Generating Empathy and Understanding in Groups

Generating Empathy and Understanding in Groups: Necessary Elements of Group Work Practice Skills in Challenging Times

Provides at least one (1) hour of content on cultural competence.

Joan Letendre, PhD, LCSW
5 CECs

Friday, August 17, 2018
9:30 am – 4 pm   New Time!

Location: Hartford Public Library, Rm 026, 500 Main St.

Click here for Seminar Fees

One of the benefits of membership in a group is that we are exposed to a variety of opinions and multiple ways of viewing the world and solving problems. In today’s increasingly polarized world, however, we often struggle to listen to points of view different from our own. This dynamic poses challenges in groups composed of diverse membership. Group leaders often struggle to keep a safe space as members struggle to be heard and understood. Leaders must attend to the various types of diversity of group members, be sensitive to how cultural diversity may impact interactions among members, prepare for how to skillfully manage participation so that everyone is heard, be comfortable discussing broader social issues that may impact members, and intervene in conflict when challenging issues arise.  Understanding group work principles for working with diversity and managing conflict can greatly facilitate this process.

In this seminar, we will focus on the importance of the group leader’s awareness of their own opinions and responses to conflict, particularly around issues of race and ethnicity and the skills that can help facilitate these conversations. We will address the current larger social context (i.e. unequal treatment of persons of color by law enforcement, anti-immigrant rhetoric and response, religious intolerance, anti-gay policy) and how that may impact the lives of the members and the dynamics of the group. All discussion will be will be framed within a strength-based perspective.

Several teaching methods will be used including lecture, small and large group discussions, group activities and exercises, role-plays, videos and case examples. Development of a safe space where all participants can share their group successes and challenges will be emphasized. Participants are encouraged to contribute by bringing examples of their own work for discussion and problem solving.

In this seminar, you will:

  • develop an awareness of your feelings and learn to manage your responses in discussion of issues of diversity
  • learn to include the broader social context when assessing the interactions of group members
  • become more comfortable using exercises and activities that may generate discussion of uncomfortable topics
  • develop strategies for discussion of race and ethnicity and how it impacts group members
  • learn to manage conflict in a way that gives affirmation to many points of view