Social Work 632

SOWK 632: Social Work Practice II: Groups Practice

Prerequisites: Admission to the graduate program in social work and SOWK 601 and SOWK 631.

Credit Hours: (3)

This second foundation practice course is designed to provide students with an overview of the basic knowledge and skills essential to generalist social work practice as it relates to group practice. Groups are used at all levels of social work practice (micro, mezzo, and macro) for purposes ranging from support and personal growth to social planning and social action. Key themes include introductory group practice knowledge for developing and intervening with various types of groups, with particular emphasis on groups for populations at risk, rural populations, and groups that experience social and economic injustices. Key concepts include stages of group development, group processes and dynamics, leadership and ethical practice with groups.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course is designed to introduce students to the principles and elements of generalist social work practice with groups. Included in the course are understanding and applications of theoretical frameworks underlying group practice, ethical considerations involved in working with groups and recognizing the utility of different group modalities in accomplishing group goals. While using experiential learning this course also trains students to develop awareness of group processes and dynamics, leadership styles, and practicing with diverse personalities and people of various backgrounds.

The following will provide the major focal points for this course:

I.  Theoretical approaches to group counseling, psychoeducational groups and task groups

II. Group counseling in a multicultural context

III. Ethical and professional issues in group counseling

IV. Principles of group leadership and skills

V. Stages in group development, group processes and dynamics

VI. Evidence based group practice with different type of client populations

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The teaching/learning context for this course may include didactic instruction, large and small group discussions, role-plays, other experiential activities, and guest speakers as appropriate. A conscious awareness of the student's personal values and leadership styles and their affect on use of self will be encouraged. Students will also be expected to take responsibility for their own learning and to be cognizant of the fact that as members of the class group, the learning process is shared.

Goals and Objectives of this Course

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

1.Think critically and intervene purposefully with various types of groups (task, educational, therapeutic, and advocacy groups.

2.Explore the application of group practice skills within rural areas and small towns with formal and informal networks.

3.Engage cultural competency principles in practice with diverse groups including age, class, color, culture, disability, gender, immigration status, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

4.Demonstrate comprehension of theory-based (ecological, strengths, interpersonal, existential, etc.) principles, skills techniques, and assessment strategies necessary for successful leadership of a group.

5.Demonstrate comprehension of the philosophy of autonomous practice based on a conscious use of self, guided by the NASW Code of Ethics and the underlying moral principles of social work.

6.Utilize theory-based models related to group recruitment, engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation to improve practice processes and dynamics.

7.Recognize the value of advocacy group practice in promoting social action.

8.Exhibit intellectual habits that will lead to their interest in keeping abreast of professional literature and participate in the professional community.

9.Utilize existing research-based literature to identify practices with different type of client populations.

Assessment Measures

Grades will be based on the satisfactory completion of all course requirements, which may include:

· Reflections on group participation (leader, observer, participant)

· Class presentations

· Research paper

· Attendance and class participation

Other Course Information


Review and Approval

Approved:  December, 2009