Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Healthcare Reform is working as planned, with good reason, as it will reduce the (slave/forced) labor force by 2.5 million

 Health Care Law Projected to Cut the Labor Force

WASHINGTON — A Congressional Budget Office analysis released Tuesday predicted that the Affordable Care Act would shrink the work force by the equivalent of more than two million full-time positions.   NY Times 

No, CBO did not say Obamacare will kill 2 million jobs

The Fact Checker had to repeatedly explain that the Congressional Budget Office never said that the Affordable Care Act “killed” 800,000 jobs by 2021. Now, the CBO has released an updated estimate, nearly the triple the size of the earlier one: 2.3 million in 2021.   The Washington Post. FACT CHECKER: The Truth Behind the Rhetoric

Healthcare Reform is working as planned and it's fantastic news for our country and our people.  The CBO (congressional budget office) projects that 2.5 million full-time positions in the next ten years.

Because workers will CHOOSE NOT TO WORK FULL-TIME.

In my educated opinion, this is a totally healthy choice from a mental health and self-care perspective.  So many people feel forced to get and keep jobs that they don't want, are bad for them, and don't even need to be full-time positions.  Probably a third of full-time job hours are spent by employees not working, simply because they have to be there, it's a stable job, and they can't afford to leave the job because they need health care and so do their children and/or spouses.

That's one of the purposes of this reform measure, to reform the system away from this quid-pro-quo situation that is simply taken for granted now.  FT work means benefits and a salary, and that also lots of times means working over-time for no extra pay.  We want people to HAVE more choice so that they AREN'T tied to their jobs because they need healthcare and insurance!

Corporations and the power-brokers in Washington want you to have less choice and to keep you as a slave to their needs.  Opponents of the ACA, who derisively call it Obamacare (namely GOP Republicans) will spin this as bad for "business" and the economy and for people in general.

But, it's fantastic for everyone - individuals, families, children, for the job market, especially job seekers, and anyone who values being able to have control over their own lives.  Congratulations, Americans, we are finally doing what's right and best for us.  Let's keep it up!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ASWB License Exam - Cognitive and Behavioral Theories

From Wikipedia article, Clinical Theories and Interventions:

Behavioral and cognitive behavioral

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) developed from the combination of cognitive therapy and rational emotive behavior therapy, both of which grew out of cognitive psychology and behaviorism. CBT is based on the theory that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion), and how we act (behavior) are related and interact together in complex ways. In this perspective, certain dysfunctional ways of interpreting and appraising the world (often through schemas or beliefs) can contribute to emotional distress or result in behavioral problems. The object of many cognitive behavioral therapies is to discover and identify the biased, dysfunctional ways of relating or reacting and through different methodologies help clients transcend these in ways that will lead to increased well-being.[52] There are many techniques used, such as systematic desensitizationsocratic questioning, and keeping a cognition observation log. Modified approaches that fall into the category of CBT have also developed, including dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.[53]
Behavior therapy is a rich tradition. It is well-researched with a strong evidence base. Its roots are in behaviorism. In behavior therapy, environmental events predict the way we think and feel. Our behavior sets up conditions for the environment to feed back on it. Sometimes the feedback leads the behavior to increase (reinforcement), and sometimes the behavior decreases (punishment). Oftentimes behavior therapists are called applied behavior analysts. They have studied many areas from developmental disabilities to depression and anxiety disorders. In the area of mental health and addictions a recent article looked at APA's list for well-established and promising practices and found a considerable number of them based on the principles of operant and respondent conditioning.[54] Multiple assessment techniques have come from this approach including functional analysis (psychology), which has found a strong focus in the school system. In addition, multiple intervention programs have come from this tradition including community reinforcement and family training for treating addictions, acceptance and commitment therapyfunctional analytic psychotherapyintegrative behavioral couples therapy including dialectical behavior therapy and behavioral activation. In addition, specific techniques such ascontingency management and exposure therapy have come from this tradition.

From elsewhere on my blogger site:

Behavioral Theory / Behaviorism (WATSON, SKINNER)

Behavioral Theory (Behaviorism) , Behaviorism , Behavior Therapy
We practice with human beings in their social environments, so this comment from one of the founding fathers of Behaviorism speaks volumes about the causes of human behavior, as well as methods we can employ to assist them in changing those very things that challenge them:
Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select -- doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. --John Watson, 1930
Behavioral theory is based on the belief that our responses to environmental stimuli shapes our behaviors. There are two major types of conditioning that produce behavior: Operant conditioning - a method of learning that occurs through rewards (reinforcements) and punishments for behavior, and Classical (Pavlovian or Respondent) Conditioning) where a stimulus is paired with a response to produce a behavior. See also Behaviorism on Wikipedia.
Its roots are in behaviorism. In behavior therapy, environmental events predict the way we think and feel. Our behavior sets up conditions for the environment to feed back on it. Sometimes the feedback leads the behavior to increase (reinforcement), and sometimes the behavior decreases (punishment).

Theorists in Behaviorism: Ivan Pavlov , B. F. Skinner , Edward Thorndike , John B. Watson , Clark Hull .

