Episode 78 - Dr. Lawrence Shulman: Leading Mutual Aid Support Groups: Exactly How Can People with the Same Problems Help Each Other?

Monday, August 22, 2011, 9:26:34 AM

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It's our third anniversary, and in this special episode Dr. Lawrence Shulman returns to our series to discuss his research and experience with Mutual Aid groups and group practice. Dr. Shulman's extensive research and experience are complemented by numerous examples that illustrate his points and practical recommendations for effective mutual aid group leadership. Seasoned professionals and those just getting started in group work will find a useful framework and concrete ideas from a leader in the field.

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Average Rating: 5stars  interventions ii assignment, Sunday, February 09, 2020

By Angela Tewa :

This podcast was very insightful. Dr. Shulman went into detail about mutual aid and many of which I had come across in previous classes and also learned specifically from the podcast. Mutual aid is essentially when the foundation of the group lies within the group members and not the leader. The leader is not the expert, as the group members are. The group members can relate to each other in terms of experiences and reasons that lead them to the group. Relating to one another can be so much more powerful than listening to a lecture from a leader. Sometimes, the leader has to internally shift gears and let the group lead. Mutual aid is very helpful for people who are in stages of substance abuse recovery, for example. Dr. Shulman listen an example of when group members shared specific resources to receive help from. This is concrete assistance the leader may not always have the most recent tangible help for their members. Sometimes, people need more help besides just being engaged in general conversations. Members who are in the same boat can offer so much more aid, motivation and positive influence. Mutual aid is, from my perspective, one of the best way to help individuals who are healing from situations, people or unwanted circumstances.

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Average Rating: 5stars  the process is the content, Saturday, February 08, 2020

By Liz :

Dr. Shulman's conversation on group work and mutual aid resonated with me on many levels: group confrontation, the power and necessity of confronting the leader/authority (and the humility of the group leader therein), group intimacy, internalized-cognitions that affect actions and feelings and the cyclical system therein, as well as his statement that "the process is the content." Listening to Dr. Shulman speak about the nuances of the group setting therapeutic work encouraged me to value the many evidence-based techniques and best practices, but cautioned against rigidly adhering to these robotic techniques to allow space and power for the helping practitioner’s “artistry” – empathy, intuition and experience as valuable helping tools. After listening to this podcast episode, I felt less intimidated about running group helping sessions, feeling embed with excitement and wisdom from Dr. Shulman.

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Average Rating: 5stars  breaking down mutual aid groups with dr. shulman, Wednesday, February 05, 2020

By Liz :

As a current social work graduate student, Dr. Shulman has a way of conveying information that aids in the learning process and really helps learners grasp concepts to improve their practice. In this podcast Dr. Shulman breaks apart mutual aid groups and describes how the pieces can fit together to make a group successful, for example, he explains that it is easier for a group to confront the authority theme than an individual and that supportive confrontation is a part of the process in learning how to be more assertive. He told the story of a past group member of his using rehearsal in a group to rehearse an anticipated confrontation with her partner, the group offered suggestions and support as the member prepared for her task ahead outside of the group. Group work builds up group members skills and confidence outside of the group helping them feel more prepared to tackle big tasks.

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Average Rating: 5stars  group therapy at it's finest, Monday, February 11, 2019

By Anonymous :

As a group therapist, I have found it easy to treat the therapy session like a classroom. However, as Shulman pointed out this is an ineffective style of therapy that many clients find to be very frustrating. After taking Shulman's advice I heavily prioritized group participation and was rewarded by a strong positive response as a result.

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Average Rating: 5stars  leading mutual aid support groups, Monday, April 16, 2018

By Joe G :

The material Dr. Shulman covered was inspiring. I cannot wait to start preparing for my group, I am truly going to take Dr. Shulman's recommendations for effective mutual aid group leadership to heart.

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Average Rating: 5stars  mutual aid support groups, Sunday, February 07, 2016

By Qalam :

I truly enjoyed Dr. Schulmans perspective on group work and he does this in the most clear way. Mutual aid seems more of real world approach to healing groups and allows us to have a clearer understanding of our role. Personally as a group leader we have so much to do, why not allow members to provide direction and insight for us to review so we can direct them in the best way possible. Dr. Schulman demonstrates the effectiveness of integrating Evidence Based Practice and allowing other forms of group processes that occur naturally to empower groups members and help us as social workers not be bound by manuals which is something I have always believed. I have found that the most important lessons are the simplest however our perspective, ability to take risks and knowing ourselves are just some of the ingredients to understanding those simple lessons and be effective at utilizing them for the greater good.

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Average Rating: 5stars  excellent, Sunday, June 24, 2012

By Dreams R real X :

I think this pod cast was excellent. There was a lot of great information in regards to the process of how mutal aid helps the members within the group, as well as the awareness the facilitator should possess. It really provided me with a different perspective on the way view group work. Thank you Dr. Shulman.

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Average Rating: 5stars  leading mututal aid groups, Saturday, January 28, 2012

By ACK :

As a current Social Work Graduate student, I understood the common challenges for those leading group work. Especially in the beginning stages as a social worker it can be quite intimidating. It is important to keep in mind that the client is the expert in their own lives and this still relates to group work. Often times it is hard to prepare for a group because you never know what those in the group may bring up. Larry discusses being honest,spontaneous and taking risks are necessities for being a good leader. We expect our clients to do the same and this encourages us to practice what we preach. One core aspect is Who owns the group? The members should be creating the functioning rather than the social worker who is leading the group. I also liked this idea of combining mutual aid with a solution focused approach. Different groups create different dynamics and may not fit into a one size fits all approach.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.