here they got trapped into the vicious
circle of homelessness in the streets of Mumbai where every day was a nightmare for
them. The social exclusion the harassment from the law and the traumatic situations
had almost made them negative towards life. At this point of their life they were
brought into the process of the agency by its outreach workers and their own will.
Gradually they got trained and prepared for a life in the mainstream society i.e.,
having a regular job and a shelter to live.
The group members are currently staying in group homes under the supervision
of the agency, where they have to lead a life among each other as a family. They have
their own roles and duties and have regular meetings and reviews with the agency.
This is from where the student has tried to intervene into the group, he has the role of
observing the gradual changes in the lives of the members and try to facilitate a better
opportunity to the group members to come into the main stream.

SOCIAL CONTEXT.
In the social context the group has a ‘negative identity’ of being antisocial and
perverts. The society always treats them as miscreants but always utilize them for the
lowliest jobs such as cleaning up corpses; washing sewerages etc, in the political front
the groups of homeless youths are non-existent; there is no any government policy or
act to bring them out from this vicious cycle of homelessness. The law also has no
measures to protect them from atrocities and most of the times make them the
scapegoat. The group also has very less economic opportunities to sustain themselves.
They because of their negative identity most of the times are not hired by people who
cannot confide in them.
Fig. vicious cycle of homelessness.

AGENCY CONTEXT.
The agency works with a right based approach to bring out the group members
out of the ‘vicious circle of homelessness’. Housing, identity and economic
alternatives are to be provided to the group members so that they can bring themselves
out of this position. The main problem according to the agency is the homelessness of
the youths for which they have a lack of identity and has to lead their lives in the
streets. They get a negative identity from the society due to the shabby leaving
standards and is much traumatized everywhere, by the law by the peer group by the
civil society as a result of which they gradually tend towards substance abuse to seek
relief from all the traumas.

NEED.
The need of the group is to have their very basic needs of food, clothing and
shelter regularly. To have a proper job with enough emoluments to sustain themselves
and also afford for a shelter to stay, to fill their stomach with at least two square meals
of food. The group members also need the psycho- social support to as a part of the
society.
PURPOSE.
The purpose of the group is to take them out of the vicious cycle of
homelessness and to support them to stand on their own feet with a house to stay, a job
to earn and a self identity in the society. The group purpose is also to make them
realize their own worth and the value of their lives so that they can emerge from the
negativeness of their past life. The group also tries to inculcate in them the required
skills and discipline to take themselves out of the vicious cycle of homelessness.
COMPOSITION.
The group comprises of fourteen members of the age group of 16-25 yrs. all of
them are male members and everyone is in the process of their own jobs and currently
attending the group sessions held by the group worker.
The group is an open ended one it is possible for new members to come through
the process of rehabilitation and reach the group stage of the group home, members
can even go out of this group after successfully completing the whole process.
STRUCTURE. The group worker has a planned out activity base to facilitate the
group members.

CONTENT.
The group will use different types of programmes and session to enhance the
whole group process. The worker would apply participatory process, skill
enhancement programme, cost and quality incentives training, short term full time
shelter, identity proofs, savings facilities etc,.
PRE-GROUP CONTACT.
The student met the group members through regular meetings and visits to the
group home, with the worker of the agency.

GROUP PROCESS IN CONTEXT TO THE SYSTEMS THEORY.


“Theory becomes influential throughout the process of social work as a profession.
Theory in social work provides a means of understanding social structure, social
processes and the ways in which people and organizations interact and connect with
the larger society”.

a. SYSTEMS THEORY-
The systems theory was propounded by L.V. Bertalanfly, and many other social
scientists like, Talcott Parson, Robert Bales etc.
“Systems theory helps in explaining the function of groups and its interacting
elements”. L.V. Bertalanfly.
Talcott parsons defined, “Social systems is a set of interdependent elements
trying to function as a whole to maintain equilibrium. The basic challenge to the social
system is the changing environment both externally and internally”.
Five principles of systems theory:-
1. All systems seek goal attainment and balance.
2. All systems have boundaries.
3. Systems as a whole are made up of sub systems.
4. The whole is greater than the sum of parts.
5. All systems create feedbacks.
Now again every systems in order to survive has to function four basic functions
which are;-
1. Integration- there should be common goal for both the individual and group.
2. Adaptation- the system should also have the capacity to make changes to adapt
itself to the outside demands like that of the community and the sponsoring
organization and with the internal dynamics as it changes with time.
3. The pattern maintenance- the pattern maintenance would require development
of norms and guidelines to regulate its activities and develop well defined
objectives, identity and procedures, which are able to sustain these over time.
4. The goal attainment- it is the final task to ensure the smooth functioning of the
system.

