SOCW 6121 week 6

Week 6: Leadership
At some time during your career as a clinical social worker, you will be asked to lead a group. Whether it is a support group, task group, or therapy group, developing effective leadership skills is important. Leading a group can be challenging. The first meeting tends to set the stage for the overall experience. One of the first tasks of the group leader is to assist the members in getting to know one another and to initiate discussion. Clinical social workers commonly use many strategies, games, and techniques to create some cohesion among the members; however, not all group strategies are effective with every type of group. Identifying the appropriate strategies for a particular group is critical.
Learning Objectives
Students will:

Evaluate leadership skills
Identify strategies for initiating group conversations
Analyze the benefits of group work

Learning Resources
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Required Readings
Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Chapter 4, “Leadership” (pp. 97-134)

Chapter 5, “Leadership and Diversity”
Westwood, M. J., McLean, H., Cave, D., Borgen, W., & Slakov, P. (2010). Coming home: A group-based approach for assisting military veterans in transition. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 35(1), 44–68.
Required Media
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013d). Levy (Episode 6) [Video file]. In Sessions. Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 4 minutes.

Discussion 1: Group Leadership Skills
Leading a group of individuals who have suffered trauma can be difficult because the shared stories may result in further trauma to some of the members. Assessing the members and deciding how they will introduce themselves at the first meeting can be a difficult task. Helping these members begin the group therapy process is the first step in facilitating the group.
For this Discussion, watch the video of the “Levy” group session.
By Day 3
Post your evaluation of the group’s social worker’s leadership skills, using at least two items from each of the three categories found in the Toseland & Rivas (2017) piece (facilitation of group processes, data gathering and assessment, and action). Suggest another way the social worker might have initiated the group conversation.
By Day 5
Respond to two colleagues who discussed a different leadership skill. Explain the importance of building these skills and how they relate to facilitating the group process.

Response 1
 Darrell Morris RE: Discussion 1 – Week 6COLLAPSE
Week 6 Discussion 1: Group Leadership Skills 
Post your evaluation of the group’s social worker’s leadership skills using at least two items from each of the three categories found in the Toseland & Rivas (2017) piece (facilitation of group processes, data gathering, and assessment, and action).
Based on the information, all six men were combat veterans from the Iraqi and Afgan wars. The group appears to be either a support or therapy group for individuals with Adjustment Disorder or PTSD. The social worker used excellent skills when facilitating the group. She asked engaging questions to involve group members. Ideally, all members should be involved and interested in what is being discussed in the group (Toseland & Rivas, 2017, p. 114). She also used proper attending skills with her eye contact, body position, and verbal behaviors. The social worker was skillful with her Data-Gathering and Assessment process.  The social worker was methodical when asking probing questions such as when Jake was talking about the amount of beer he had been drinking, she asked him did he find himself drinking more than he used to (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2013).
Suggest another way the social worker might have initiated the group conversation.
Another way the social worker might have initiated the group conversation is by sharing power with the group, allowing members to tell or share their own stories to affirm and validate members’ experiences. Asking for members’ input concerning meetings agenda and direction group would like to take (Toseland & Rivas, 2017, p. 102)
Plummer, S., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2013). Social work case studies: Concentration year.Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1-62458-012-3 (VitalSource edition)
Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Response 2
 Lisa Dunlavy RE: Discussion 1 – Week 6COLLAPSE
Group leadership skills consist of behaviors and activities that are used during group therapy to assist each member in achieving their personal skills, while also assisting the group in completing its purpose and group tasks. Leadership skills that are used during group therapy can differ from the skills used during individual therapy. According to Toseland and Rivas (2017), group therapy provides more opportunity for the facilitator and group members to choose their level of participation and interactions. Group leadership skills include facilitating group processes, data gathering and assessment, and action. 
In the case study of Levy, a group is introduced. There is a primary facilitator and six other members. The facilitator starts the group meeting by acknowledging those who have recently returned from deployment and made the initial suggestion to discuss how members were adjusting to civilian life. Data gathering and assessment includes identifying/describing and requesting for information, questioning, or probing for information. Toseland and Rivas (2017) explained that identifying and describing a specific situation is a basic data-gathering skill that requires for the facilitator to evoke descriptions that are specific to the problem. The facilitator in the video clip made a clear attempt to request for follow-up information about how group members were adjusting. From there, the facilitator questioned and requested for additional information throughout the meeting.
The facilitator facilitated group processes by focusing group communication and clarifying content. Her initial request for follow-up information was an initial attempt to focus direct group communication on how members were adjusting to civilian life after returning from deployment. There was an instance during the group meeting when the facilitator blocked or guided group interactions to a more productive discussion. The group member, Jake, was resistant at first and provided input that was inappropriate. In order to keep the group moving in a more positive pattern, the facilitator chose to not acknowledge some of the input made by Jake and focused on the processes that were occurring with the other members. Action skills that were used by the facilitator include directing and providing advice, suggestions, and instructions. She attempted to direct more participation from other members of the group. For example, when Jake responded to the first male speaker about being challenged to choose which type of alcohol rather than what type of mustard, the facilitator directed a question to Jake. Jake resisted, but this opened up dialogue from other members of the group.
I recently sat in on a couple groups for a potential field experience agency. The first group started with questioning whether any member’s experienced any high anxiety scenarios since the last time they met. All members are recovering addicts, so with the current situation there have been many challenges to sobriety. Gathering this information was important to assess where each member was at in regards to sobriety and coping strategies. In the video clip, the facilitator asked a broad question about how member’s were adjusting. Instead of a broad question, the facilitator can ask a more direct question or make a more direct request for information.
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013d). Levy (Episode 6) [Video file]. In Sessions. Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from
Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice(8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria
To access your rubric:

