Group Social Work: Nurturing Father Essay

Pages: 8 (2494 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
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One of the other things to keep in mind is that in a class aimed at improving fathering skills, one is likely to encounter men who have some issues with the women in their lives. Many of them have not been able to see their children or may be estranged from their wives or girlfriends, and misogynist language is not unusual. In the interaction between Dave and the facilitator, Dave calls his ex -- a bitch. He then goes on to make it clear that he has based his opinion of her totally on the basis of her sexual behavior. This is an offensive way to discuss women. "Even the most seasoned practitioners may feel discomfort when faced with offensive behavior by group members. Many instinctively respond by trying to control and inhibit the expression of crude language, rude actions, and interpersonal conflict" (Wayne & Gitterman, 2003, p.23). However, this can stifle group growth. In this scenario, the facilitator did not challenge Dave when he called his ex -- a bitch, but he did ask probing questions that made Dave consider why he was calling his ex -- a bitch and what he was ignoring when did so.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Group Social Work: Nurturing Father's Assignment

What is interesting to me is that the different cultural groups help determine what it taboo to discuss and what is appropriate to discuss. The group had several members who had been in jail or prison for some part of their children's childhoods. The fact that they were not present had been discussed, but over several group sessions, no one in the group had discussed the fact that these men made choices that landed them in jail. It was not until Kevin made fun of the fathers who were complaining about the everyday challenges of parenting that this taboo was broached. Kevin had been in prison for 10 years; he went in when his daughter was an infant and his girlfriend was expecting his son, missing the first decade of their lives. Therefore, when he mentioned being absent, he opened the door to the taboo discussion, but Abe's response, where he made it clear that he though Kevin was responsible for his own absence was the real taboo. "Discussing taboos is a dynamic with a great deal of power- but its power can be negative as well as positive" (Steinberg, 2004, p.104). If this statement had been made earlier, it may have resulted in Kevin leaving the group and failing to come back. Kevin did have a negative response to what Abe said, but it also led to a transformative moment. Kevin had been acting as if he was prevented from being with his children. What he had to acknowledge was that he was the one who made him miss his children's childhood.

Ethical Dilemma

The most obvious ethical dilemma that could have arisen in the group context would have been for one of the men to admit current child abuse. Most people believe that their communications to mental health professionals are protected under confidentiality rules. In many ways this is true, however, under Massachusetts law, certain people are mandatory reporters. Social workers are included in that group (Department of Children and Families, 2012). It is important for group members to know that if they discuss current child abuse, they are subject to being reported, although this could stifle some group communications. In fact, in the Standards for Social Work Practice with Groups, VI, one of the mandates is, "Discussion of the importance, limits, and implications of privacy and confidentiality with the members" (AASWG, 2006, p.25). Therefore, group members should be advised what would trigger reporting. They may also need to be advised that confidentiality rules only apply to the mental health workers leading the groups; although other group members are asked to respect privacy, there is no mechanism to ensure that this occurs.

Benefits of the Experience

Working with the facilitator of this group was probably one of the most enlightening experiences that I have had in my progression towards becoming a social group worker. The group was much larger than any that I had experienced in my past. It was also composed of a really diverse group, which made me wonder how the different members would work together. I was very concerned that there would be so much emphasis on differences that no one would work on the issues. However, I was reminded that some things transcend differences. All of the men wanted to have better relationships with their children. Every single one of them wanted to be a father that their children could admire. This reminded me that, while social workers must be aware of cultural differences and always be certain to respect diversity, human beings are much more alike than they are different. Basic human needs are the same across different cultural groups. I believe that this will help me as a social group worker, because it will serve as a reminder that, no matter how different the group members may seem from me, I will be able to find some common ground with them, so that we can work together to accomplish the group's goals.

References

Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, Inc. (2006). Standards for social work practice with groups. Alexandria, VA: AASWG, Inc.

Brandler, S., & Roman, C.P. (1999). Group work: skills and strategies for effective interventions. New York: Haworth Press.

Department of Children and Families. (2012). Report child abuse. Executive Office of Health

and Human Services website: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/family-services/report-child-abuse.html

Malekoff, A. (2004). Group work with adolescents: principles and practice. New York/London: The Guilford Press.

Nurturing Fathers. (2012). Every child deserves a nurturing father. Retrieved December 3,

2012 from Nurturing Father's website: http://nurturingfathers.com/

Steinberg, D.M. (2004). The mutual-aid approach to working with groups: helping people help one another, second edition. New York: The Haworth Press.

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