support self help and prevention groups 1

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Getting Started

In this activity, you will learn about and reflect on the roles of support groups, self-help groups, and prevention groups in social work practice. You will watch two brief media examples of these types of groups. Then you will reflect on the dynamics and skills (or lack thereof) observed in these examples that may or may not support individual and group change.

Note: These groups are important models of practice. They will be further discussed in Workshop Eight, when you will observe and reflect on the use of spirituality in group practice, specifically in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups. You will be required to attend and observe an open AA group in your community during that workshop, so consider seeking opportunities and planning to attend this type of group now. In many communities, AA and NA groups are held on a weekly or even daily basis. Most groups are open and available to the public, with the days and times posted online. Contact your instructor as soon as possible if you have difficulty locating a group to attend.

Upon successful completion of this assignment, you will be able to:

  • Develop self-reflection and self-regulation to effectively manage the intersection of personal and professional values. (PO 1)


  • Textbook: Social Work with Groups: Comprehensive Practice and Self-Care
  • File: 7.2 My Reflections on Support and Prevention Groups.pdf

Background Information

The dynamics and purposes of support, self-help, and prevention groups have an important role in social work group practice. Clients often find these types of groups to be accessible, empowering, and validating of the obstacles that they face in life. Both support groups and prevention groups can happen in a variety of practice settings, including but not limited to:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals and health centers
  • Probation and parole agencies
  • Parenting education centers
  • Substance abuse prevention and intervention agencies
  • Homeless shelters

There are specific benefits and challenges to the effective implementation of these group types. You will consider these benefits and challenges in this activity. You will also consider what types of skills are needed for a social worker to implement and facilitate this type of group effectively throughout the phases of the social work practice framework. Consider also the type of dynamics and challenges that may occur in this type of group.


  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. In your textbook, Social Work with Groups: Comprehensive Practice and Self-Care, read Chapter 8 “Self-Help Groups” and Chapter 11, “Educational Groups: With a Focus on Self-Care.”
  3. Search the Internet for two media or video examples of support, self-help, prevention, or educational groups. Watch your two selections. You will use your observations to support your answers for the Reflections assignment in this activity.
  4. Download and complete My Reflections on Support and Prevention Groups.pdf. Refer to your assigned readings and materials to support your ideas and thoughts when responding to the questions in the worksheet.

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