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Module 7: Social work tools with individuals and groups

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1 Module 7: Social work tools with individuals and groups
Training Kit : Personalised Social Support 2012 Module 7: Social work tools with individuals and groups Approximate duration: 1.5 hours References for this module: Margot Phaneuf, ‘’The Sociogram’’, accessed on-line at: Linda Zimmerman, ‘’Family sociograms’’, accessed on-line at Mike Walker, ‘’Self-advocacy and self-determination’’, powerpoint presentation accessed on-line at: ‘’Where conflict may arise during the five stages of group development’’, accessed on-line at: “Social work practice settings: individuals, families, groups and communities”, powerpoint presentation, access on-line at: Shirin Kiani and Annie Lafrenière (Technical Resources Division) Handicap International

2 Overview Individual and small group level Creating a Sociogram
Advocacy: focus on self-advocacy Social work with groups CONTENT: This module reviews a variety of different tools that you can use at different points of your work, specifically with individuals and groups. The next section of the training kit (module 9 onwards) will focus on Personal social support skills. The tools for individuals/groups presented in this lecture will be: -Sociograms, to represent the social network of a person or group -Advocacy (with a focus on self-advocacy), key to empowerment -Groups initiatives

3 A diagram representing a person’s or group’s social network
Sociograms CONTENT: Sociogram is a word that fuses social and diagram. It is a visual diagram that represents the social networks or relationships that a person has within their family and in relation to the community. We draw them out because they remind us of the human resources and networks that we have and how those resources can be mobilized to support a person/their family. Unless we are aware of these links, it is hard to remember to use them all! Regarding the systemic approach (see module 3), the sociogram is one method of appreciating the family and community links that exist, as well as the strength of those linkages. A diagram representing a person’s or group’s social network

4 Pattern of relationship in a family
Family Sociograms CONTENT: To understand sociograms we will focus first on developing a sociogram for a person’s family, as this is the most immediate environment of a person and the first one we need to understand the linkages within. After you have done family sociograms, you can practice doing sociograms for a person in their greater community. (ref: Linda Zimmerman, Oakton Community College) Pattern of relationship in a family

5 Content of sociogram Circles with names inside: big or small, representing the different members of a family based on the importance they have in family. Lines between the circles: solid or dashed lines representing the strong or wear links between family members, can be of different color if link is negative. Arrows pointing one or both ways: showing whether relationship is reciprocal or only one-way where one person is providing and other person is not allowed/able to give back. Mother Sister CONTENT: This slide presents the 3 elements that are part of a sociogram. INTERACTION: The trainer can ask the group to explain what they think the arrows listed mean and what the size of the bubbles mean, so they can understand and later draw their own sociogram.

6 What a sociogram looks like
Dislike Strong Weak Reciprocal One-way Dad Mom Grandmom INTERACTION: The trainer can ask participants what they notice about this diagram and this family (this sociogram will be analyzed in the coming slides) Older Brother Me

7 When creating a sociogram, think…
What are the connections between the people in this family? Who is the leader? Who is isolated from the family? What are the alliances? Who do they not get along with who? Is the family united or divided? CONTENT: Drawing the sociogram is the first step, but the most important step is to look at it and analyze what it means and how to support the person to choose how/who to interact with in their life. The above questions are good ones to think of when looking at the sociogram you’ve drawn.

8 Once again… Mom is the leader and connected with everybody
Dad isolated and only connected with mom There is difficulty between dad and grandma which may affect the group Dad Mom Grandmom CONTENT: here are some potential interpretation of the sociogram shown in the previous slides. Older Brother Me

9 Create a sociogram of your family
It’s your turn… Create a sociogram of your family INTERACTION: Trainer ensures that all participants have a blank sheet of paper and pen and allows about 15 minutes for each of them to create a sociogram of their own family.

