The book is clearly grounded in the practice wisdom and knowledge base of the author, providing a strong reflective and analytical element, often missing in other more purely theoretical or practice based publications. The text looks at the creative and innovative use of basic groupwork skills and the ways that a knowledge of groupwork theory and practice can inform different areas of human service delivery, particularly in relation to health, education and welfare contexts. The book takes as its starting point the view that groupwork is a skilled activity. However, it is also an intellectual activity because to be an effective groupworker, practitioners need to have a sound knowledge base and to be able to translate that understanding in ways that underpin the skills and interventions that are applied in practice. This theoretical framework includes an analysis of the advantages and limitations of groupwork as a practice method. It also includes an account of the strengths and weaknesses of different groupwork approaches (e.g. cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, person-centred groupwork approaches), particularly when working with certain groups of people (e.g. with young people, women’s groups), specific dilemmas (e.g. bereavement groups), social problems (e.g. groups for ‘offenders’) or certain contexts (e.g. work with families and communities).
Social work knowledge and research based practice
Law, social policy and the importance of social perspectives
Understanding human beings in their social context
Social work skills, interventions and transferability
Communication: The importance of observation, listening and interpersonal skills
Assessment: Factors informing decision-making, action and practice effectiveness
Personalising services: Providing help, direction and guidance
Empowerment: The change process and supporting people to take charge of their lives
Professional competence, accountability and record keeping
Conclusion: Shaping the future of social work
About the Author:
Dr Pamela Trevithick is Visiting Professor in Social Work at Buckinghamshire New University, UK and the Chair of GAPS, a membership organisation promoting relationship-based approaches, and psychodynamic and systemic thinking in social work. She lectures widely in the UK and abroad on a range of issues relating to effective social work practice.