Month: June 2023

Group Work with Involuntary Clients: Addressing Challenges with the Group and within Ourselves

Liz Davis, LICSW

In-person SeminarRegister Now for CE programs
Mon, August 7, 2023
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
5 CECs

$100 – UConn SSW Alumni & Current Field Instructors
$125 – All Others

Room location will be included in your confirmation email.

It can often feel intimidating and even create dread for a group worker to be tasked with a mandated group. You might wonder, “what if no one wants to be here and what am I going to do with that?” This workshop will focus on how we can shift from an experience of anxiety and dread to a confident approach that engages our curiosity and creativity. Often if we can shift our perspective and approach, we can help our clients make that shift too. In this workshop, we will identify and increase our understanding of the experiences and behaviors that may show up for involuntary group members during the various group stages. With this increased understanding, we can better address the challenges both with the group and within ourselves that may arise.

We will also discuss practical tools, activities, and interventions to engage involuntary clients on a variety of different topics. Involuntary clients are often either mandated to attend groups addressing specific issues or they’re mandated to a setting such as a treatment center or correctional setting where they’re also required to participate in groups. As a facilitator it is not easy to strike the perfect balance between teaching the curriculum and keeping the group members engaged with each other, the material, and active in the session. Using knowledge and experiences gained from groups focusing on topics such as intimate partner violence, trauma, grief, and DBT Skills, this workshop will provide examples of how you might strike that balance.

The workshop will be both instructional and experiential. Small and large group discussion, group activities and case examples will be used to demonstrate different approaches and interventions. We will develop a safe space for you to share your own group successes and concerns and apply the seminar material to the groups you are currently facilitating.

This seminar will enable you to:

• gain knowledge and skills for facilitating groups with involuntary clients.
• discuss and practice activities and interventions to support group discussion and engagement on specialized topics.
• increase our understanding of involuntary group members’ experiences and behaviors during the various group stages.
• learn about skills that leaders can use to address group challenges while staying in connection and building group cohesion.

Celebrating Juneteenth 2023

From the Desk of Dean Heller

Dear Colleagues,Juneteenth graphic with words "Freedom Day" and African colors.

Monday is Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. As many of you know, it was on June 19, 1865 that Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to announce that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state were free by executive decree. More than 150 years later, Juneteenth was made a federal holiday by President Biden, and soon after became a state holiday in Connecticut.

Recognizing Juneteenth is critical at a time when the teaching of Black history and systemic racism are under attack in some states. For the School of Social Work, celebrating the holiday is part of our mission and an expression of our continued commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism (DEI/AR). We know that the struggle for freedom for the individuals, families, and communities we serve is ongoing. We join with the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Provost’s Office in honoring the history and culture of Black and African American communities.

As part of our Strategic Plan, our faculty and staff have been meeting regularly to discuss how we would implement DEI/AR throughout our school. That means challenging ourselves and reimagining our research, teaching, field education, and vision for the future of social work. We developed a definition of anti-racism which in part states that “anti-racism means redressing historic and current harms perpetrated by systems, policies, practices, and individuals that target racialized Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in our community and connected to our community.” We have also pledged to take concrete steps to hold ourselves accountable to advancing racial justice and to support the empowerment of Black and African American students, staff, faculty, and communities.

To highlight Juneteenth, I encourage everyone to read about the history at the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s website, and to engage in events in your local community.

In solidarity,

Nina Rovinelli Heller, PhD
Dean and Professor
Zachs Chair in Social Work