Groupwork in Social Care – Planning and Setting up Groups

By Julie Phillips.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN 1 85302 829 0

Julie Phillips takes the reader through familiar considerations
of power, race and gender, group goals, physical environments,
group activities and programmes and group structure.

The book’s most original contribution lies in its application of
groupwork theory to eight groups, which one chapter describes in
some detail by reference to structure, goals, selection of members,
programme and size and space.

But subsequent chapters do not fully exploit the link between
theory and practice. For example, the groups are analysed only from
the group worker’s perspective – user voices are excluded. Outcomes
in these groups are not analysed through the lens of the theories
introduced in the book.

Some points are well made, such as criticism of the increasing
use of off-the-shelf programmes in groups and presentation of an
analytic framework to guide choice of activities within groupwork

The book gives inexperienced group workers understanding of the
issues to be considered when establishing groups but they should
also refer to other material for a fuller examination of theory and

Michael Preston-Shoot is professor of social work and
social care at Liverpool John Moores University.

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