Monday, 2 December 2013

Skills of Social Group Work

In a general sense skill means the capacity to perform
activities. The Webster Dictionary defines it as
“knowledge of and expertness in execution and
performance”.  Virginia Robinson  refers to skill as “the
capacity to set in motion and control a process of change
in specific material in such a way that the change that
takes place in the material is affected with the greatest
degree of consideration for and utilization of the quality
and capacity of the material”. Trecker  defines methods
and skill as “Methods means the purposeful  use of
insights and understanding  based upon a body of
knowledge and principles. Skill is the capacity to apply
knowledge and understanding to a given situation.
Jekins  has listed certain skills that are essential for a
social group worker to become more productive in-group
1) Exchanging ideas among the members freely and
clearly, using language understood by everyone and
with no fears of starting arguments or hurting
feelings. 2) Examining objectively how well the group and its
members are working.
3) Sharing the leadership jobs among the group
members and show sensitivity to the feelings of all.
4) Accepting new ideas and new members into the
group without irreparable conflict, and to
disciplining the group to work toward long range
objectives and profit from failures.
5) Thinking clearly about group problems, findings,
causes and working for solutions.
6) Adjusting group procedures and plans to meet the
feelings and the desires of the members.
7) Creating new jobs or committees as needed and to
terminate them or the group itself, when the need
is fulfill.
Phillips  has enumerated the following skills of social
group work.
I) Skill in Using Agency Functions
The group worker must be skillful in carrying the
functions of agency. He should always try to
propagate what the agency in the community wants
to do. He does the following activities for this.
1) The Intake Process
The worker who meets the applicants while
carrying out the agency’s procedures for intake,
will discuss with him what him/her particularly
wants from the agency as well as what is
available those for him/her to consider both the
privileges and responsibilities of agency
membership. 2) Connecting the Group with the Agency
The worker relates the group more firmly to
the agency by helping it to understand what
the agency stands for and what kind of
responsible behaviour is expected of them as
well as of other groups.
3) Serving the Individual through the Group Work
Since the function of the agency includes
helping group units to develop in socially useful
ways, as well as helping individuals the social
worker’s attention must be on the development
of the group as a whole and on each individual’s
use of the group.
4) Working with the Individual Outside the
Group of Meetings
Although the worker offers his services within
the group process he also provides help to the
individual if need be for the better use of group
experience on the part of member.
5) The Referral Process
An important part of the group work agency’s
service is to work with members and their
parents in a process of considering the use of
other community services for help with problems
that can not be dealt within the group work
II)    Skill in Communication of Feelings
The social group worker should have the following
skills. 1) The Worker’s Feelings
High among the qualities essential to a social
worker’s skill is the capacity to feel with others.
2) The Group Member’s Feelings
The worker must be skillful in helping the group
members to know, accept, express and be
responsible for their feelings.
3) Group Feelings
The interaction of each member with the others
and the worker produces group feelings. The
worker helps the group in understanding their
feelings and its meanings.
III) Skills in Using the Reality of the Present
Under this the social worker does two things.
1) Utilizing the group’s current interest for
purposeful activity.
2) Helping the group to take responsible decision.
IV) Skill in Stimulating and Using Group Relations
1) The social group worker should enable each
group member to find and take his part in
relationship with other members.
2) He should be skillful in using programmes to
strengthen group relations.
Trecker  has listed the following basic skills of social
group work.
1) Skill in Establishing Purposeful Relationship
a) The group worker must be skilful in gaining the
acceptance of the group and in relating himself
to the group on a positive professional basis.
 b) The group worker must be skillful in helping
individuals in the group to accept one another
and to join with the group in common pursuits.
2) Skill in Analysing the Group Situation
a) The worker must be skillful in judging the
developmental level of the group to determine
what the level is, what the group needs and
how quickly the group can be expected to move.
This calls for skill in direct observation of groups
on a basis of analysis and judgement.
b) The group worker must be skillful in helping
the group to express ideas, work out objectives,
clarify immediate goals and see both its
potentialities and limitations as a group.
3) Skill in Participation with the Group
a) The group worker must be skillful in
determining, interpreting, assuming and
modifying his own roles with the group.
b) The group worker must be skillful in helping,
group members to participate, to locate
leadership among themselves and to take
responsibility for their own activities.
