Group work conference is a form of co-operative learning, targeted on personal variations, knowledge enhancement, generic skill development (communicative, collaborative and critical thinking) and approaches. During my professional career, I have carried out a group exercise on exploring the complexities in caring for the emotional and psychological well-being of children, young people and families within the multi-disciplinary and multi-agency context. My job role as a student in social work has involved making contacts with clients (children), advising clients and families on available resources, setting up appointments, supervising contacts at the home and child care centres, assessing client needs and creating the plan together, carrying out risk assessment, attending training and court sessions, safeguarding the well-being of children and supporting them for independent living. This work has allowed me to make the effective use of time for production, alongside offering control as well as responsibilities. The advantages of group work assisted me in overcoming my limitations of faster work, efficiency, understanding, communication skills, work accuracy and exposure. Throughout my practice, I have carried out different roles, particularly within the social service system. The meetings have included different professionals, predominantly from within the social care provider sectors and working with children such as psychotherapists, teachers, doctors, social workers and mental health nurses alongside a variety of social service departmental managers.
This essay makes an effort in reflecting upon one of my personal experiences in a group work conference, where I planned, organised, facilitated and was actively involved in a group work. Within the first section, the essay discusses and explores experiences of working and talking with and the responsibility for the emotional and psychological well-being of children, young people and their families. My role in influencing and being influenced with the contribution of other group members will be discussed together with the group dynamics and inter-disciplinary teamwork. A wider view on the experience of the conference as a whole is made to explore issues of conflict and leadership together with theories and discussions of personal tendencies and self-behaviour within the process of group work on a shared task. A well-defined conclusion will be offered around the closure of the group together with the impact of conference on practice needs.
Knowing that each of our group members possessed varied timetables and sessions, I have established a “common meeting point” for discussing the topic to be delivered in the conference. Among the three group meetings that I have organised in the library, I indicated my points on the subject, with special attention on the emotional and psychological well-being of child care. An in-depth discussion on the written facts, and selection of appropriate articles were explored in the subsequent second and third meetings. Easy and flexible ways to finish the completed work were discussed and a periodic ‘check on progress’ and the practice of developed work was explored in the final meeting. The advice and support gained from my colleagues helped me in collecting the best material needed for the conference. They provided me with confidence and an underlying ability, which cannot be possible to attain in real time. The effective accountability and adherence assisted me in tackling the issues of competitiveness and non-satisfaction. My knowledge, subject exposure, skills, abilities and working tendencies improved and it minimised the complexities witnessed through variations in interest, emotional consequences and the political environment. My experience of group work conference influenced me to a considerable extent in improving my skills needed for presentations and group dynamics. Whilst working to deliver the group conference, I became inspired through the thoughts and ideas of others. In an eventual manner, this supported me in providing new thoughts and innovative ideas. This group conference work, aided in my consideration of issues through different sources, besides building my practical knowledge. As a consequence, I personally feel this group work conference has contributed as a method of attaining and developing skills with respect to my own connectivity and development. The whole of my group work conference was enjoyable, a method of learning and my best experience developed through the development of my assigned work with other group members. Through an examination of the different ways in managing ourselves, we de-escalated the complex situations in a highly successful and cost effective manner.
The analytical skills, which I have learnt during my professional practice, aided me in enhancing my conceptual thinking and more significantly creativity and teamwork skills. Developing the presentation for this conference helped me in analysing the significance of schedules and time-effectiveness without any considerable compromise on quality. Throughout the group work, I have learnt how to tactically negotiate the most productive conditions for myself, work closely with my friends, take charge, introduce useful concepts and develop effective presentation. Besides, the co-operation amongst the group members enabled me to increase my learning experience with a successful achievement of desired outcomes. At each stage of the work, I became familiarised with the chosen subject, content and other conflicting issues. Though conflicts arose in our work, we had realised the minimal importance of such constraints, and moved ahead in a smoother and more effective manner. Presence of small groups (like that which was present for this conference) allowed the quieter members to gain involvement with considerable importance given to his or her ideas and opinions. Group work allowed me to understand the functioning ways pertaining to team settings. The open nature of group work assisted me in valuing and sharing previous experiences with others, discovering my true potential, technology restructuring and waste management (Burns and Sinfield, 2008).
Apart from these formal skills, my previous experiences with group work have also offered me with valuable insights. The knowledge gained from most of my group discussion sessions has allowed me to work in a team setting with different roles. My role in this group work conference influenced my team members in planning, prioritising and managing time. The open nature of classes, values of my own personal experiences, and delegation of less critical responsibilities alongside the trading and sharing of notes with fellow colleagues enabled me to exhibit how much we all have to learn from one another. My contribution to the topic of emotional and psychological well-being deciphered me with some of the phraseology and undermined my limitations.
Inter-disciplinary working practice is the discipline involving the working of individuals from two or more professions functioning as a team with a common purpose, commitment, mutual respect and goals. This practice enabled us in attaining effective team work, an ability to improve the working environment, enhance mutual respect and share knowledge between different fields. However, the numerous practice based issues linked to unrealistic expectations, lack of knowledge, perceived threat, professional jealousies, and impaired autonomy can result in a variety of serious consequences (Miller and Freeman, 2001). Effective leadership skills gained through the practice sessions helped me in minimising the incidence and prevalence of team conflicts. Writing down notes, trying to be silent and careful listening on the ideas provided by others, helped me in gaining enough information to deal with the issues. The knowledge gained through the group work and professional experience helped me in liaising with other health care professionals, attending court sessions, multi-disciplinary meetings, one to one key work sessions and advocating of beliefs. Throughout the conference, I strictly confined myself to the guidelines indicated in the social worker’s care plan and this assisted me in supervising contacts of children and home care centres.