Cognitive Theory (BECK) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / CBT  (MICHENBAUM)

grew out of cognitive psychology and behaviorism.  CBT is based on the theory that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion), and how we act (behavior) are related and interact together.  Dysfunctional ways of interpreting and appraising the world (often through schemas or beliefs) can contribute to emotional distress or result in behavioral problems.  Behavior will follow one’s thoughts and reasoning about the world, so thoughts are the target of change. Therapy might include  worksheets to record distressing cognitions, in order to dispute and reframe them into more realistic, less threatening positive thoughts.  Taking action itself will also in some cases help to disprove unrealistic beliefs that we act on, causing negative consequences for our self-esteem and relationships.  Focus is on making changes in how one thinks and acts.  The object of many cognitive behavioral therapies is to discover and identify the biased, dysfunctional ways of relating or reacting and through different methodologies help clients transcend these in ways that will lead to increased well-being.[50] There are many techniques used, such as systematic desensitizationsocratic questioning, and keeping a cognition observation log. Modified approaches that fall into the category of CBT have also developed, including dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.[51]

ASWB License Exam - Learning Theories

Learning theory may refer to:

Learning theory (education)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 in Norway.
Learning theories are conceptual frameworks that describe how information is absorbed, processed, and retained during learning. Cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences, as well as prior experience, all play a part in how understanding, or a world view, is acquired or changed, and knowledge and skills retained.[1][2]
Behaviorists look at learning as an aspect of conditioning and will advocate a system of rewards and targets in education. Educators who embrace cognitive theory believe that the definition of learning as a change in behavior is too narrow and prefer to study the learner rather than her environment, and in particular the complexities of human memory. Those who advocate constructivism believe that a learner's ability to learn relies to a large extent on what he already knows and understands, and that the acquisition of knowledge should be an individually tailored process of construction. Transformative learning theory focuses upon the often-necessary change that is required in a learner's preconceptions and world view.
Outside the realm of educational psychology, techniques to directly observe the functioning of the brain during the learning process, such as event-related potential and functional magnetic resonance imaging, are used in educational neuroscience. As of 2012, such studies are beginning to support a theory ofmultiple intelligences, where learning is seen as the interaction between dozens of different functional areas in the brain, each with their own individual strengths and weaknesses in any particular human learner.


John Watson (1878–1959) coined the term "behaviorism." Watson believed that theorizing thoughts, intentions or other subjective experiences was unscientific and insisted that psychology must focus on measurable behaviors.[3] For behaviorism, learning is the acquisition of a new behavior through conditioning.


There are two types of conditioning:
Classical conditioning was noticed by Ivan Pavlov when he saw that if dogs come to associate the delivery of food with a white lab coat or with the ringing of a bell, they will produce saliva, even when there is no sight or smell of food. Classical conditioning regards this form of learning to be the same whether in dogs or in humans.[4] Operant conditioning, or radical behaviorism, reinforces this behavior with a reward or a punishment. A reward increases the likelihood of the behavior recurring, a punishment decreases its likelihood.[5]
Behaviorists view the learning process as a change in behavior, and will arrange the environment to elicit desired responses through such devices as behavioral objectives, Competency-based learning, and skill development and training.[6] Educational approaches such as applied behavior analysis, curriculum-based measurement, and direct instruction have emerged from this model.[7]


Cognitive theories grew out of Gestalt psychology, developed in Germany in the early 1900s and brought to America in the 1920s. The German word gestalt is roughly equivalent to the English configuration orpattern and emphasizes the whole of human experience.[8] Over the years, the Gestalt psychologists provided demonstrations and described principles to explain the way we organize our sensations into perceptions.[9]
Gestalt psychologists criticize behaviorists for being too dependent on overt behavior to explain learning. They propose looking at the patterns rather than isolated events.[10] Gestalt views of learning have been incorporated into what have come to be labeled cognitive theories. Two key assumptions underlie this cognitive approach: that the memory system is an active organized processor of information and that prior knowledge plays an important role in learning. Cognitive theories look beyond behavior to consider how human memory works to promote learning, and an understanding of short term memory and long term memory is important to educators influenced by cognitive theory.[11] They view learning as an internal mental process (including insight, information processing, memory and perception) where the educator focuses on building intelligence and cognitive development.[6] The individual learner is more important than the environment.
Once memory theories like the Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model[12] and Baddeley's working memorymodel[13] were established as a theoretical framework in cognitive psychology, new cognitive frameworks of learning began to emerge during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Today, researchers are concentrating on topics like cognitive load and information processing theory. These theories of learning play a role in influencing instructional design.[14] Cognitive theory is used to explain such topics as social role acquisition, intelligence and memory as related to age.