10 Evaluate your sociogram…
What circles did you draw first? How do the sizes of the circles compare to each other? Who is larger, and who is smaller? Why do you think you drew them that way? How are the circles placed in relation to each other (close, far away, on top, below, or next to each other)? Did you erase or change anything, why? CONTENT: once again, some more questions to consider for the way you started to draw your own sociogram, that might also explain the relationships in your family further!

11 Follow-up exercise at home
Ask one member of your family to draw their own versions of the sociogram without seeing yours first. Do other people’s versions resemble with your version? Why? Why not? What have you learned? CONTENT: This is a good exercise to do, to see the differences in perception in a family and how the different perceptions may impact the way people behave towards each other. ** The sociogram can also be used for working teams. If participants are all coming from the same team, you can also have this exercise done regarding their working relations with their peers, and have them compare results **

12 With a focus on self-advocacy
CONTENT: These next slides will present most common skills that people with disabilities need on their road to empowerment and focus mostly on advocacy and, for the purpose of this training kit, on self-advocacy.

13 Advocacy Add+voice = advocacy
Can happen at individual, local, national, international levels Goal is to create new policy, change bad policies or implement policies. Not just single action, series of actions (e.g. letters, meetings, street advocacy/strike, press release/media, join committee). CONTENT: Advocacy comes from the fusion of the words ADD and VOICE. It means to add a voice to an issue. It I can be an individual voice but is often more effective if it is a group voice. In some places the slogan ‘All are welcome’ is used (to include, women, minorities, PWD) but often people with disabilities are unable to participate in: Education, Social events, Employment, Health care, Transportation. It is important to acknowledge this, identify the reasons it is happening and work to change it. This is why advocacy is important. Advocacy can happen at an individual level where a person is advocating to reduce discrimination on a specific situation that relates to them in a specific setting or with a specific group of people. Often times, advocacy can happen at local, national levels where people face similar discrimination and want an issue to be exposed on a larger scale. Advocacy has a goal of improving people’s lives, not just to create noise. Improving lives is through getting the right policies in place (new policies or changing old policies) and ensuring these policies are implemented! Advocacy on an issue rarely is successful by a one time affair, it usually requires a series of actions in a planned manner and well spaced, to have a long term impact. Advocacy is a broad field and we will focus on how to develop SELF-ADVOCACY in the people we work with as this is the most important thing, for people with disabilties to be able to speak on their needs themselves. This is the most related to personal empowerment.

14 Knowing what you need and being able to ask for it.
What is self-advocacy? Knowing what you need and being able to ask for it. Speak up, voice your opinion Take responsibility for your equality in society CONTENT: Self-advocacy essentially is the ability people have to speak up, voice their opinion, and take responsibility for being equal within society. INTERACTION: The trainer asks participants 2 questions : Have you ever had to request something in a situation where they felt discriminated against or that they was unfair situation?! ( few examples : not being admitted to a school based on a discrimination on ethnicity, you don’t get the job because they’re a women and they say it’s dangerous, 2 colleagues with the same experience, etc.) How easy it was to speak up on someone’s own need, is it easier to speak on someone else’s behalf. And WHY ? (image : noble rather than someone wining) Depending on how the discussion goes, here are a few questions to dig deeper into the personal experience of advocacy. Ask people to speak about how easy/difficult it was to speak up on one’s own needs? Did other people listen or ignore them? Did any change come out of this? Would they have done anything differently? Also the trainer can use a personal experience of advocacy where they had to speak up to received fair treatment e.g. in a government office when waiting to get support. 14

15 More on Self-Advocacy:
Based on the concept of fairness not want. Communicating about the importance of an issue or law to people who are in a position to change it Although self-advocacy is a personal quest, the practice of self-advocacy may result in becoming an advocate for others. CONTENT: In this slide are a few more principles of self advocacy, as an approach based on rights and what is fair, not what is nice to do. It uses good strategy and thinking to approach those who can change the situation. Sometimes self-advocates learn to represent other people who have a similar issue but less of a voice. First most people must practice being self-advocates.