b. THE GROUP IN RELATION TO THE SYSTEMS THEORY.


The student workers group is an open ended group fitting into the greater social
system as one of its component. It has all the characteristics mentioned by the systems
theory. The group is a set of youths trying to cope with the changing environment
around them all the time, there is a change in both external and internal changes in the
environment of the group. The whole ‘vicious cycle of homelessness’ is a sub-system
within the greater system which the group tries to enter.
The group for its survival follows four basic functions’
1. Integration- the youth group is homogenous and has a bonding between them
and shares a common goal of establishing themselves in the mainstream society
or having their own identity after coming out of the ‘vicious cycle of
homelessness’.
2. Adaptation- the group has shown the ability to adjust to the new status they
have in the group and the group home where they are more like a family, and
also the group members have shown the ability to adjust to the new
environment in their work place and the society around them where they are not
seen as homeless.
3. Pattern maintenance- the group has certain norms and guidelines such as they
have bank accounts and regular savings/ deposits which they have taken as a
measure to ensure their future. They also have taken up decisions to participate
in the various training sessions for the group. They as responsible members has
to look after their respective bills and payments of their group homes.
4. Goal Attainment- the group has its goals of attaining the social, political and
economic equilibrium state in the society.

CONCLUSION.
The student worker would conclude the whole process of planning the model
and the theory base for the group as possibly one of the convenient theories which to a
great extent explains the whole social system the group is living in and sees it as a sub
system within the greater social system or structure. The student worker also sees the
gradual progress of the group members from a state of negative identity to a status of
social inclusion where they have a regular job and place to live in, which is one of the
purpose and goal of the group.
The student worker also would like to mention the process as a very long one as
the agency has an open ended group.

FOOTNOTES:-
• Homeless cycle- a person living on the street do not have a permanent residence
so he doesn’t have proof which is credit worthiness and because of this lack of
place they are treated as antisocial and meted out the most inhuman treatment
from the society.
• Identity cycle- people living on the streets have been stereotyped and have got a
negative identity as criminals, drug addicts, lazy and every other thing except as
a working class. They are very much vulnerable to all short of abuses and
atrocities by the public and the law as well. The Bombay preventions of beggary
act, 1951 (BPBA) has given the police wide ranging power to pick up anyone
loitering in the streets.
• Substance Abuse Cycle- it is a direct by-product of the environment conditions
of living on the streets. In order to cope with the regular stress and trauma they
get addicted to various substances which gradually turns to addiction.
• Savings cycle- it is closely associated with the identity cycle and the lack of
identification documents. Banks because of the strict rules of ‘know your
customer’ rules set by Reserve Bank of India guidelines don’t open savings
accounts for people who have no proof of residence and identification.

References-
Kanopka.G (1972).Social Group Work: A Helping Process. Englewood Cliff: Prentice
Hall Inc.
Siddiqui.H.Y(2008). Group Work-Theories and practice. Mumbai. Rawat publication
Marie.W, Chau. K, Sutherland. D (ed.).(1991). Theory and Practices in Social Group
Work-Creative Connection. New York. Haworth Press.
“The politics of Systems Theory Within Social Work” (Malcolm Payne),
J.S.W.2002;2; 269.London. Sage publication.
TISS. Lib. A compilation of reading materials.
Trecker, H.B. (1950). Social Group Work: Principles and Practices. New York. The
Women’s press.
SW-I SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE (GROUP WORK)
INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT
AUGUST 26, 2009.

SUBMITTED BY: - 2009SW087.


SUBJECT TEACHER: - DR. SRILATHA JUVVA.
REMARKS:-