Built on the work of Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner, constructivism emphasizes the importance of the active involvement of learners in constructing knowledge for themselves, and building new ideas or concepts based upon current knowledge and past experience. It asks why students do not learn deeply by listening to a teacher, or reading from a textbook. To design effective teaching environments, it believes, one needs a good understanding of what children already know when they come into the classroom. The curriculum should be designed in a way that builds on what the pupil already knows and is allowed to develop with them.[15] Begin with complex problems and teach basic skills while solving these problems.[16] This requires an understanding of children's cognitive development, and constructivism draws heavily on psychological studies of cognitive development.
The learning theories of John DeweyMarie Montessori, and David Kolb serve as the foundation of constructivist learning theory.[17] Constructivism has many varieties: Active learningdiscovery learning, and knowledge building are three, but all versions promote a student's free exploration within a given framework or structure.[18] The teacher acts as a facilitator who encourages students to discover principles for themselves and to construct knowledge by working to solve realistic problems

See also

ASWB License Exam- Community Development Theories

Related to Group Theories

Also see the article on Community Development

From an article for resident assistants at Evergreen State College

In the field of student affairs and organizational leadership, there are a number of community development theories that may help you better understand the dynamics and changes a community experiences over a period of time. 
The following theories are covered in this section:
  • Group Behavior (Lewin, 1952)
  • Marginality and Mattering (Schlossberg, 1989)
  • The 6 I's of Community Development (Kamhi and Thompson, 1997; Minor & Schroeder, 1998)
  • Stages of Community (Peck, 1987)
  • Group Development (Tuckman, 1965)
    Group Behavior (Lewin, 1952)
    The outcome of Lewin's research in the 1950s can be simplified to this: "People support what they help create." Students are far more likely to accept and support ideas and change if they participated in the decision-making process or helped conceive the idea in the first place.  The implications of Lewin's research for our work in the residence halls is to involve students in the creation and maintenance of their communities.  Essentially, your residents are more likely to want to participate positively to and support the community if they feel they helped to create it. 
    involve residents in the community in a number of ways, including:
    • At the start of the year asking your residents to create a "community covenant" (similar to the covenants you may have created in the classroom)
    • Encouraging residents to participate in campus and housing leadership organizations, like the Greener Organization, NRHH or the Geoduck Student Union
    • Ask residents to help you plan programs! Seek their input for ideas, give them tasks, and encourage them to host events in their spaces
    Marginality and Mattering (Schlossberg, 1989)
    Schlossberg (1989) theorized that the success or failure of a student's transition (e.g. from their hometown to Evergreen) is directly related to the level to which they feel they matter in their new environment. In this model, mattering is the feeling that one belongs and matters to others; marginality is the feeling that one does not fit in. If a student feels they belong in the community or at the institution, Schlossberg proposed they are more likely to be successful and persist in their education. If a student feels marginalized, however, they may be unable to perform at their usual ability level and their success at the institution is compromised. Students who feel marginalized are also more likely to leave the community and/or institution.
    Schlossberg (1989) found students feel like they matter when they are noticed in positive ways and feel cared about, needed and appreciated by others. As a Resident Assistant, you can help students feel like they matter in a number of ways, including:
    • Learn the names and important information about all of your residents within the first few weeks of the term. Being able to recall this information in conversation will make individuals feel like someone at the institution notices them and cares
    • Seek out specific residents for their talents and involve them in the community. For example, "Hey Carol, I noticed your sketches hanging around your room. You're really talented! Can you help me with this poster for an upcoming program?"
    • Talk to residents one-on-one and express care for them when you are concerned about them. This will show someone at the institution cares and notices them.
    The Carnegie Foundation’s Six Principles of Community (1990)
    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching initiated a study on campus communities in 1990. The foundation defined six principles they believed were essential to any college community:

