1. Development, recognition and acceptance of group culture and norms of behavior
For any social work group to produce good results, definitions of norms, goals, and expected outcomes of the group must be established and clarified for all involved parties. The reinforcement of these norms can be accomplished through repetition and emphasis at the beginning of the sessions throughout the middle part in the life of the group. This leads to understanding and recognition of group culture and norms of behavior recognition (Allen-Meares & Garvin, 2000.)
2. Development of cohesiveness (respect for similarities and differences among members)
This is the process of creating adherence and forming one unit. In social settings such as groups, cohesiveness is extremely essential in order to ensure that the survival of the group endures, and that the members of the group are able to accomplish goals as individuals as well as group members. Encouraging supportive practices among members yields cohesiveness as well (Roberts & Northern, 2006.)
3. Development of patterns of social interaction and communications
Encouraging members to use the same type of language, namely that which is common to all members, is a way to reinforce patterns of social interaction. This establishes a basis of common ground for individuals, regardless of race, class, age, and gender as well as social status. In addition, in order to encourage intermingling and informal communication, group members should be given breaks between sessions.
4. Structure of interpersonal relationships determining status, ranking, leadership, and roles
In the event where members are mandated or required to participate in various group events, selections should be done on the basis of volunteering and polling (Sullivan, 2003.) This guarantees that people are not assigned duties against their wishes, or through unfair assignments. This tends to strengthen interpersonal relationships as well, because it promotes working together in performing duties such as keeping time for sessions.
5. One psycho-educational session
Frequently, adults who have substance abuse issues experience psycho-educational sessions as patronizing or insulting, so it is crucial to provide educational information in a way that is engaging yet respectful of the dignity of the individuals. Group members should be encouraged to participate in researching the topics themselves, such as how substance abuse breaks down according to gender, race, social class, etc
6. Methods of assessment of each member: attitudes, relationships, behavior, motivation, goals, how each individual fares in the group
For effective assessment, a social worker should first develop trust between group members. This will create a link on a personal level, enhancing freedom to shares some assessment construct such as attitudes, motivation, and goals (Allen-Meares & Garvin, 2000.)
7. Redefining the group purpose–allowing for members’ own needs and goals to be understood in relation to the group purpose and to the needs of other members
Redefining the group’s purpose can be achieved through creating dynamic objectives for the group, which are subject to flexibility based on the group process. This may be accomplished by calling on each member individually to express his or her goals, and how the group has or has not addressed them. The purpose of this exercise is to provide a sense of accomplishment and cohesion for individuals and the group as a whole. In addition, permitting group members to provide feedback is empowering, since it tends to validate the reactions of group members to what they have experienced.