RE: SOCW6121: Discussion: Respns to Ashlee - Positive Regard (WK9)

timer Asked: Oct 22nd, 2018
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Question Description

Respond to a colleague who has a different response to Talia. Discuss the benefits of using a strengths-based strategy in this group setting. (Please be detailed in use sub-heading and 3 pee-reviewed references)

The case presented involves Talia Johnson, a college coed who was sexually assaulted during a fraternity party. She was very intoxicated but remembers a fraternity guy taking her to his room. As he was sexually assaulting her, she vehemently told him NO many times however she eventually blacked out. She was naked when she woke up so she took her clothes and ran out. She is currently attending a young women’s group at her college campus consisting of students that have been sexually assaulted (Laureate Education, 2013).

The purpose of this group is to support these young women to process their traumatic experience. In the video segment, the group, including Talia, are blaming themselves for what happened to them. They feel they are the ones who caused the problem, somehow they are to blame for being sexually assaulted, and they feel isolated. Because of this type of thinking, the social worker can begin working on cognitive restructuring which focuses on correcting irrational or distorted thoughts and negative self-talk (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). As the group members begin sharing their personal experiences, it becomes apparent they all suffer from self-condemnation for what they went through. They are not only receiving negative talk from themselves, they are also being chastised by their family and friends for putting themselves in a precarious position in the first place. Therefore, the group’s focus should help change these thought patterns that make them think they are the cause of this personal violation so they can stop blaming themselves. The group’s support can help them gain a sense of control and establish their empowerment. Their shared experiences automatically create a support system, enabling them to understand each other on various levels.

Once the purpose of the group is established, the social worker begins her role of being supportive and empathetic to Talia’s and the rest of the group’s abhorrent experiences. She thanks them for sharing their stories and for being supportive of each other (Laureate Education, 2013). The social worker is attempting to empower them by praising them for having the courage to speak up against their perpetrators. The video segment showed were the young women who spoke up were judged for their emotional discourse which prevents other women to feel free about sharing their experiences. The social worker’s responsibility is to encourage the members to take control of their lives and help them to be involved participants of the group (Toseland, 2017). She does not need to micro manage the group, and like the video showed, she should allow the members to answer questions posed before she interjects. The social worker praised the young women seeking help and told them she believed in their strength (Toseland, 2017). There was constant discussion and communication between the social worker and the young women after their stories were shared which allowed them to direct the focus of the group. This had a huge positive impact because the participants were able to relieve themselves of their shame by sharing their stories, emotions, and feelings without judgment or condemnation.

The video segment also provided positive regard in a group setting where the social worker and/or group members accept and support what has been said or done by the other participants (Farber & Doolin, 2011). The social worker should also recognize and not rely on the group deciphering her feelings, she must be extra communicative to accomplish this (Farber, 2011). The video presents the social worker as she communicates her feelings and appreciation to the group. Her appreciation has a powerful supportive impact on the young women. As each woman in the group shares her personal experience, Talia can see similarities with her issues and realize that she is not alone in her circumstances. She is listening to how other women survived their assault and how they have attempted to process it. For the first time, in a long time, she felt unjudged by these women who had accepted her narrative as her truth. They were also extremely understanding when Talia declared she did not want to discuss this subject anymore because “It hurts talking about it like this, it keeps hurting” (Laureate Education, 2013). By using positive regard, the social worker could respond to this statement in a positive manner by agreeing that the pain does continue and it makes it difficult to get back to normal. It is imperative that the topic is discussed otherwise, internalizing the pain and anger will only make the issue fester and get worse. Since Talia has these agonizing feelings, the social worker should gently respond in a caring manner. Talia needs to feel acceptance in the sense that others understand her pain because they too feel it. She needs to be reassured that it is acceptable for her to process in her own wall, taking as much time as she needs. Each member of the group is going to process and heal in diversified manners therefore they will all be in different stages of treatment while they are participants of the group.

Communication and understanding are major components of groups. Social workers will be challenged as they attempt to not only empower the group but also hold them accountable for their behaviors and actions. The balance within the group must consist of support and trust in order for every participant to flourish. Continual assessments are necessary for the social worker to determine if the group members are progressing. If they are not, the social worker will need to reexamine her approach and come up with new techniques to direct the group (Toseland, 2017). Because of the diversity of each group, the social worker will be tasked to create boundaries and develop goals to help the group move forward.


Farber, B. A., & Doolin, E. M. (2011). Positive regard. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 58–64.

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013b). Johnson (Episode 3) [Video file]. In Sessions.

Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from

Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.).

Boston, MA: Pearson. Chapter 9, “Treatment Groups: Foundation Methods” (pp. 264-294). Chapter 10, “Treatment Groups: Specialized Methods” (pp. 295-335).

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School: University of Maryland


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