    1. Purposeful: A place where faculty, students, staff and administration share in their living experience to strengthen each resident’s experience. Where each students is encouraged to be creative, not conforming, and inspired to go on learning long after college. Where relationships are formed and grow.
    2. Open: A place where freedom of expression is uncompromisingly protected and civility is powerfully affirmed. Where integrity is expressed through the use of symbols, both written and oral. Where there is freedom of action and speech, but not at the expense of others.
    3. Just: A place where the sacredness of the person is honored and diversity is aggressively pursued. Where prejudicial judgments are rejected, diversity is celebrated, and each member’s needs are taken into consideration. A place where racial, ethical, and religious differences are honored and celebrated.
    4. Disciplined: A place where individuals accept their obligation to the community and where well-adjusted governance procedures guide behavior for the common good. Where residents are informed of appropriate rules/policies and standards so that they can live up to them.
    5. Caring: Where the well being of each member is sensitively supported and where service to others is encouraged. Where residents learn to relate to each other in healthy and appropriate ways. Where residents discover the reality of their dependence on each other and understand the benefits of both giving and the whole overall Residence Life experience.
    6. Celebrative: Where the heritage of the college is remembered and where rituals affirming both tradition and change are widely shared. Where through ceremonies and traditions students gain a sense of belonging to something worthwhile and enduring. Where students feel connected to the campus community as well as their individual hall communities through both formal and informal celebrations.
    You may notice that the six principles influenced Residential and Dining Services' mission statement and Evergreen's Social Contract. These principles help us define what kind of community we would like to create in our collective work.
    The 6 I's of Community Development (Kamhi and Thompson, 1997; Minor & Schroeder, 1998)
    The term authentic community describes one model of a healthy, or true, community. According to this model numerous elements are involved in fostering a sense of authentic community. The most fundamental components include similar interests, common purpose, peer influence, social interaction, stability, and self-determination. Also, community is nurtured when members collaborate to create their own standards and commit themselves to maintaining satisfactory interactions among members through personal contact, not through rules and regulations (Schroeder, 1998).
    Authentic communities are present when the group exhibits the six I's: Introduction, Interaction, Involvement, Influence, Investment, and Identity:
    • Introduction: “When students enter a new community, they are unfamiliar with the physical setting, policies, and practices. Older members of the community, or those in a position of authority, are responsible for welcoming, orienting, and teaching the norms, values and rules of the community, to the new members” (Minor, 1993).
    • Interaction: “Interaction provides residents the opportunity to bond together by sharing common experiences. As students interact, they are exposed to differing levels of development, knowledge, and experiences that allow them to both teach and learn" (Minor, 1998).
    • Involvement: “A true community encourages, expects, and rewards member involvement characterized by a high degree of interaction, with students, not staff, assuming a multitude of roles…Everyone is important and everyone is needed" (Schroeder, 1998).
    • Influence: “Control is vested in members. [Members expect] to develop a social contract whereby group standards are affirmed, both individually and collectively… Students feel important, their perspective is valued, their contributions are essential to the welfare of the group” (Schroeder, 1998).
    • Investment: “Students care about one another and their group” (Schroeder, 1998). Interactions between members are characterized by gentle confrontation. The members appreciate the need for open, honest communication, and rewards are provided
    • Identity: “[Communities] characterized by a high degree of identity are ones that focus on transcendent values. Students in such [groups] have shared symbols. Members describe themselves in collective terms such as we and us, not I and they, thereby reflecting their emphasis on common purposes and unity" (Schroeder, 1998)
    As a Resident Assistant, you help create authentic communities in several ways, including:
    • Welcoming new students into the community and orienting them to the Evergreen campus
    • Role modeling positive and healthy behaviors
    • Providing opportunities for students to interact and build interpersonal relationships
    • Encouraging residents to be involved on-campus
    • Helping your residents create a community covenant
    • Helping your residents develop the skills to confront each other constructively (for example, encouraging a resident to ask their neighbor to turn down the music instead of calling for an RA)
    Stages of Community (Peck, 1987)
    Imagine the concept of each group or organization you’re in as a community.  Individuals function concurrently in many different kinds of communities.  Thinking of each of your formal and informal groups as a community provides a frame for the interdependence of the RA and their residents.  
    Knowing about community, philosophically believing in the worth of community, and being skilled at developing and sustaining community are essential aspects of the RA position.  Realistically, perfect communities rarely happen.  We all live, attend class, work, and learn in imperfect communities, which, when they are striving to be better, become supportive environments for individual and group growth.
    Based on his experience with community building workshops, Peck says that community building typically goes through four stages:
    • Stage One - Pseudocommunity:  In this stage a group may feel like things are just fine, people seem to be getting along, relationships are courteous, but it is in reality a superficial, underdeveloped level of community. Conflict is avoided and seen as wholly negative.
    • Stage Two - Chaos: When pseudocommunity fails to work, the community experiences chaos as different members begin to openly vent their frustrations and disagreements. In this stage, community members realize that differences cannot simply be ignored or conflict avoided. Chaos is a challenging stage that makes many people just want to give up - but really it is the first step towards an authentic community.
    • Stage Three - Emptiness: Community members learn to empty themselves of ego-related factors and embrace the needs of the group. The needs of the individual are balanced with the needs of the community. 
    • Stage Four - Authentic or True Community: In this stage individuals grant each other empathy and understanding. 
    Many groups never get past pseudocommunity and find ways to courteously interact and get their work done.  That may be sufficient for their purposes, but ongoing groups like residents that are doing difficult task of attending college would benefit from recognizing Peck’s stages and work towards “authentic residential community. “
    Residential communities that engage in this developmental process and reach a stage of authentically functioning as a community often error by not recognizing that being a community is a process, not an end state.  Communities are not static - they constantly change! New residents join the group, external crises cause new levels or types of conflict, and key residents leave who had been instrumental to nurturing community.  Communities and RAs must recognize when they need to attend to the cycle of rebuilding a genuine community.
    Group Development (Tuckman, 1965)
    Through understanding the stages of group development, leaders are able to asses the needs, plan the direction and prepare for the future of the group.  Also, understanding the theory of group development aids leaders in determining realistic expectations about group behavior.
    According to the Tuckman Model of Group Development, a group’s growth is:
    • Sequential: Stages occur in a specifically stated order
    • Developmental: Issues and concerns in each stage must be resolved in order for the group to move to the next stage.
    • Thematic: Each stage is characterized by two dominant themes, one reflecting the task dimension and one reflecting the relationship dimension.
    The five stages are as follows:
    • Forming: Task behavior is an attempt to become oriented to the goals and procedures of the group. Relationship issues revolve around resolving dependency issues and testing, which can be sped up by making leadership roles clear and getting the group acquainted.  In this stage, information and structure are critical.
    • Storming:  In this stage, participants are resistant to task demands and members challenge the group's leadership.  Excessive storming leads to anxiety and tension whereas suppressed storming leads to resentment and bitterness.  Leaders should provide clarification about roles and helping the group build conflict management skills are key.
    • Norming: This stage is characterized by cooperation.  Task themes include communication and expression while cohesion is the relationship theme.  Teambuilding efforts increase group unity and increase shared responsibility
    • Performing: At this stage, the group is functioning efficiently to achieve group goals.  Group members will assume roles that are necessary to achieve goals, learning independence with dependence.  It is beneficial to encourage a continued developmental theme for the group to stimulate new problems for their problem solving.
    • Mourning: At this stage, the group comes to the realization that they will not be functioning together as a group for much longer.  Teambuilding efforts should be towards giving the group a sense of closure and allowing the opportunity to reflect on the time spent together.

