Practice in Health and Social Care or Children and
Young People’s Settings
1.1 Analyse the impact of theories and models on group work practice
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.
1.2 Explain how to form and maintain a cohesive and effective group
Groups, like individuals are each unique with their own experiences and expectations. However many commentators studying group development and dynamics have