Free «Training Standards for Group Workers» UK Essay Paper
Group work, in the most basic term, is a proficient exercise undertaken by a group of people with the aim of achieving a specific objective or goal. This mostly involves gathering knowledge or skills collectively as a group. In education and professional training, the concept of group work has been one of the major concerns of the trainers. Students are often encouraged to engage themselves in group work throughout their course studying since it provides greater learning opportunities as students participate in the collective understanding of concepts.
However, over decades, there have been rising concerns about the quality of group work undertaken in training. These concerns prompted the Association for Specialist in Group Work (ASGW) to develop specific standard guidelines for conducting training of group workers in the early 1980s, which mostly focused on group counseling. With the revisions that were approved in accordance with the ASGW standards for professional training, a broader version of the criteria was developed to encompass all the modern demands for performing training in group work especially in learning institutions across the world. This adjustment has supported specialization in group work training whereby different types of group work such as work group facilitation, group counseling, task, group-psychoeducation, and group psychotherapy have been covered as well as their essential guidelines.
Over time, multiple debates have been held in both supporting and criticizing some of these group training standards which have by far helped to shape final document. This has enabled clear differentiation between primary core guidelines for general group training and the standards for specialized training. There is a single set of standards used both in counseling and education programs covering both the contents of the training program and the essential instructions. The whole purpose of the ASGW requirements is to equip students undertaking undergraduate and master’s degree courses with broader guidelines in constructing their curricula regarding all group works. However, the most important aspect of the document is that it educates students on all the relevant elements of group work concerning planning, processing, ethical aspects, and performing as well as the best strategies for engagement of the participants in any forms of group training.
Importance of the ASGW Standards to Group Work Specialists
The main importance of these standards is that they prepare education students who intend to engage in professional counseling for how to develop a framework for group work training as a part of understanding of group development phenomena. It also helps students to realize that a group functions become better when the counselor is one of the members. The specialization aspect supports learners who want to concentrate on developing additional knowledge regarding the area of specialization, for example, in task groups or group counseling. These guidelines provide the backbone of the whole process giving room for student’s creativity towards the development of unique training processes that support the achievement of the core objectives.
Specialization in Group Work Training
Over the years, training in group work has taken a different form allowing a broader spectrum of this sphere. This has been brought by the increase i the variety of social demands in today’s modern society. Each social problem anticipates a unique approach; for example, clinical counseling requires a method totally different from a group work in an education program. Nevertheless, every approach has its unique attributes that deliver unique satisfaction to the group in demand. Overall, there are four areas of specialization in group training.
Task Group Facilitation
This section of group training focuses on promoting effective and efficient achievement of group objectives and is based on the principles of the normal human interaction. It is the most common area, and it is applied in day-to-day situations especially in learning.
Group psychoeducation is applied to individuals who have a higher risk of difficulty in communication with other people at different stages of their lives. The aim of such group work is to help the participants to develop interpersonal skills as well as support personal qualities. Just like a task group, this section also uses the general principle of human interaction combined with education-based and developmental strategies for group training.
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This section can be implemented in the same field as psychoeducation addressing interaction problems for people with personal and interpersonal issues and support people with maladjustment. Counselors use the normal human interaction techniques to help such people to adjust to whatever situation they face, for example, to recover from drug addiction.
Just like the other sections, the aspect of general human interaction is fundamental in the engagement of participants through the group work. Specific interactions are required to support the expected behavioral change, but the involvement of such a group is based on the context of negative emotions. This is because the area of study for this segment is connected with the people with chronic maladjustment and common cycles of dysfunctional behavior.
Core Training Standards
According to ASGW, the core training standards cover all the elements of professional group work regardless of the specialization being used. The mentioned guidelines show the expected objectives of the counselors or practitioners in terms of knowledge and skills. All social workers doing group work are expected to be able to show in their practice, at least, the following:
- Encouragement of the participation of group members by the implementation of a unique reward system for the activities undertaken by the group.
- Identification and formulation of the group process framework of the events of the training. This is made possible through critical understanding of the behavior of the group members. Thus, the family of origin, the method of upbringing, and the cultural background mainly determine behavior understanding of an individual.
Planning of the training by practitioners is another essential concept of group work. This starts with forecasting the environment in which the group work will take place with regard to the diversity of the group members. Moreover, leadership skills of the practitioners are significant factors towards thhe success of any group work. Therefore, all social workers ought to implement paramount leadership skills in managing the whole training process. Various leadership styles are available to be employed in such situations, and the type of leadership depends on the diversity of the members as well as the overall strategy used.
In addition, leaders of such groups must evaluate the progress of the members. This can be done through strategies such as testing the interaction level of group members, conducting the case studies of previous patients under the same situation, and comparing with the current members. This allows the practitioners to monitor the progress of their group members. Any practitioner must adhere to all ethical practices regarding the area of operation that are prevalent, for example, in group psychotherapy. Thus, the specific models of conduct are described to guide the practitioners is this area. Furthermore, all practitioners must show group members how to attach meaning to their daily experience. They also need to help members to apply whatever they have learned during the sessions into their daily situations. The practitioners must demonstrate ASGW moral and professional standards during the group practice. In general, following these recommendations is the only way to achieve the positive outcomes from the group work training.
As discussed earlier, there are various forms of group work training and each method has its unique characteristics. Students have to undertake a program that prepares them for specialization, which allows the students to acquire certain competencies as independent practitioners with regard to the philosophy and discipline of group work. The study of specialization also encourages the students who has completed the training to be more creative in their lines of work. With the current lifestyles of many people, more and more opportunities arise for specialization. Therefore, students with broader and in-depth background achieve better results.
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For students undertaking the course, it is very important to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skills. This competence is best displayed through a clear understanding of all concepts of this program right from the scope of the practice. Here students clearly show their knowledge of the general nature of group work and the awareness of various areas of specialization. In addition, they must have qualities to assess both the group work and the society as a whole and the influence it has on individual’s lives. Planning of the entire process and implementing it are two other essential skills that students ought to have by the completion of the course work. These are just some of the expectations from education students that focus on training on group work.
All the aspects discussed in the report form the backbone for group workers in gaining knowledge and essential skills for facilitating groups that include members which represent the varying diversity of today’s society. The agenda behind the development of ASGW guidelines is to cement practitioner’s commitment towards understanding and addressing the variety of social needs. The report provides students with relevant group leadership qualities that assist in understanding how the diversity of people influences the process of group work today and in the future.
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