16 Self-advocacy and empowerment: go hand in hand
People who effectively self-advocate are also more likely to be employed, earn more, have their own savings, and live on their own. CONTENT: Self-advocacy is an important part of social work and can start in someone’s own home during the early stages when they are working on gaining empowerment. People who self-advocate (different from complaining) - as it provides solutions and good arguments - usually end up with a higher quality of life than before. (Ref: Wehmeyer and Schwartz, 1997) 16

17 How can a social facilitator encourage self-advocacy in others?
What is your role? INTERACTION: The trainer can ask participant to think about what their role is in helping other recognize their rights and the supports they need. How can they encourage people with disabilities to speak up for themselves, rather than relying on others. Potential answers could include: Help people learn about the impact of disability and recognize their strengths, skills, rights and support needs. Help people learn to express an opinion. Encourage people to take risks and make mistakes but also help people learn from those mistakes Other answers are provided in the next slides.

18 Help people think about these questions:
Do you understand how your impairment impacts you? What has been your experiences with society’s perception towards your disability ? Can you explain the impact to people around you? Do you know what things help you do a good job or to participate? Can you ask for these things from other people? Coworker? Family? Someone in the community? CONTENT: The most important way to get someone to learn how to self-advocate is to make them passionate about their own life, about what their situation is and what it could and should be. It is important to also share examples of people who exercise their rights and that it is not a shameful thing to do, that only trouble makers are known for. To be able to get someone to appreciate their life situation, you need to ask them to think deeply about the above questions. INTERACTION: The trainer invites participants to think of examples of things people can advocate for and ask for. Answers are given in the next slide. 18

19 Advocating for what you need:
Examples: Asking a public school to have an accessible doorway Asking the post office to put larger signs Asking for equal treatment in a health centre Asking your family to include you when attending social events CONTENT: above are all valid requests you can make to different community members and people in power as to why something excludes you and/or suggest what could be done. Other examples : Result on an exam at school, doing some good work but somebody else getting credit for it, etc. INTERACTION: The trainer can ask participants what they think are the main reasons people do not advocate for themselves? Possible answers are provided in the next slide (barriers to self-advocacy) 19

20 Barriers to self-advocacy
Feeling quiet and too shy to speak Wanting to be nice to everybody Feeling frustrated and ready to explode Having too many thoughts and feelings, not knowing where to start Not wanting to draw attention to your needs and be seen as problematic Thinking no one will understand or care CONTENT: in a lot of cultures, advocacy is seen as complaining and being problematic and it is seen as better as being silent. Please do not mix up advocacy with complaining, as advocacy highlights a problem, but should also be presented with some solutions and openness to work together to improve the situation. With a solution-oriented approach, you do not need to be ashamed to advocate. Note also that most of the barriers mentioned above are internal barriers to the person. There may also be external barriers which will be important to identify. 20

21 A successful self-advocate is…
Aware of his/her strengths and limitations Has a sense of purpose/sense of fairness or justice Can seek out information, resources or persons Is organized and can problem solve Can argue one’s case clearly with controlled emotion Knows who is opposed and what people in power think Has a clear message and wants a clear outcome CONTENT: Here are qualities to help different people to develop, so that their self-advocacy is successful in getting them what they want.

22 Social work with small groups
CONTENT: the next slides will talk about the value of social work with groups of people, and explain why we work with group, what kind of groups you can work with and how to work with them. Why work with small groups? What kinds of groups How to work with groups

23 Why work with groups? What is your role INTERACTION:
The trainer can ask participants to think about the benefits and the need to work not only with individual and their environment but also to work with groups of people. Why would a group approach be beneficial in some situations? What is the social facilitator’s role when working with a group? Answers provided in the next 2 slides. What is your role

24 Individuals vs. groups Human beings are strongly dependent on interactions with other humans. This often leads to group formation (in/formal) good for individual and social development Social work practice with groups builds on the important impact of groups on individuals and utilizes group processes to accomplish individual and group goals. CONTENT: as social beings, many of us will always be part of different groups and these groups can be useful to our growth, in this way the social worker needs to be aware of the different groups in their area and how these can be used to positively support different types of individuals. Social work with group is an orientation and method of social work intervention in which small numbers of people who share similar interests or common problems convene regularly and engage in activities designed to achieve certain objectives. The individual remains the focus of concern, and the group the vehicle of growth and change.