    ASWB License Exam - Group Theories

    Also see an excellent article called What is a Group? on

    From Social Work with Groups in Wikipedia

    [T]here have been numerous philosophical and theoretical influences on the development of social group work. Chief amongst these influences are the ethics of Judeo-Christian religions; the settlement house movement’s charitable and humanitarian efforts; theories eminent in progressive education, especially those of John Dewey (1910); sociological theories about the nature of the relationship between man and society, i.e. Mead (1934); the democratic ethic articulated by early social philosophers; the psychoanalytic theories of Rank and Freud; the practice wisdom, theory building, educational and research efforts of early social group workers (Alissi, 1980; Kaiser, 1958; Wilson, 1976). Early theoretical, research and practice efforts of Grace Coyle (1930, 1935, 1937, 1947, 1948), Wilber Newstetter (1935), and Neva Boyd (1935) paved the way for the advancement and development of social group work.
    Grace Coyle presented an early theoretical framework for social group work articulating the need for a democratic value base (Coyle, 1935), identifying the role of the worker as a group builder (Coyle, 1937) and noting the benefits of ‘esprit de corps’ or group morale (Coyle, 1930). As the editor of several small group research compendiums Hare (1976) would later point out, “many of her insights about group process were ahead of her time” (p. 388).

    The work of Vinter and Schwartz and their respective associates would dominate the group work scene for much of this decade and the next (Galinsky & Schopler, 1974). In Vinter’s approach (1967) the treatment group is thought of as a small social system “whose influences can be planfully guided to modify client behavior” (p. 4). In this approach the worker takes a central position in providing treatment, interventions are planned, group process is highly structured, and great emphasis is given to outcome evaluation and research (Vinter, 1967; Garvin, 1987; Galinsky & Schopler, 1974). Schwartz (1961) proposed his vision of the small group as an enterprise in mutual aid.
    In 1965 Bernstein and colleagues introduced another social group work practice theory (Bernstein, 1978; Lowy, 1978; Garland, Kolodney & Jones, 1978). The centerpiece of the edited collection was a developmental stage model, known as the Boston Model, which presented a framework for understanding how groups navigate degrees of emotional closeness over time (Bernstein, 1978; Garland, Kolodney & Jones, 1978). In 1966 Papell and Rothman (1966) presented a typology of social group work that included the social goals model (in the tradition of Coyle), the remedial model (as developed by Vinter) and the reciprocal model (as articulated by Schwartz). In 1968 Middleman (1968) made a seminal contribution in articulating an approach to group work practice that utilized non-verbal activities. In 1976 Roberts and Northen presented a collection of ten group work practice theories (Roberts & Northen, 1976) further illustrating the diversity of approaches to group practice.

    The mutual aid model

    The Mutual Aid Model of group work practice (Gitterman, 2004) has its roots in the practice theory proposed by William Schwartz (1961) which was introduced in the article, “The Social Worker in the Group”. Schwartz (1961) envisioned the group as an
    “enterprise in mutual aid, an alliance of individuals who need each other in varying degrees, to work on certain common problems” (p.266).
    Schwartz elaborated:
    “the fact is that this is a helping system in which clients need each other as well as the worker. This need to use each other, to create not one but many helping relationships, is a vital ingredient of the group process and constitutes a need over and above the specific tasks for which the group was formed” (1961, p. 266).
    While referred to as social group work (Papell & Rothman,1966), Schwartz preferred to think of this model as social work with groups (Schwartz, 1976). Schwartz (1976) regarded this approach as resonant with the demands of a variety of group types including, natural and formed; therapeutic and task; open and closed; and voluntary and mandatory. Schwartz (1961, 1964) initially thought of this approach as an organic systems model (as he viewed the group as an organic whole) later to refer to it as the mediating model and then the interactionist model (Schwartz, 1977). The model initially proposed by Schwartz has been further developed most notably by Lawrence Shulman and Alex Gitterman, who have since referred to this model as the Mutual Aid Model (Gitterman, 2004, 2005; Shulman, 1979, 1992, 1999, 2005b).

    [edit]Cognitive-behavioral group work

    The Cognitive-Behavioral Group Work Model is recognized as influential contemporary group work practice approach (Rose, 2004). The approach suggested by Rose (1989, 2004) integrates cognitive and behavioral interventions with small group strategies. While primacy is not placed on establishing the group as a mutual aid system in quite the same way as with the Mutual Aid Model, Rose (2004) suggests the worker promote group discussion and member interaction. Furthermore, drawing upon Yalom’s Therapeutic Factor construct Rose (2004) points out the benefits of universality, altruism, and group cohesion as well as mutual reinforcement, factors which are conceptually resonant with mutual aid.

