Social group work is a method of social work that helps individuals enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experiences and cope more effectively with their personal, group, or community problems. It is a process through which group life is affected by a worker who consciously directs the interaction process towards the accomplishment of goals that are conceived in a democratic frame of reference.
The concept of social group work is based on the belief that people can benefit from interacting with others who share their experiences and challenges. Through group work, individuals can learn from each other, provide mutual support, and develop new skills and coping mechanisms.
Man can't live in isolation. Growing, surviving, and experiencing social life are possible only by becoming part of any group, be it family or society. While becoming part of the group, society and the individuals develop and experience different sorts of interference, which leads to individuals maladjustment with the social environment. On the other hand, when individuals find it difficult to adjust themselves to their given surroundings or fail to have better social functioning in society, the demand for intervention arises. The constructive intervention helps individuals have better social functioning through social interaction and social relationships, and the adequate intervention is employed in the form of group work, which is known as the method of social work. It has the potential to form and maintain constructive relationships through group activities and programs. Gisela Konopka (1963) states that social group work is a method of social work that helps individuals enhance their social functioning through a purposeful group experience. However, Allan, Brown, and others have also pointed out that group work can emphasize action and influence as well as reaction and adoption; hence, they argue that group work provides a platform in which individuals help each other and a method of helping groups and individuals as well. According to Lawrence Shulman( 1979), group work as a mutual aid system means that the worker sees it as helping people to help each other. To understand the group clearly, let's examine the various definitions of social group work.
Social group work aims at the development of a person through the interplay of personalities in a group situation and at the creation of such group situations as provided for by integrated, cooperative group action for common ends.
Social group work is a psychosocial process and is concerned no less with developing leadership ability and cooperation than with building interest in the group for a social purpose.
Wilson and Rayland (1949)
We see social group work as a process and method through which group life is affected by a worker who consciously directs the interaction process towards the accomplishment of goals that, in our view, are conceived in a democratic frame of reference.
Social group work is a method through which individuals in groups in social agency settings are helped by a worker who guides their interaction in program activities so that they may relate themselves to others and experience growth opportunities in accordance with their needs and capacities toward the end of individual, group, and community development.
Social group work is a method of social work that helps individuals enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experience and cope more effectively with their personal group community problems.
American Association of Group Workers (1948)
Group work is a method by which the worker enables various types of groups to function in such a way that both group interaction and program activity contribute to the growth of the individuals and the achievement of the desired goals.
Key meaning from the definition.
Group work is a method of social work. (Tracker, H.B., 1955; ASGW, 1967)
It is a process and method through which group life is affected by a worker. (Wilson&Ryland)
Social group work is a psychosocial process. (Hamilton 1949)
Group work is a development process through the interplay of personalities in a group situation. (Coyle1937)
Group work is an educational process emphasizing the social development and social adjustment of individuals. (Newsletter 1935)
A brief analysis of the definition
Group work is a method of social work. Social group work has special knowledge, skills, tools, understanding, and principles through which it achieves the desired objectives of the group. On this front, the worker cultivates knowledge of individuals, groups, and communities' behaviors and skills of working with them and accordingly employs the group work method for better social significance. The worker empowers himself with the principles of group work methodology, planned group formation, purposeful relationships, and program development. G. Konopka rightly says that group work is a method of social work that helps individuals cope effectively in society as well as have better social functioning in the social environment.
In addition to the above explanation, group work is also known to be a process in which the members of the group become part of achieving some definite goals (Wilson). The interaction process behaviors and the diverse field of backgrounds are the major features that influence the members of the group continuously.
The social development of a person is collectively influenced by the way in which groups live. Hence, Grace Coyle is of the opinion that group work is a process of social and personality development for a member of the group.
The method of social work is also called a psychosocial process by Hamilton (1949), as it is very much concerned with enhancing leadership quality among the members of the group for the attainment of the social purpose. It is more about bringing out the internal matter in the outer expression.
The method is considered an educational process that emphasizes the social adjustment and social development of individuals (Newsletter 1935). The employment of group work is significantly worth it for the enhancement of the social and personal development of the group.