25 Benefits of social group work
For individuals: Development of effective communication skills and coping skills Development of problem-solving techniques For the group: People in a group are mutually helpful to each other; empowerment through helping others. Many individuals may have similar needs/goals Links between good group functioning and social functioning CONTENT: There are several benefits listed above. The main reason a group is used in social work is the mutual help given from person to person, which is greatly empowering, as you are getting a hand up you are also giving a hand up to someone else. At the same time, personal social support and group support can happen at the same time.

26 Some types of groups… Educational groups Socialization groups
Support / Self-help groups Therapeutic groups (*) CONTENT: Groups can have a focus on TREATMENT or on TASKS. For the treatment part, the purpose is to work on group members behaviors, attitudes, to help solve personal problems, cope with stress, etc. The tasks group targets the achievement of a goal, or the implementation of a specific change in the group itself. Whatever the focus chosen, social facilitators should ensure that the target fits with the individuals brought together, and that s/he has sufficient skills to organize and facilitate the group. Here are different types of groups (not exhaustive): Educational Groups : emphasizes group task assignments and opportunities for interaction and idea exchanges. For these kind of groups, we often invite a person/professional with training and expertise in the topic area. Socialization Groups: small informal group designed to help people better understand how to establish and maintain close and gratifying relationships, especially appropriate for individuals who are interested in working on interpersonal issues and skills (e.g., connecting with others, communicating effectively, expressing your feelings, supporting others, asserting yourself, and getting feedback about how you come across to others). These groups seek to stimulate behavior change, increase social skills and self-confidence, and encourage motivation. They can take different forms (sport game, cooking class, etc.) Support/Self-Help Groups: These emphasize on mutual aid and interdependence, personal involvement, face-to-face interaction, and an active role in responding to the needs of other group members. They are usually self-led by their members. Therapeutic Groups: These groups require skilled professional leadership, and bring together participants with intensive personal or emotional problems. The activity can vary from a group to the other (discussion, etc.), but should be planed and facilitated by a professional.

27 Social facilitator role, with groups
Facilitate the group (depending on the type of group chosen) Help link the group with community resources Helping promote fairness and good group functioning Help group manage conflict and continue to move forward Provide group tools and methods to achieve goals. Etc. CONTENT: Just as you do with an individual, your approach to working with a group should be through an enabling relationship for the goal of empowerment -do not create dependency attitudes by being overly involved and trying to influence decisions of group, etc. It is best for the social facilitator not to create groups themselves as these are rarely sustainable (unless it is a group defined in time – for example a specific number of meetings, and/or just 1 or 2 activities for a specific purpose). If it is meant to be a long term group, ideally the group needs to come together because IT REALLY wants to exist and has a purpose and goal. If possible, the social facilitator is best to get involved with a group shortly after it has formed, to see it’s development from the beginning. However, as mentioned above, the social facilitator can choose to group people together and help mobilize them as a group (instead of just individuals) for their similar cause (socialization, sharing, discussion, etc.), but the formalizing of the group (with a plan, activities and leadership) will need to be done by individuals in the group themselves.