    Group work with mandated members

    The involuntary client can be understood as someone who is pressured by some external source to seek social services (Rooney and Chovanec, 2004). Mandated involuntary clients are pressured to seek services as a result of the legal system (Rooney & Chovanec, 2004). Rooney and Chovanec (2004) identify reactance theory as an explanatory framework for the attitude and behaviors of the involuntary client and the mandated involuntary client. Reactance theory suggests that as a person is pressured to relinquish certain behaviors as a result of treatment efforts they experience reactance, “a motivational drive to restore those free behaviors” (Rooney & Chovanec, 2004, p. 213). Rooney and Chovanec (2004) suggest an approach that draws upon the Transtheoretical (Stages of Change) Model and Motivational Interviewing in identifying strategies for engaging involuntary clients in the group process.Tom Caplan (2008) suggests the Needs ABC Model.

    From the essay Groups and Group Work by Sean Harte

    What is A Group: Defining Groupwork

    Groups may be defined in many ways, indeed providing an absolute definition of a group, as with much of the theory around group work, is highly problematic and contestable. However for the purposes of discussing groupwork within a context of working with young people we may define a group as a small gathering of young people. Group work may simplistically be described as the study and application of the processes and outcomes experienced when a small group comes together.

    Konopka (1963) defines groupwork as a method of social work that is utilised in order to `help individuals to enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experiences, and to cope more effectively with their personal, group or community problems`. This definition shows a tradition within groupwork of helping individuals with problems. Brown provides a modernised and more comprehensive definition of group work (1994, p.8). He states that `groupwork provides a context in which individuals help each other; it is a method of helping groups as well as helping individuals; and it can enable individuals and groups to influence and change personal, group, organisational and community problems` (original emphasis). He goes on to distinguish between `relatively small and neighbourhood centred` work and `macro, societal and political approaches` within community work, explaining that only the former may be properly classified as groupwork.
    Thus the role of groupwork can be seen as one which places emphasis on sharing of thoughts, ideas, problems and activities.

    Stages of Group Development
    Groups, like individuals are each unique with their own experiences and expectations. However many commentators studying group development and dynamics have recognised that group development, as a generalisation, is more predictable than individual behaviour. Thus many theories of group stage development have been cultivated, some linear, others more cyclical, and it must be stressed that no definitive model of group stage development exists.

    Two of the most useful theories of group stage development are those discussed by Tuckman (1965), and Rogers paper on encounter groups (1967). These models, like others (for example Heap, 1977) propose that as groups develop and change they pass through stages which may be conceptualised. Tuckman’s model has been used extensively within youth work theory and practice and is an excellent model for attempting to analyse individual and group behaviour. A brief synopsis of each stage is outlined below, with examples from personal practice.

    Stage 1: Forming
    The first stage of this group process is joining, referred to as engagement by Rogers. This phase involves significant testing, and trial and error. Initial concerns about openness and support within the group are manifested by a lack of cohesion and a difficulty in sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences with each other. An internal appraisal of group value and how each individual belongs to the group are key features of this stage. Anxiety, isolation, inadequacy and frustration are common emotions felt by group members at this early stage in the life of a group, as well as being emotionally threatened by members of the group who are perceived to be stronger or better. Thus the group seeks to create a comfort zone in which individuals are not keen to upset the status quo for fear of alienation.
    Oppressive behaviour is least likely within the formation stage of a group as individuals generally look to create a comfort zone and do not wish to rock the boat. Often frustrations will be built upon between individuals who disagree strongly, but this will generally not surface until storming begins.
    A knowledge and understanding of the feelings and emotions felt by group members in this stage is helpful, if not essential, to the effective structuring of a programme to work towards the desired outcome for the group. For example both the YAM and PTV groups I had experience with were set up to encourage social interaction and personal development. Having an awareness of group stage theory enabled my colleagues and myself to structure the early encounters for the groups to be;
    a)         fun and enjoyable – to encourage continued attendance;
    b)         relaxed - offering the promotion of effective communication and allowing members to get to know each other a little whilst gaining in confidence and trust.
    To this end ice breakers, introduction and communication exercisers such as those provided by Brandes and Phillips (1979), Bond (1986), Leech and Wooster (1986) and Dearling and Armstrong (1994) were used. As Dynes describes `[games] stimulate the imagination, make people resourceful and help develop social ability and co-operation` (Dynes, 1990).

    Stage 2: Storming
    This stage sees group members begin to confront each other as they begin to vie for roles within the group that will help them to belong and to feel valued. Thus as members begin to assert their individual personalities, the comfort of the forming stage begins to come under siege. Members experience personal, intra and inter group conflicts. Aggression and resentment may manifest in this stage and thus if strong personalities emerge and leadership is unresponsive to group and individual needs, the situation may become destructive to the group’ s development. Indeed there is a high potential for individuals to abandon the group during this stage, as for some the pressures created by the group may become too much of a strain.
    The potential for oppressive behaviour is strong within the storming phase as group members vie for preferred roles and release frustrations built within the forming period. This personal oppression should be discouraged whilst it is understood that a degree of conflict is necessary if the group is to further develop.
    In the YAM group this stage was represented by a rebellious streak within the young people and much of the storming was directed towards the adult leaders. Boundaries within the group were tested as the group explored how far they would be allowed to go and what they could get away with. One or two individuals in turn challenged this behaviour as they felt it was unfair and could jeopardize future activities.
    The PTV group’s storming phase was altogether different. Two of the group with strong personalities began to vie for intra-group leadership. Each used their own abilities to strengthen their claim to lead the group, whilst also sabotaging and undermining the other’s efforts in an attempt to usurp the leadership role. This situation caused a degree of infighting and at one point created two sub-groups, one following each of the `pretender` leaders.
    It is important to be aware that conflict will take place within all groups, and if handled well this conflict can produce benefits for the group in terms of development, objective and task setting, and ultimate outcome. Thus conflict is not inherently something to be feared or avoided.

