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About this book

From three leading authorities in the field, this re-visit to a classic text demonstrates how groupwork can be used as a flexible tool for service user empowerment and participation across a range of contexts. Walking the reader through each stage in group formation and evolution, it is an essential text for health and social care professionals.

Table of Contents

Introduction

What Is It All About?
Abstract
The self-directed groupwork model arose from practice, not theory: a reflexive process of information-gathering, analysis, understanding, action and reflection that is mirrored in its practical application. The model emerged as result of in-depth enquiry and critical reflection with individuals, with teams and in networks where we discovered group-work was taking place. This formed the basis of Self-directed Groupwork: Users Take Action for Empowerment (1991), the original version of this book, and the process has been revisited and repeated in preparation for this new edition. Once more, we have asked people to describe what they are doing and to explain why, thus enabling us to build up a rich and deep description and analysis of their activity. Germane theory has been drawn upon to clarify and explain what, why and how, particularly why, practitioners have been doing what they were doing.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

1. Groupwork

The Most Empowering and Effective Approach
Abstract
Groupwork is immensely powerful. Groups are part and parcel of everyday life and have the capacity to control, pacify or empower, depending on the underlying philosophy and how they are organized. The self-directed groupwork model set out in this book has proved to be not only empowering but also widely applicable.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

2. Empowerment

What Does It Really Mean?
Abstract
Self-directed groupwork aims fundamentally to empower group members. As such, it sits at the heart of a contemporary discourse that needs unpacking if we are to understand empowerment in its purest sense. The notion of citizen empowerment is a core feature of the policies of all mainstream political parties in the UK and has become established in government policy here and beyond. It can be seen, for example, in the ‘personalization’ agenda in adult social care, in ‘patient choice’ in the health services, in the extension of participation rights for young people in the education, children’s and youth services, in ‘active citizenship’, in ‘stakeholding’ and in the notion of ‘experts by experience’. This very ubiquity suggests that there is likely to have been dilution, co-optation, imitation and tokenism along the way, with relatively little real empowerment taking place.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

3. Taking Stock

The Centrality of Values
Abstract
In Chapter 1, we presented the history and the outline framework of self-directed groupwork, stressing the crucial role within it, if practice is to be both empowering and effective, of clear and appropriate values aimed at anti-oppressive working. In this chapter, we will explore these underpinning values in greater detail, showing that they constitute most of the ‘meat’ of the first stage of the model, once the team has assembled and established its support mechanisms. We will then go on to illustrate in later chapters how the values lead naturally into the key features of the model, such as the open style of planning which fully involves participants (Chapter 4) and their full participation in setting the goals for, carrying out, and evaluating action aimed at achieving the changes they see as essential (Chapters 5 to 7). Overall, in this and the following four chapters, we shall offer a complete and value-based methodology for empowering practice.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

4. The Group Takes Off

Abstract
In Chapter 3, we outlined the process of the groupworkers preparing themselves to conduct self-directed groupwork. In this chapter, the potential members come on the scene and we explore what happens when they come together with the facilitators to carry out the detailed planning for a group.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

5. The Group Prepares to Take Action

Abstract
The pre-planning and planning stages of the self-directed model, as presented in Chapters 3 and 4, have covered all the preparations for a groupwork process, including getting the participants together with the facilitators on the basis of a preliminary working agreement. This led on from the groupworkers’ concern to clarify their own value positions and to translate these into practice through planning in partnership with group members.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

6. Taking Action

Abstract
Once priorities have been established by considering and answering the questions WHAT?, WHY? and HOW?, the task is for group members to apply their knowledge and skills collectively to action, still on the basis of the underlying principles of the model and of the analysis they arrived at in answering the question WHY?.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

7. The Group Takes Over

Abstract
Following an initial round of taking action, groups inevitably pause to take breath. This next stage begins with the group reviewing what it has achieved, coming to see links between the range of issues addressed thus far, and identifying new areas to be tackled. The group then continues with more collective action, joining or establishing new campaigns. Members turn to their own group meetings for confirmation of the wider understanding they have reached and to consolidate their shared strength and conviction. By this time, they will have redefined their experience from one of personal inadequacy and self-blame to strength and determination, through the achievement of doing something about the external factors that have contributed to their oppression. By making these connections, they realize they have a right to a different style of services and to more control over their own lives.
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming

8. Spreading the Reach and Moving Forward

Abstract
We have aimed in this book to reach groupworkers, be they paid workers, volunteers or peer members. We have argued the relevance of the self-directed model across organizational settings and have considered the necessary transformation of conventional working practices to reflect a set of essential practice principles. These have been translated into a five-stage model which has been explored in some depth. In this closing chapter, we shall review the strides self-directed groupwork has made into new areas since we first wrote about it and will look to the future. What contribution might self-directed groupwork make over the next 20 years?
Audrey Mullender, Dave Ward, Jennie Fleming
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