Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Work
Advantages of Group Work
1) Groups are natural places in which people live and grow. Families, peer groups, workplace groups and neighbourhood groups are central to the social life of an individual. If these groups have significant influence on our personalities, can’t groups be used to change the behaviour of the members? Group work aims at achieving these aims in different settings.
2) Group members who have similar interests and problems can help each other by sharing their experiences and their problems. The principles of mutual aid and self help are emphasized. Group work’s major advantage over casework is that each member becomes a helper and a helped in the group. Thus help is given and taken in a spirit of equality.
3) Group members empower members by increasing their consciousness and awareness. People’s personal problems are made public and when it becomes known that large number of people is involved. Solutions are then discussed and further actions planned and implemented.
4) Groups are used to elicit opinions of the members in the agency regarding the services provided.
5) Group work is able to show in practice the democratic principles.
6) Group work is very effective for certain groups of people like adolescent, children and women. These groups find it more comfortable to get help in groups as their need for security and belongingness is fulfilled in groups.
7) Group work is economical and time saving as a number of clients are treated at the same time.
Disadvantages of Group Work
1) Confidentiality is difficult to achieve as personal knowledge is shared with the group.
2) Forming groups can be difficult. Members often drop out, are absent and do not cooperate which can lead to dissolution of the groups
3) Agencies do not fully support group work as they are not clear about its usefulness.
4) Group work often degenerates into games and fun neglecting the treatment process.
5) Group needs resources like common time, place and resources.
6) Individual attention is missing and non participating members become lonely.
7) Group work can further the stigma and discrimination that the members face in society as they become identified with the group.
8) Professional expertise is often missing as group work is seen as being general skill everyone can master.