    Stage 3: Norming
    During this stage the group begin to work more constructively together towards formal identified or informal tasks. Roles begin to develop and be allocated within the group and although these may be accepted, some members may not be comfortable with the role or roles which the have been allocated. During this stage sub-groups are likely to form in order that a supportive environment is once more created. Acceptable and unacceptable behaviours within the group are created and reinforced and thus the `norms` for this group become fabricated.
    The storming and norming phases of group development are inextricably linked, as it is often through the storming and challenging that acceptable group norms become set.
    It is important that a youth worker works hard during this stage to ensure oppression against individuals within the group do not become the acceptable norm, as then all group members will oppress these individuals. Thus, individual oppressions must be challenged and emphasis placed on challenging attitudes and opinions but not group members.
    The YAM group settled into group norms quite quickly, however some of the roles that were adopted were challenged by the co-leaders as they were seen to be obstructive to the group and individual’s objectives. One young person (J.) who was often badly behaved at school, was previously known to other group members. As these young people expected poor behaviour from J. this was the role which he adopted. This was challenged within the group context and it was pointed out that alternatives to this behaviour were available.

    Stage 4: Performing
    This stage sees the group performing effectively with defined roles, in fact at this stage it could be said that the group has transformed into a team. It is now that decisions may be positively challenged or reinforced by the group as a whole. The discomfort of the storming and norming phases has been overcome and the group has a general feeling of unity. This is the best stage for a group to complete tasks, assuming that task, rather than process and individuals, are the focus of the group.
    An excellent example of performing within the PTV group came during a residential week. One of the group (A.) admitted to a fear of heights and thus did not want to take part in an abseiling exercise. The whole group supported this decision but offered encouragement and support in order to promote participation. One individual (M.) spent time and energy showing leadership and helped A. to overcome his fears. A. took part in the abseil, being assisted by M. and encouraged by the whole group.
    Potential exists within this stage for oppression to begin if one or more group members does not appear to fit in with the group’s view of its task, or is not performing as effectively as expected. Again it is important to challenge this if it occurs and to show how each member can benefit the group, through achievement of task, leadership, reviewing, moving on, or by monitoring the groups process.

    Stage 5: Mourning
    The final stage in the life of a group ultimately is its termination. Though often overlooked, this stage in group development is equally important to positive outcomes. The ending of a group can be a very unhappy and distressing time for some members, as they may feel some extent of dependency on the group. Garlandet al. describe some of the typical responses to the ending phase as:
    ·        Denial – `forgetting` the time of the groups termination.
    ·        Regression – reverting to a less independent state of functioning.
    ·        Need expression – in the hope the group will continue.
    ·        Recapitulation – detailed recall of past experiences within the group.
    ·        Evaluation – detailed discussion on the value of the group experience.
    ·        Flight – destructive denial of any positive benefit of the group, or a positive disengagement towards other interests.

    Potential exists within this stage for members to be oppressed as scapegoats, that is blamed or at fault for the ending of the group. This can be minimised by constant focusing and refocusing on group end points and staged celebrations of group achievements.
    With the PTV group it was relatively easy to develop strategies to minimise the effects of the groups termination. The group’s life span was structured to a tight time-scale and end point from the outset. This was reinforced by getting the group to maintain a counting down chart which was marked off each day. The end of the group was marked by a large presentation to which friends and relatives were invited. The presentation marked a clear ending for the group from day one, whilst also serving as a celebration of all the groups achievements during its existence. Thus the end did not come as a `surprise`, and was something to look forward to.
    As we have seen the value of a theoretical understanding of conceptualising this group stage theory in youth work and other helping professions, lies in enabling group workers to `tune into the group’s processes and respond appropriately` (Preston-Shoot, 1987).

    Group Leadership (and Types) 
    Effective groups should promote the value of all of its constituent members. One of the keys to establishing this end is competent leadership.
    Leadership can be and has been defined in many ways.  It is seen as ` the act of commanding and directing, the actions of leaders, the process by which groups achieve their goals, the antithesis of followership` (Sessoms and Stevenson, 1981, p. 5). Leadership can be seen as the act of `moving people towards goal achievement`, and may be viewed as an interaction between leaders, followers and goals (see Fig. 1, above), thus it may be described as a process (Sessoms andStevenson, ibid). Fig. 1. - Source: Sessoms and Stevenson (1981)
    So `In a broad sense, leadership may be described as influence` (Barker et al, 1979, p. 224), thus the individual who will often be seen as the leader of a youth group, that is the adult, often may in fact not be the most influential member of the group.
    Effective leadership depends on the balancing of the three variables in diagram Fig. 2. (left), thus the groups task, individual needs and group maintenance must all be considered.

