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Running head: MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

Middle and Ending Phases Paper Two


Keely Sopko
Access ID: FN8459 / SW 4010
Wayne State University
December 4, 2015

MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

Assessment
In this scenario, a team of social workers are assigned to identify a strategy on how to
resolve a breach of confidentiality between a group of clients. One of the clients in the group
posted confidential information regarding another client on a social media website. The process
of the social workers development as a whole is geared to creating an effective solution to
resolve the problem. According to Toseland and Rivas (2012), an assessment focuses on the
strengths and problems confronted by individual group members and the whole group (p. 230).
As a result of this group being in the middle stages, a conflict has arisen, and the group must
address it to keep functioning and striving toward their goals (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2012, p.
102). This conflict is apparent when Lance replies to one of Keelys posts by disagreeing with
her intention to ask the group member who broke confidentiality, why they broke it. Lance
feels safer and more comfortable to express his feelings freely (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2012, p.
102). Lance felt that using the word why would make the client feel uncomfortable and
possibly lack engagement of the client in therapeutic services. Another indication that the group
is in the middle phase is that they are ready to go ahead with the primary work facing it (KirstAshman & Hull, 2012, p. 102).
The group changes as they went through the process of identifying a solution. Almost all
of the social workers agreed they would allow the group members to decide what fate the
offender would face. However, at one point in time the group decided it would be their
responsibility to take the blame for the breach of confidentiality because of their commitment to
social work practice. At the beginning of the group, many of the group members were aimed at
isolating the offending client and allowing other members to dismiss them if they felt necessary.
However, as the group progressed the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of

MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

Ethics reminded the group that social workers are the responsible group facilitators and there is
no guarantee of confidentiality among group members (NASW Code of Ethics, 2008, para. 45).
In the end, the social workers took responsibility but agreed that they would speak to the
offender individually and allow the group to decide the fate of the person. According to
Toseland and Rivas (2012), workers should be guided by the unique needs and particular
circumstances of each member and by the purposes of the group (p. 234). The group of social
workers conveyed their interest in each group member by addressing the breach with the
offender individually and with the group later. The change that took place was very positive
because it allowed the social workers to act as listeners to the individual client and the whole
group of clients. This change also allowed the social workers to test the group for agreement by
asking the members to decide the fate of the offender. These actions conveyed positive changes
among the group.
Group Dynamics
The social workers groups goals are focused on resolving the confidentiality breach.
Although, this scenario does not convey any hidden agendas. Every member is striving for the
best solution to resolve the issue, and no one is operating unethically or dishonestly. However, it
is apparent that this group perceives confidentiality as a group norm as a result of their
professional status. The group may value this quality extensively because they are in the middle
stages of the group, and they have become extremely familiar with the group standards.
According to Toseland and Rivas (2012), Norms are shared expectations and beliefs about
appropriate ways to act in a social situation such as a group (p. 82). As a result of the group
viewing confidentiality as a norm, they strive to resolve the situation. The social workers will
not feel comfortable facilitating the group session without resolving the current conflict between

MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

members of the client group. Another important factor with the group of social workers is the
level of cohesion exhibited.
The cohesion displayed in this group is strong and is shown when members of the group
agree with one another. The group cohesion is also apparent when group members disagree but
act respectably when in disagreement. According to Forsyth (as cited in Toseland & Rivas,
2012):
Cohesion is made up of three components: (1) member-to-member attraction and liking
for the group as a whole, (2) a sense of unity and community so that the group is seen as
a single entity, and (3) a sense of teamwork and esprit de corps with the groups
successfully performing as a coordinated unit (p. 78).
The sense of teamwork is conveyed at the end of the group work. The teamwork is exhibited by
Alyssa, Ashley, Kelly and Keely when they attempt to work together to create the final
document. In the discussion board, it is visible that the final solution was added onto by various
group members who participated in developing a solution to the problem. Additionally, there is
a high level of open interaction that promotes cohesiveness in these group members (Toseland
& Rivas, 2012, p. 81). Another imperative concept to consider is the impressions made on the
social worker who is evaluating the group process of the professionals in the group.
The social worker believes that this group of professionals works very well together.
Every member of the group is important in assisting the group to meet their goals. The middle to
ending stage of this group is apparent by witnessing the group working together. They are
comfortable and focused on meeting their goals. In the end, it is visible how everyone pulls
together to create the final document with various postings by many group members. This action
also displays the groups positive emotional bonds that have manifested through the development

MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

of the group (Toseland & Rivas, 2012, p. 75). The social worker views this group of
professionals as effective, goal-focused, determined, and respectful of one another.
Plan of Action
For this group to be more effective, the meeting format would need to be changed. The
social worker believes that this group would have accomplished the goal more promptly if the
meetings would have been in person or virtual instead of through a discussion board. The
discussion board left little room for organization and everyone did their best to contribute
equally. However, many of the original posts were somewhat repetitive allowing the group to
take longer to achieve their goals. Additionally, it is apparent that the group came upon some
difficulties in the end trying to submit a final document. In the discussion board, a total of three
final documents were posted. These challenges were apparent when the group members added
on to one anothers final postings. One final document posed as a challenge to split up equally
between the group members. The social worker believes that the group did well considering the
circumstances and realized that she may be bias because of past group interactions that differed
from those she has grown to like. However, the difficulties they faced may have also resulted
from the group coming to an end and individuals becoming resistant to the termination.
According to Shulman (2009), the social worker may possess a little farewell-party syndrome by
protecting the group by avoiding its negative aspects (p. 503). The group provided a solution
to solving the problem effectively. Another crucial element of this group is diversity and how
the social workers respond to it.
Diversity in this group is clear. There are members of various cultures, and still many of
the group members agreed on everyones suggested solutions. The social workers response to
this groups diversity is one of acceptance and pride. The group members never allowed any

MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

cultural differences to distract them from reaching their goal. Instead, they used these to be more
efficient in reaching their goal by expressing differences of opinion and using all of the
information to provide a solution. The group members were focused and respectful.
Ending Phase
The social workers role in the middle phase is to facilitate and mediate. Since, there is
usually some level of tension, conflict, power and control issues, and disagreements between
members during the middle phase, the social worker is responsible for keeping the group focused
on their goal so that work continues to get done (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2012, p. 102).
The social worker has many roles and responsibilities in the ending phase of the group.
According to Shulman (2009), one of these roles includes letting the members know early that
the group is coming to an end. Another task the social worker should focus on, to create a
successful group ending, is assisting in the identification of group members feelings as a result
of the ending. Some of these feelings may include anger, denial, and mourning. Another task
the social worker should contribute to the ending phase of the group is bringing personal feelings
and group recollections to the attention of the group members. The social worker should discuss
with group members the feelings they have regarding the ending of the group while focusing on
both positive and negative aspects. The social worker should also help the group evaluate their
work. Additionally, the social worker should encourage members to share negative feedback
and get past the farewell-party syndrome to do so effectively (pp. 503-504).
The social workers in this assignment worked hard and strived to come up with an ethical
solution to address the breach of confidentiality among clients in a group. In the end, the social
workers concluded that the member who broke confidentiality should be addressed individually
and asked to remove the material from social media website. The member should also be asked

MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

to apologize to the group. The social workers concluded that the group would decide the fate of
the offending client. The group of social workers would also reiterate the confidentiality
standards of the group and take responsibility for the misfortune that took place. For this reason,
the group worked together in an effective manner to resolve this ethical dilemma.

MIDDLE AND ENDING PHASES PAPER TWO

References
Kirst-Ashman, K., & Hull Jr., G. (2012). Understanding generalist practice (6th ed. p. 102).
Belmont, California: Brooks/Cole.
National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. (2008). Retrieved from:
http://socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default.asp.
Shulman, Lawrence, (2009). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups, and communities.
(6th ed. pp. 503-504). Itasca, IL: Peacock Publishing.
Toseland Ronald., & Rivas, Robert. (2012). An introduction to group work practice. (7th
ed. pp. 75-234). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn/Bacon.