7-Models of social group work


1. Introduction

2. Social Goal Model

3. Remedial Model

4. Reciprocal Model 

5. Intake Model 

6. Problem-solving model

7. Psychotherapeutic model 

8. Developmental Model

9. Conclusion


7 Models of social group work -In the early stage of social group work preventive approaches used to be the major concern for social group work. Over the years it has been shifted and completely enveloped from prevention to treatment approaches. The transition of group development has led to a wide variety of the theoretical models of social group work for its better practice. This model enables social group work to understand the problem holistically. There are several models from classical to contemporary models and the employment of these models depends on the group objectives and its purpose. Let’s understand the following social group work model clearly.

7 Models of social group work 

  1. Social Goal Model
  2.  Remedial Model
  3. Reciprocal Model 
  4. Intake Model 
  5. Problem-solving model
  6. Psycho therapeutic model 
  7. Developmental Model

1-Social Goals Model (Papell and Ruthman 1966)

The central focus of the model is on “social consciousness “and social responsibility. It helps the community members to work for solving social issues and bring about desirable social change. The principles of the democratic group process are fundamental to this model. The settlement house movement .the social movement the labor union movement and the women movement are the roots of the social goals model.

2-Remedial Model ( Vinter R.D 1957)

The prime focus of the model is about treatment individual’s behavior. This model primarily deals with individuals who suffer social and personal adjustment in social relations. Individual dysfunction and deviant behavior which is not approved by the society are brought into the planned group work environment and through the means of group work approach, deviant behavior of the individuals is normalized. Hence it is often regarded as clinically oriented in approach. Group worker adopts this model while dealing with a group of a person with an emotional problem. This model enables the group work to facilitate interaction among the group to achieve change. This model is widely used in mental health care, correctional institution, family service organization, counseling center, and school and health care as well.

3-Reciprocal Model ( Schwartz 1961)

This model has been influenced and derived from the work of system theory, field theory, social psychological theory, and the generic principles of social work. Many of the scholars often called it the amalgamation of social goals and remedial models. The model came into reflection when society and individuals experience interference in their mutual striving, the conflict arises from this perspective the use of reciprocal model may become imperative. This model considers the individual and group are the significant components and here the worker roles appeared to be facilitative in nature, that is why the model is known to be a Mediating model of social group work.

4-Intake Model 

Under this model, an individual directly becomes part of the agency without becoming part of any program intervention of support, the achievement of challenge or improvement of social condition. Hankinson, Stephens is very popular for this model. The primary concern that was given in this model is the orientation of agencies' functions.

5-Problem solving/ social skills model 

Solving the behavioral problem and developing behavioral skills are an important concert for this model. It encourages positive reinforcement in practice. 

6- Psychotherapeutic Model (Alport)

This model is known as the person-focused model which is concerned with the person feeling, emotion, and relation. The aim of this model is to strengthen the mental health and self-concept of the person. Psychoanalytic, group therapy, gestalt therapy, psychodrama, and transactional analysis are coming under this category of the model.

7-Developmental Model (Berustein 1955)

Gropu is seen to be in the degree of closeness and founded on the essence of interdependence. And the development model completely depends on the dynamics of intimacy and closeness. However, the knowledge and theoretical foundation of this model is substantially influenced by Erickson's ego psychology, conflict theory, and group dynamics. Looking into the nature of the model, we can say the developmental model comprises of reciprocal, remedial, and traditional approach model.


We have understood some of the best practice models of social group work. Model and theories are the accepted scientific body of fact that help us to understand individuals and their behavior and the process to initiate the group work . During the emergence and demand of the group work, many new models propounded in the mid of 1970 ad 1980s. Hence the selection of a model for group work practice depends on the nature and goal of the group. 



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