Faculty and students in the School of Social Work are assisting the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) by providing group work training and support to groups for expecting parents and/or parents of young children.
The training program is part of a pilot study that is assessing the impact of such training on curriculum-based educational groups like CTF’s Nurturing Parenting Groups. About 30 sites and 30 group facilitators are involved. The program is currently in the second year of a three-year study.
The study is led by Brenda Kurz, associate professor of casework, and Joan Letendre, associate professor of group work. To date, about 15 students in the Master of Social Work program have co-facilitated groups. The students are macro-practice interns (community organization, administration, or policy practice track) of the MSW program who are participating in the study to fulfill their micro-practice requirement – meaning that they have to do some casework or group work. Four training sessions also have been conducted with the CTF group facilitators.
“Whereas all facilitators have very strong skills for connecting with group members, they often did not know how to handle various group dynamics that were getting in the way of all members sharing, supporting each other and offering mutual support,” says Letendre. “The training has given the facilitators the skills to work with these situations and the understanding that conflict, when identified and worked with, can actually be a positive group experience”.
This article appears in the Spring 2012 issue of UCONN Magazine