Chapter

Small Group Theory

Human Behavior in the Social Environment

  1. Lorraine Moya Salas1,
  2. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz2,
  3. Craig Winston LeCroy3

Published Online: 15 JUL 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470373705.chsw002017

Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare

Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare

How to Cite

Salas, L. M., Roe-Sepowitz, D. and LeCroy, C. W. 2008. Small Group Theory. Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare. 2:14.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Arizona State University, School of Social Work, Phoenix, Arizona, US

  2. 2

    Arizona State University, School of Social Work, Phoenix, Arizona, US

  3. 3

    Arizona State University, School of Social Work—Tucson Component, Tucson, Arizona, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2008

Abstract

This chapter reviews the history of small group practice and theory. The contemporary issues, including the multiple purposes of group work and the dual focus of group work, are introduced. Systems theory, psychoanalytic theory, and social learning theory are reviewed and demonstrated how they have been applied to small group work through Systems Centered Therapy Groups, Interpersonal Learning Groups, Cognitive Behavioral Models, and Mutual Aid Models. The theoretical orientation of small groups is explored and how theory impacts decisions, including group purpose, role of the practitioner, assessment and intervention strategies. The goodness of fit between different theoretical approaches and various cultural groups is discussed. Finally, existing research is examined regarding the effectiveness of group work and theoretical approaches.

Keywords:

  • small group theory;
  • small group models;
  • working in small groups;
  • groups;
  • group therapy