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Socially Just Practice in Groups

Socially Just Practice in Groups
A Social Work Perspective

Group Counseling

January 2019 | 324 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Socially Just Practice in Groups: A Social Work Perspective comprehensively covers all aspects of group practice in social work settings, integrating a unique social justice framework throughout. Drawing from their experience as group work practitioners, authors Robert Ortega and Charles D. Garvin walk readers through the basics of group practice, including getting started, doing group work, establishing the purpose, roles and tasks of the group, stages and phases of practice, and specific skills in assessment, monitoring, and evaluation. A social justice framework provides a fresh perspective during an era of widespread social change and provides social workers tools for effective group interventions. Chapters contain detailed case examples to illustrate concepts presented, as well as exercises to help students practice skills.
Section 1: Historical, and Conceptual Approaches to Group Work and Social Justice
Chapter 1: What Is a Socially Just Approach to Group Work?
Defining Social Justice  
Social Justice Practice Principles  
Purpose and Goals  
Member Relevance and Social Identities  
Norms and Socially Just Participation  
Group Leadership  
Group Development and Process  
Practice Dimensions  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 2: History of Group Work
The Emergence of Group Work: 1861 to 1927  
Clarification of the Method: 1928 to 1946  
The Diffusion of Practice: 1947 to 1963  
The Move to the Concept of a Generic Method: 1964 to 1979  
The Revitalization of Group Work: 1979 to 2000  
Recommitments to Social Justice, Empirical Practice, and New Approaches: 2003 to Present  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 3: Knowledge for Practice
Group Culture  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 4: Models of Group Work and Relationship to Social Justice
Social Goals  
Cognitive-Behavioral Group Work  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 5: Group Purposes
Purpose and Social Justice  
Leadership and Purpose  
A Typology of Purposes  
Social Justice Issues Related to Purposes  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 6: Values and Ethics
Cultural Humility  
Shared Leadership  
Additional Ethical Issues in Group Work Practice  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 7: Roles, Tasks and Critical Consciousness
Roles, Norms, and Statuses  
Group Tasks and Functions  
Agreements (AKA Ground Rules)  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 8: Leadership
Social Justice Leadership Processes  
Social Justice and Leadership Skills  
Social Justice Visioning  
Knowledge and Skills  
Critical Analysis  
Safety Monitoring During Conflict  
Leadership and Power  
Leadership and Following  
Leadership and Co-Facilitation  
Questions for Discussion  
Section 2. Doing Group Work for Social Justice
Chapter 9: Group Processes and Development
Is There Such a Thing as Phases or Stages?  
Stages Usually Referred to in Group Work Literature  
Problems in Application of the Concepts of Phases and Stages  
Events That Affect Group Development  
Social Justice and Group Development  
The Role of the Practitioner in Group Development  
Further Strategies for Enhancement of Group Development  
Resources That Enhance Development  
Strengthening Awareness of Social Justice/Injustice  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 10: Assessment
What Is Assessment?  
Role of Assessment in a Social Justice Model  
Compatibility With Strengths-Based Perspective  
Sources of Qualitative Information for Assessment  
Sources of Quantitative Data in Assessment  
Measures of Group Processes  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 11: Preparation for the Group Meeting
Group Purpose  
Environmental Issues in Planning for a Group  
Needs Assessment  
Role of the Agency in the Pre-Group Phase  
Compositional Issues  
Pre-Group Meetings With Members/Preparing Members for Groups  
Preparing the Setting  
Tuning In  
Type of Group  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 12: Group Beginnings - Formation
Implications for Social Justice  
Handling Offensive Behaviors and Taboo Subjects  
Group Tasks in Initial Phase  
Dealing With Other Miscellaneous Transition Nuances  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 13: Approaches to Achieving Different Purposes
A Typology of Group Purposes  
Social Justice Issues Related to Purposes  
Group Programs and Processes That Help Members Attain the Purposes  
Resistance to Social Control  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 14: Activities
Use of an Analytic Framework  
Use of Spontaneous Events  
Activities Involving Physical Challenges and New Physical Fields  
Activities Involving Music  
Activities Involving Art  
Activities Involving Games  
Activities Involving Drama  
Activities for Various Types of Issues  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 15: Task Groups
Social Justice in Task Groups  
Similarities and Differences Between Individual Change and Task Groups  
Pre-Group Tasks  
Group Formation Tasks  
Goal Pursuit Tasks  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 16: Environmental Change
Rationale for Environmental Change  
Selection of Environmental Targets  
Choosing the Organizational Level  
Strategies for Environmental Change  
Environmental Change Activities in Which Members as Individuals May Engage  
Environmental Change Activities for Either a Member or the Whole Group  
Environmental Change Activities for the Group  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 17: Termination and Endings
Meaning of Endings  
Social Justice Issues in Endings  
Worker Tasks  
Understand and Cope With Feelings  
Maintain Changes  
Unique Skills in Variety of Circumstances  
Utilize New Services  
Reduce Cohesion  
Special Termination Issues  
Questions for Discussion  
Chapter 18: Evaluation
Evaluation Design  
Analysis of Data  
Dissemination of Data  
Social Justice and Evaluation  
Evaluation of Individual Change of Members  
Evaluation of Changes in Group Conditions  
Questions for Discussion  


Instructor Resource Site

Free online resources for instructors accompany this text on a password-protected Instructor Resource Site.

  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation.
  • Class activities reinforce active learning through individual and group projects.
  • Quizzes containing multiple choice and true/false questions effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.

“This text reflects a unique take on group work, presenting social justice as a key endeavor of work with all types of groups. It provides foundational information about group types, development, and practice within a framework, which emphasizes the need for attention to social justice at each level. It is easy to read and practically oriented."

Stacy Gherardi
New Mexico State University

"Long overdue, this text brings social justice into the forefront as an organizing principle of group work practice."

Joanne Whelley
Barry University

"This is a text I’ve been looking for. It incorporates social justice into group work and in this era we need to emphasize the many forms privilege and oppression can take."

Michelle Bechen
Loras College
Key features


  • A unique social justice framework is used to examine all aspects of group practice and highlights this important value of the profession.
  • Detailed case examples and exercises illustrate concepts and help students develop their skills. 
  • An emphasis on research supports an evidence-based approach to practice.
  • Chapter-ending summaries and discussion questions help students review content covered and reinforce learning through activities.

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ISBN: 9781412995108