Not simply another "how-to" book, this provocative collection of readings does not advance a single viewpoint or approach to group work. Instead, the 25 selections present the full spectrum of classic and current perspectives, providing student and practitioner alike with a sound basis for evaluating contemporary practice and for formulating a personal approach to social group work. The historical and conceptual roots of modern social group work methods are examined in Part I, "Conceptual Foundations" which contains some of the classic statements in the field. Part II, "Current Perspectives", explores the most widely influential contemporary models of group work, "social goals" perspectives, "remedial" perspectives, and "mediative" perspectives. The two-part section that concludes the volume focuses on applications: group work is first discussed in relation to family and community casework and administration; then, self-help groups and other techniques used in the fields of medicine, counseling, and psychology are surveyed in light of their implications for social workers. To encourage the reader's active participation in the development of an individual philosophy and approach to social group work, Dr. Alissi concludes each chapter with probing study questions. These open-ended questions stimulate comparisons among the methods presented and urge the reader to relate new ideas to his or her own experience in the field. Introductions to each part and chapter also stress comparative aspects. An annotated list of articles and books on the subject of each chapter allows the reader to explore it in greater depth. A stimulating and systematic exposure to the most important ideas in social group work today, "Perspectives on Social Group Work Practice" expands the repertoire of working concepts vital to contemporary practice.
Albert S. Alissi is Professor of Social Work at the University of Connecticut School of Social work, where he has taught since 1967. Author of Boys in Little Italy and numerous articles in professional journals, Dr. Alissi’s current interests include studies in comparative group methods, deviant behavior, and the newly emerging field of social-legal practice.