    Fig. 2. - Source: Adapted from John Adair (1988) Effective Leadership
    Fundamentally within youth work we must recognise the `possibility of all members contributing to the process by which groups seek and achieve goals` (Barker et al, 1979, p. 226-229). Thus leadership is a dynamic variable and any `person who performs actions which move a group toward its goal and/or maintain the group more frequently and more effectively than other group members` may be identified as group leaders (Barker et al, 1979, ibid.).

    Leadership is often described within a context of three differing styles, laissez faire, democratic and autocratic (or authoritarian).
    Simplistically the three styles can be described as;

    Laissez faire – letting members do pretty much as they please without the leader offering judgement on other members decisions. This works best when a well functioning group, i.e. one than may be in a performing phase, is working towards a well defined task. This method is exceptionally difficult if more than a handful of group members are present and is often used within sub-groups developed to perform specific sub-tasks. For example the PTV team would use this style for brainstorming specific ideas for projects, as the non-judgemental attitude facilitated more group responses.

    Democratic – consultation and discussion takes place before decisions are made. This allows group members to have their say but does not guarantee that these feelings will be acted upon. This style is an ideal method of leadership within youth work as the group is more likely to contribute to the decision making process and also the group is more likely to buy-in to decisions which are made. Again this style works best with smaller groups, the larger the group the longer the decision making processes will tend to become. It is often preferable to separate a very large group into sub-groups to ensure all have a chance to input into decision making and then reconvene all group members into a plenary session where all ideas can be fed back and shared, resulting in an ultimate group decision. This style was used within the PTV group in order to achieve a shared sense of belonging within the group and to get all the members to `buy-in` to completing the tasks in hand.

    Autocratic or authoritarian – one leader is the sole person involved in making decisions within the group, the information is passed on to the group rather than options being discussed openly. This is a style that I have personally seldom used as it is not ideal for achieving the educational aims of youth work. However I am aware that very large groups may find an autocratic leader can speed up a decision making process. This can be important when issues such as the group’s physical safety are involved, for example if a group is on expedition on the side of a mountain and the weather becomes rough, it may become necessary to enforce a quick decision to retreat, to ensure group safety. The process of this decision making can then be evaluated and debated once the group is in a safe setting.

    Roles within Groups
    Each individual within a group has a role to play in the development of that group to a greater or lesser extent. Through observation, understanding of difference, awareness of personal resources and effectivecommunication (Douglas, 1995), each member may affect group processes and individual emotions. Roles develop within groups both through formal appointment and because of the personal characteristics and interpersonal relationships that develop between members. Roles which develop can be constructive and support the group and its members in achieving its goals, or can be destructive and work against the overall group aims. Individuals within the group can develop several roles and at times these may conflict. For example a PTV member who was designated as leader for a specific task, also played a clown and was fond of practical jokes. The fooling around led to a lack of trust from other group members creating a conflict with the leadership role.

    As the group begins to develop an understanding of four things can be observed:

    Observation: the way we behave is based upon what we observe of ourselves, and what we make of others and their reactions to us.

    Differences: personally and socially generated; the effects they have on behaviour and understanding.

    Resources: frequently stemming from difference but are the source of potential power for a group and an individual.
    Communication: considered to be natural but subject to many barriers that remain largely unknown unless a conscious effort is made to find them:
    (Douglas, 1995, p. 80-97) 
    Through supportive roles, groups may play a part in reducing oppression generated externally to the group. Groupwork can be used as a medium for oppressed groups to `help these groups adjust in society`, and moreover to help society to adjust towards these groups. This can be achieved by `individual rehabilitation` in which we can `help individuals to adjust to social life and manage … tension … gain confidence, high self esteem`, and in `getting and keeping employment etc.`. `Societal or community rehabilitation` involves `helping the society to have meaningful contact` with individuals and groups which are discriminated against and oppressed (Osei-Hwedie, Mwansa, and Mufune, 1990, p. 188).

    Preston-Shoot describes groupwork creating a `sense of belonging and mutual identity` encouraging `the formation of relationships which foster mutual identification and influence`, thus feelings of isolation and singularity with issues of difference and oppression may be reduced. Also, the group may be encouraged to use its internal resources to move towards individual or group `problem-resolution`, reducing feelings of helplessness, building self worth, and discouraging worker dependency (Preston-Shoot, 1987, p. 6-28). Smith concurs with this view of the suitability of groupwork, stating `Groups are obvious sites of interaction and within them a sense of connectedness or community with others can be fostered` (Smith, 1994, p.111). This `connectedness` is a valuable tool with which to challenge discrimination and oppression, for as Piven and Cloward argue, it is only when we act collectively that change can begin (Piven and Cloward, 1993).

    Conclusion: Group Work – Double Edged Sword?
    To state that group work is not an exact science is something of an understatement. As we have seen, it is problematic to even define what is meant by a group as no absolute definition exists. Similarly most, if not all, concepts within group work theory can be, and are, contested.

    Groups are extremely important in the lives of all individuals. Johnson and Johnson (1975, p1-2) state `many of our goals can be achieved only with the cooperation and coordination of others`.
    However `the success of any group depends on the ability of its members to exchange ideas freely and to feel involved in the life and decisions of the group` (Massallay, 1990). All groups within youth work have goals, i.e. a future state of affairs. It is important that short term and long term goals are set realistically if the group is to develop and function effectively. These functions are achieved through the direction of leadership and the development of individual roles within each group.