28 Groups characteristics
Mixed or similar members People with and without disabilities Short term or long term Focus on therapy or task Small or large size Open or closed Structured or unstructured Purposes: Information sharing, self-expression/sharing, achieve goals/activities, socializing, advocacy (upon type of group chosen) CONTENT: Groups can greatly vary and it is very important that the social facilitator be able to understand the type of group he/she is dealing with and the kind of support that group will need. mixed groups vs, groups with similar members: in a mixed group, the disagreements may be more as difference of opinion may exist, this can be work to overcome but will likely make the group a richer one that has broad perspectives. If a group is TOO different, it may be important for it to find a way to redefine it’s inclusion criteria, so that it can function. A similarly membered group may get along better, but their perspective may be more narrow as member think alike and have similar needs. Short or long term: short term groups have some clear, time limited goals and may end up achieving more in a defined time. Long term groups may have a less defined purpose or one that will move closer. Nevertheless, all groups should re-evaluate themselves after 6 months or 1 year to see if it is still worthwhile to exist. It should not be assumed that all groups need to be present for the long term and may be there for support each other during a DIFFICULT situation only. Therapeutic versus focussed on tasks (see previous slide : types of groups) Small vs. large: smaller groups leave more room for discussion, but then active participation of member is more important, large groups involve many people, whose interest will vary, and there will be more people to choose from for various positions. Groups that are too large will not satisfy all members and be difficult to achieve activities. Larger groups are better as information and sharing groups, rather than activity/goal oriented groups. Open or closed: depends on the membership needed and if the initial groups wants to stay as it was upon formation. Structure or unstructured, depends on the goal of the group, if it an unstructured support group that meets to share experience/feeling/information, it can be more informal. But a group with clear goals (e.g. savings credit group) may need more structure and organization to succeed. PURPOSE: this is the most important of all, a group needs to exist because it has a purpose, and not the opposite, to have a purpose because it exists. Purposes can vary and need to be clearly agreed by members, to ensure good participation and ownership.

29 Examples of groups: DPOs (disabled persons groups) Family
Play groups for children Savings/micro-finance group Support group for parents of children with disabilities Information groups to arrange basic training/information for members. CONTENT: Here are a few examples of different groups.

30 Group (long-term and formal) success will depend on:
Structure/Rules: A FEW, clear and well developed RULES will help the group function better. Leadership: that respects others and helps the group achieve its goals, also revolving leadership or shared leadership. Purposefulness: a clear idea of why the group exists and what it want to achieve. CONTENT: things that the social facilitator can look for when working with a group and ensure the group develops are: a few good rules based on common values will help the group’s ability to work through problems, ability to use support and knowledge available locally, keep good records; and will facilitate the satisfaction that each group member will have from this group. A fair sense of leadership And a clear purpose and direction

31 How to work with groups What is your role? INTERACTION:
The trainer can ask participants what they think is their role in working with different groups, and what could also be the limits of their role. Answers provided in next few slides. What is your role?

32 The natural cycle of groups…
CONTENT: All groups who remain stay as a group (do not break up/terminate), go through the 4 stages above. The time they spend in each stage depends on how well they can learn to work together. The four stages are: forming, storming, norming and performing. THE FIRST STAGE IS EASY, THE SECOND STAGE IS THE HARDEST AND THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR THE GROUP TO SURVIVE, it is also the place where the role of the social facilitator as a support may be the most important. It is important that the social facilitator never takes a leadership role in the group, but that they be able to support other people to lead the group. This will be essential to sustainability and empowerment of the group, for when the social facilitator is not around. Note that depending on the type of group chosen (with focus on therapy or on task), some groups may last for a few weeks, while other may aim to exist in the long term. Of course the social facilitator’s role will change depending on this, but generally the stages of group forming, even though easier to place in a long term setting, can still be identified as well in short term and therapeutic groups. A brief description of each stage is: FORMING: Members meet each other, everyone is happy and excited to have formed the group, they are trying to figure out what the group is about, maybe very optimistic about the future of the group, most people are very polite and have not yet offended each other, there is a lot of distraction and newness, and the group achieves very little at this stage, they are getting to know each other and choose leaders and start to establish rules, etc. STORMING: Different leaders may be fighting to take control of the group, people disagree and blame the concept of the group, people focus mainly on the differences of opinion and what they do not agree on, people may resist doing certain work, defensiveness/competition/choosing sides may happen. Disunity, tension and jealousy may result. However, the group is beginning to understand one another and each other’s stances and ways of thinking. They may get tired of disagreements an realize the existence of the group is more important then their own individual differences (if the group is to be at risk for dissolving). This gets them ready for the next stage. NORMING: As people understand each other more and try to negotiate and develop solutions, some more positive feelings may come to be. Leadership may change to someone who is more moderate and more able to bring about group unity. There are still differences but people are now learning to work together. Those who remain in the group are committed to the work of the group. PERFORMING: The group is now becoming a team and prepared to work on some real tasks together. The group is able to either prevent problems or deal with them more effectively through fair processes (discussion/votes). The main goal of the social facilitator is to help the group to become a TEAM that works together, help them go through all the stages as openly and healthily as possible.

