In this paper, a further evaluation and analysis will be conducted on the Marriage Dance (MD) group work conducted by Fei Yue Family Service Centre (FYFSC). Suggested improvements to some aspects of the practice are also mentioned.
MD was introduced by FYFSC as a response to the service gap in marriage enhancement for the non-religious. The use of group work as an intervention technique is an alternative method for empowerment as compared to individual casework. This is because social workers are able to teach members through the processing of group dynamics. Moreover, it also enables members to work on their perceived isolation of having to face their problems alone.
Pre-Group Work Planning
Using Kurland and Salmon’s model of planning for social work with groups, most of the eight components have been considered and covered adequately. This has ensured that MD has been able to run smoothly without much hiccup in between (Kurland and Salmon, 1998). However, I feel that three areas that need to be further addressed are those of purpose, structure and pre-group contact.
MD was conceived with the intention of working with couples experiencing marital issues and want to work towards marital renewal, a greater level of intimacy and commitment to the marriage. Yet, couples who are on the verge of divorce may also participate, using this as a “last-ditch” attempt to save their marriage. Due to the range in severity of marital problems faced, discrepancies may arise when dealing with the couples. The result is a group purpose that is no longer clear cut and has become diluted so as to encompass the distinct goals of all members. It is essential for the workers of MD to evaluate and re-establish a clear purpose for the programme as failing to do so may give rise to ambiguity and even send out mixed-signals (Hepworth et al, 2009).
Having just finished its second run in its staycation format (there were 4 runs in the weekly set-up), already issues pertaining to manpower and sustainability have begun to arise. Currently, FYFSC is unable to carry out MD again this year despite FYFSC’s plan to hold it biannually. This is partly because not many case workers are comfortable or well-equipped to lead such an intense group work. It will be a waste if clients miss out on the opportunity to potentially benefit from the programme due to staffing issues, especially since the plans for MD have already been rolled out. FYFSC could take the approach whereby instead of having two senior workers co-leading, a senior-junior pairing with careful planning and appropriate supervision can be used instead. This way, newer workers can gain experience and confidence that they need to led MD (Waldman, 2010).
Members of MD are usually couples are usually recommended by their case workers or those from outreach cases. They are usually drafted straight into the programme if interest is shown in and are not given much details...