Getting Started

In this activity, you will learn about and reflect on the trend of online support groups (OSGs). You will read a scholarly research article of your choice on the use of OSGs for people with specific needs and difficult experiences. You will observe the use of an OSG by joining a free website that sponsors these types of groups. Then you will reflect on your reading and observation through discussion with your classmates. They will give you feedback on your insights.
Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

Develop self-reflection and self-regulation to effectively manage the intersection of personal and professional values. (PO 1)
Evaluate interventions with families and groups. (PO 9; ILO 5)

Resources

Textbook: Social Work with Group: Comprehensive Practice and Self-Care
Article: “Fostering Empowerment in Online Support Groups”.pdf
Article: “Online Support Groups for Depression: Benefits and Barriers”.pdf
Article: “Social Interaction in Online Support Groups: Preference for Online Social Interaction over Offline Social Interaction”.pdf
Article: “Nurturing Health-Related Online Support Groups: Exploring the Experiences of Patient Moderators”.pdf
Article: “Offering Support to Suicidal Individuals in an Online Support Group”.pdf

Background Information
As described in previous workshops, consulting others for constructive feedback is an integral aspect of the social work profession. That feedback process is a part of every workshop in this course. You are encouraged to offer and receive feedback with your classmates as openly as possible.

Instructions

Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
In your textbook, Social Work with Groups: Comprehensive Practice and Self-Care, review Chapter 8, “Self-Help Groups” and Chapter 11, “Educational Groups: With a Focus on Self-Care.”

Text Book reference:   
Zastrow, C., & Hessenauer, S. (2019). Social work with groups (10th ed.). Cenage.

Based on your interests in client populations and needs (for example, individuals with depression), choose one of the following five articles and read about online support groups. 

I chose 2 links and attached them below

“Fostering Empowerment in Online Support Groups”.pdf
“Online Support Groups for Depression: Benefits and Barriers”.pdf
“Social Interaction in Online Support Groups: Preference for Online Social Interaction over Offline Social Interaction”.pdf
“Nurturing Health-Related Online Support Groups: Exploring the Experiences of Patient Moderators”.pdf
“Offering Support to Suicidal Individuals in an Online Support Group”.pdf

Join a free online support group (OSG) community of your choosing, such as Daily Strength at Daily Strength. 

Daily strength link is https://www.dailystrength.org/groups

Enter at least one active support group.
Observe some of the group interactions and consider the dynamics of the group and the themes of discussion.
If you share about your OSG observation in this discussion, please do so confidentiality (do not share the name of the group or any names or other identifying information of any group members).
Make an initial post by the fourth day of the workshop, responding to the following prompts. 

What are the benefits and drawbacks to meeting the needs of group members in an OSG forum? Provide specific examples of how group members’ needs are or are not met on the online platform.
How might social workers be involved in the implementation or facilitation of online support groups? What specific skills could be used in the engagement, assessment, planning, and intervention stages?
Is this an effective and ethical way to practice group social work? What ethical dilemmas might arise in OSGs, and how might they be addressed?

By the end of the workshop, read and respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts. Your responses to your classmates should both encourage and respectfully challenge your classmates’ insights and reflections.
Your posts and responses should also:

Provide clear answers with evidence of critical thinking
Add depth to the discussion by introducing new ideas
Answer classmates’ questions and provide insight to the discussion

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