33 Role in forming Clarifying the roles (social facilitator’s role mostly supportive, facilitating, leader less often – when necessary) Observing group dynamics Remain neutral Support group members in defining / understanding the purpose of the group (depending on type of group chosen), setting realistic expectations, etc. CONTENT: You can think about the social facilitator having a role in each of the 4 stages of a group. With their most important role being at the beginning and especially in the second stage of storming. At the beginning of the stage of forming, the group needs the social facilitator to the things listed above: During the observation stage, the social facilitator can look to identify: the group purpose, rules, power dynamics, role of members, who is contributing, strengths/weaknesses of group. To help the group set realistic expectations you can: explain the group cycle to them, so they are ready for what may come in the storming phase and take slow an thoughtful steps.

34 Role in storming Mediate neutrally by showing the different sides of the argument to the group and helping them see the dis/advantages Ensure good communication Promote the language ‘we’ more than ‘I’. Help work on solving the issues not attacking individuals. Support the leader (or lead – depending on group chosen) to know how to manage conflict. Remind the group that stronger relationships will come out of this difficult stage. Identify strengths/weaknesses of members. INTERACTION: The trainer can ask the group if they have had any experience mediating conflict in groups? CONTENT: The biggest role of the social facilitator will be in storming. They should expect much conflict and remember that storming is a natural part of group cycle and that it is a stage that must be gone through by a group until they can learn to function. If extreme conflict, that cannot self-regulate, you can ask as a mediator. Ask the group if they would like you to be the neutral person who summarized different people’s feelings and help people come to a decision. Help group find methods to problem solve and make fair decisions (vote, debate, listing advantage/disadvantages). Ensure people not get too discouraged in this stage and leave group, unless they really want to.

35 Role in Norming Monitor and offer guidance needed.
Help support new leadership (if changes) Encourage constructive criticism Encourage group independence (depending on type of group chosen) CONTENT: the next stage should be easier, the social facilitator can still have a minor role to play, but hopefully the group can self-regulate more and the social facilitator can focus more of his/her involvement in providing the group with information and linking instead of having to support the internal dynamics.

36 Role in performing Monitor group as needed and be available for support or information/linkages. Make sure a clear plan of the future is present and that the group has a general idea of how to reach their future destination together. (for groups meant to last in time) CONTENT: It can take about 6 months to reach this stage. The need for social facilitator is definitely less during this stage. But monitoring and linking is still a good idea, to keep up with activities of the group. Now that the group is functioning better, it is a good time to create plans to use the positive energy to move forwards.

37 Link to practice * Give participants 10 minutes to answer this question individually on a piece of paper, and then do a roundtable with each person sharing some of their answers. Based on what you learned today, what ….is the social work tool that you think will be most useful to you? What has been your past barriers to working with a individuals/groups? INTERACTION: The trainer gives participants 10 minutes to answer these 2 questions individually and then facilitates a roundtable discussion with each person sharing some of their answers.

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