Week 6 Discussion 1 Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion:

Week 6 Discussion 1
Discussion 2: Group Intervention
When leading a group, it is the responsibility of the clinical social worker to find a way to enable all members to benefit from the experience. Although some members may not benefit, it is important for the clinical social worker to identify the positive aspects that he/she is witnessing. This strategy may create a feeling of empowerment for the members.
For this Discussion, it may be helpful to review the video of the “Levy” group session again.
By Day 4
Post your description of at least three benefits that are evident in the “Levy” group video. Describe ways this group session has been effective in helping the members of the group.
By Day 6
Respond to a colleague who identified a different benefit in the video. Describe how the social worker’s role as leader impacts the effectiveness of group intervention.

Response 1
Alize Mcghee

RE: Discussion 2 – Week 6


From the video that was provided these are six men that are from military. These are men that were from Iraq. They are suffering from going from war to living regular lives with there friends and families. The three benefits to the Levy group are evident. The social worker was able to communicate with each group member. There were also great questions that were between the members; they showed wanting to be improved to more forward in their lives. There was a sense of comfort between the group that allowed everyone to share there experiences and thoughts during the war. The group shows many ways to be effect from there communication and confidence. There was also proper confidentiality in the group, which is helpful when talking about diffuse topics.

Additionally, it was also good to see everyone was at the same level. The effectiveness will increase throughout the sessions due to there sense of trust in the group. It is also noticed that in the group, everyone came from the same background, which was in the military. In the group, although it was short, the social worker showed excellent communication with everyone. The social worker has demonstrated great control over the members. Overall, it was a great session between all the members.


Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Lecturer’s question
Often, the topics of groups or sessions are topics that many have difficulty discussing. Being able to address and foster open dialogue around areas that many would label as “difficult conversations” is crucial to effectively working within the field, however this is an area that many struggle with. How do you manage your own feelings of discomfort while also meeting the client’s needs?

Discussion 2 teacher comment
How might a social worker address negative situations that might have occured in past groups?

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