Regardless of numerous constraints witnessed in carrying out the group work, I highly value the skills and lessons learnt and would suggest the experience to anyone, who desires to expand their abilities, especially within the field of child care (Bolton, 2010). Effective planning of activities and objectives, which need to be performed at each stage, enabled me to complete the work before the deadline. I ascertained the strengths and abilities of my team members, their roles and demands for the team environment (Bolton, 2010) in a step by step manner. This soothing and relaxing experience allowed me to reach the expectations of my higher officials with a decision to consider negative as well as positive consequences (Burns and Sinfield, 2008). I thought about alternate ways of handling the group work which enabled me to retain the understanding of the importance of communication, compassion, fundamental social work practice skills and group work abilities of interacting with children, when they are anxious and scared. Eventually, I became more aware of my communication skills and their effectiveness, together with the ways in which I could improve.
I perceive that, my contribution to the group in suggesting ideas and examples may be needed in improving myself in a conceptual and critical manner. I became more aware of my communication skills and their effectiveness, together with exploring a variety of ways for personal development. This reflection process enabled me to look within myself, gave an immense improvement of my own social work skills and patient observations as well as my delivery of care and support. In my own perspective, it can be considered as an effective exercise, which helped in understanding the ways of how to treat patients who need such care and support. For me, implementing these kinds of group work projects can enable students to increase their learning experience and participation. I think making a successful presentation necessitates an enhanced awareness on technologies, subject as well as skills (Bolton, 2010). I perceive myself to be a stronger person developing confidence. I ensure that I confront my fears and anxious feelings against certain individuals, in the defence of team members and treated individuals. An open body language, eye contact, voice tone and other abilities, as aforementioned with this paper are of much importance (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2002). Developing such qualities has enabled me as a social care professional to enhance the feelings of care, identification, empathy and support. I feel that, genuineness when supported with an open and relaxed method of accepting client requests can enable us to work according to the best interests of patients (Cooley, 2000). Although, listening, clarification and empathy, improving the emotional and psychological well-being of patients are key counselling skills needed in delivering care, I feel that the presence of good communication skills are an invaluable asset as it minimizes the degrees of hopelessness and psychological distress (Fallowfield and Jenkins, 2009). I think it is a highly rewarding and reflecting incident, which enabled me to identify my self-weaknesses and turning them in to strengths. Now, I perceive myself to be a stronger person developing confidence. I ensure that I am able to confront my own fears and anxious feelings against certain individuals, in the defence of a patient (Heming and Colmer, 2003). Different frameworks related to social work practice assisted me to create outlines on the issues, which are required due consideration for future use and reference.
The use of this previous experience assisted me in exploring the situation, in a much deeper way. An effort to enhance my personal and professional development skills needs to be made in the future. Use of different illustrations concerned to the experience, helped me in realising the fact that, learning and knowledge development is something which I should be pro-active in. Reflective experience assisted in structuring my thoughts and feelings in an appropriate manner with level of knowledge concerning to evidence based practice and medicine (Alexander et al., 1999). I believe this is a crucial segment to allow the group in offering a well-structured analysis with a chance of gaining experience (Burns and Sinfield, 2008). Group work, an excellent illustration for any enhancing any form of career, may continuously help me in developing my future. From my point of view, group work enables one to utilise time effectively for student production, alongside offering control as well as responsibility for learning practice (Carson, 2004). Furthermore, I have recognised reflection as a key tool of practice, necessary for gaining skills and abilities. The strategies and approaches developed by different scientists (such as Parkes, William, and Colmer) appeared to be highly useful in assessing the psychological impact of family member loss, even though each person reacts to the situation differently.
I feel that, implementing the projects accomplished through group or team work at the university will assist everyone, in the future with an allowance of developing practical, conceptual and cognitive knowledge towards unseen horizons. It permitted me in promoting my trust and my listening and learning skills from the highly qualified staff and the review of literature. On the whole, this reflective and personal experience assisted me in enhancing my knowledge and understanding on leadership, conflict and other related issues (Alexander et al., 1999).
Alexander, M., Fawcett, N., Runciman, P. 1994, Nursing Professionals-Hospital and Home-The Adult, London: Churchill Livingstone Publishers, pp. 123-190.
Assenmacher, K. 2011, Reflective Writing: A Reflection upon a Team Work Experience, London: Auflage Publishers, pp. 12-30.
Bolton, G. (2010) Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development, London: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, pp. 43-78.
Burns, T., Sinfield, S. 2008, Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University, London: McGraw Hill Publishers, pp. 34-90.
Carson, C. 2004, Growth and Development through group work, 3rd Edition, London: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, pp. 12-78.
Miller, C., Freeman, K. 2001, Interprofessional Practice in Health and Social Care: Challenging contexts, London: Hoffmann Publishers, pp. 23-89.
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