SWO-462 Advanced Group Work With Diverse, Vulnerable, and Resilient Populations

Social group work is most effective when providing communal support to vulnerable and marginalized clients. For clients who are stressed or overwhelmed by the effects of mental or physical illnesses, addiction, aging, poverty, oppression, and physical, sexual, or communal trauma, groups can provide a space for the acquisition of knowledge, the development of coping skills, and a sense of solidarity and belonging. It is in groups that members who have been rendered “other” by social stigma, racism, or systemic oppressions may experience connection and community and feel cared for and validated. All of these therapeutic benefits can enhance health and well-being, improve interpersonal relationships, and mitigate the negative effects of problem-saturated lives. 

This course builds on the skills and competencies that emerging group work practitioners began to develop in SWO-577, in that it will deepen students’ capacity to see and interact in groups that are systems of mutual aid in the making. Additionally, students will gain exposure and skills related to the most empirically supported and effected evidence-informed group work approaches: cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing. Students will also explore and practice narrative therapeutic approaches to group work and nondeliberative approaches that employ activities of all kinds.

We cannot attend to our growing fund of knowledge without nurturing the process. Through the use of experiential group learning during the live sessions, emerging group work practitioners will have opportunities to consider group dynamics, facilitation, transference, and countertransference as they participate in an eight-week in-class experiential group that they will create and co-facilitate.