4) Skill in Dealing with Group Feeling
a) The group worker must be skilful in controlling
his own feelings about the group and must study
each new situation with a high degree of
b) The group worker must be skillful in helping
groups to release their own feelings, both
positive and negative. He must be skillful in
helping groups to analyze situations as  part of  the working through group or intergroup
5) Skill in Programme Development
a) The group worker must be skillful in guiding
group thinking so that interests and needs will
be revealed and understood.
b) The group worker must be skillful in helping
groups to develop programmes, which they want
as a means through which their needs may be
6) Skill in Using Agency and Community Resources
a) The group worker must be skillful in locating
and then acquainting the group with various
helpful resources which can be utilized by the
members for programme purpose.
b) The group worker must be skillful in helping
certain individual members to make use of
specialized services by means of referral that
cannot be met within the group.
7) Skill in Evaluation
a) The group worker must have skill in recording
the development processes that are going on
as he works with the group.
b) The group worker must be skillful in using his
records and in helping the group to review its
experiences as a means of improvement.
On the basis of above discussions and opinions of
different social workers on the different types of skills
essential for group work practitioners, we may list them
as follows. I) Communication Skills
Communication is at the heart of group work
practice. The social group worker makes use of two
broad categories of communication skills .
i) Those which are intended to facilitate
interpersonal helping.
ii) Those intended to facilitate to achieve the group
work objectives.
A number of specific skills may help the group worker
to perform his jobs more  effectively.
1) Skill of Programme Planning
It is very essential  that group worker must be
skillful in planning the programmes for the
group. It is also essential that the worker must
be skillful in communicating the message
around the answers of several questions. He/
She  should be skillful in communicating his
own feelings to the members of the group.
2) Skill of Identify Self Role
It is an important step in group work practice.
The worker must convince the group for his
interfence in its affairs.
3) Skill of Explaining the Purpose of the Group
Formation and Communicate the Group
Everybody before joining the group wants to
know about the benefits of joining the group. If
he/she is satisfied, he comes forward and
become a member of that group. Therefore, the
group worker must be skillful in convincing the
people to avail the facilities of the agency by  joining the group. The worker, further, explains
how communicate in group  so that the group
may advance in its goal.
4) Skill in Interpreting Verbal Communication
It is the job of the group worker to keep watch
on the verbal communication among the group
members because if it is not on the right track,
the group may loose its basic purpose. He/she
should always try to direct in proper direction.
5) Skill of Answering Question
During group process, certain questions,
queries or doubts are raised by the group
members. If they are not answered in right
perspective, the members may disassociate
themselves. Therefore, it is essential that the
social group worker has the vide knowledge of
social work as well as human behaviour.
II) Skill in Effective Helping Relationship
It is heart of social group work practice. A group
worker must genuinely care for the group members.
The relationship will be more cohesive and fruitful
if the social group worker possesses the following
1) Skill of Empathy
It refers to the worker’s capacity to perceive
accurately member’s feelings and subjective
experiences. The group worker should show in
his/her behaviour that he/she is taking
genuine interest in their welfare. It will help
in developing confidence between group worker
and the group. 2) Skill of Encouraging the Member’s Feedback
It refers to statement that encourages the
member to respond to the worker’s explanation.
This gives the members an opportunity to ask
questions and raise disagreement if any.
3) Skill of Describing the Member’s Role
This is common tendency that everybody wants
facilities, and rights but less inclined to fulfill
their duties. It is the job of the social group
worker to explain the member who is joining
the group about his role in the group. When
he/she is clear about his/her role he/she
works happily.
4) Skill of Active Listening
In active listening the worker tends to both the
member verbal and non-verbal message. The
listening become active listening when it is
followed by clarification and explanations
needed by the group members.
5) Skill of Exploring the Member’s Silence
Sometimes it happens that one or the other
members of the group keeps silence and takes
the least interest in the group activities.  It is
the job of social group worker to find out the
reasons for his/her silence and encourage him/
her for active involvement.
6) Skill of Recognizing every Member’s
It refers to expressions of confidence in the
members ability to accomplish some specific
tasks in the group process. It will help the group
worker in performing different types of activities
in the group with the help of its members and
thus the group will grow and enrich in achieving
its objectives.
7) Skill in Partialization and Gradation of the
All the problems of the group and its members
cannot be solved at once. Therefore, their
gradation and partialization is  needed. Priority
should be fixed by the group worker. It will
facilitate the group process in right direction.