Teaching and practicing group-work for social justice: A critical reflection on power and process



In this paper, we argue that groups and group-work practice are potential sites for working towards social justice. This demands a robust understanding and critique of power, reflexively applied into group-work practice. The attainment of social justice presupposes group-work practice that is emancipatory, action orientated, and imbued with individual and collective accountabilities towards understanding privilege and inequalities in power. By way of example, we illustrate our argument by critically examining group-work practice in relation to power and social justice considerations, particularly focusing on clinical, educative, and peer facilitated lived experience groups. Our aim is to teach group-work and apply group-work in our practices in a manner that is transformative, emancipatory, self-empowering and aligned with social justice agendas. Here we explore key themes and principles of group-work theory and practice, through practice reflections to illustrate the potential for groups as a vehicle for social justice praxis.

Author Biographies

Lyn Mahboub, Curtin University

Clinical/Professional Fellow, Lecturer, Lived Experience Academic, Curtin University, Curtin School of Allied Health.

David Hodgson, Curtin University

Senior Lecturer, Social Work, Curtin University, Curtin School of Allied Health.

Antonia Hendrick, Curtin University

Lecturer, Social Work, Curtin University, Curtin School of Allied Health.

Jane Gibson, Curtin University

Lecturer, Occupational Therapy, Curtin University, Curtin School of Allied Health.


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