This foundation course introduces theories basic to the understanding of group development and group processes, and essential to effective social group work practice with a wide range of populations. The emphasis in the course will be on the development of skills needed to plan, prepare, facilitate, terminate, and evaluate a variety of types of groups for clients across the life span.
Major theories addressed in this course are group dynamics, group development, communications theory, systems theory, and group work theory. The course emphasizes a laboratory approach that gives students the opportunity to develop group skills necessary for professional practice. Through group exercises, students experience the group concepts being studied and are given the opportunity to develop basic skills in observing human behavior, including their own, in a group context. They examine their own values and behavior, and the impact of these on others. Such self-awareness prepares students to consciously use themselves in professional relationships with both clients and colleagues. Students are expected to work collaboratively with one another.
This course is taken in the first of two consecutive semester of the MSW Generalist field placement. A field placement constitutes experiences in practice in a professional agency under the instruction of a qualified practitioner and a minimum of 450 hours in total over two semesters ( typically this looks like 225 during the first semester and 225 hours during the second semester) or 500 hours for students pursing the addictions concentration (i.e., 250 hours per semester). This foundation-level field experience is designed to build transferable skills in engagement, case management, counseling, group facilitation, documentation and referral. The 9 Core Competencies of Social Work Practice are measures at the middle and end of the field experience.