Groups Versus Individuals: Which Is “Better”
When looking at community work firstly one must try ad define what is meant when talking about the community.Community can have many different meaning and due to this can be very hard to find one answer to help us to understand the word community.According to the dictionary community is ‘a group of people living in one place, the public in general’ ( Collins pocket dictionary, Collins, 1982) although this offers a place to start it doesn’t help us to understand community it’s self.
Both community and youth work both have totally different aims and have changed over the years.
Youth work traditionally started as a form of informal education as a way of getting children involved with different activities although now it is becoming more and more formal. It started of as a collective idea where young people in the same social background could meet and the youth workers could work with them around these issues. Ultimately until very recently youth workers just helped the youth to over come their problems.
Now in the modern society it is moving much more towards formal education where the youth workers take an active role on the administrating of the education of the youth. Working with individuals compared to groups of the community is totally different and throws up totally different problems. I’m going to look at the advantages of both first and then apply them to some common community issues to see which works best when put into perspective.
Individual work usually involves working on a one to one basis with some one either simply talking about issues that worry them or offering help with a problem that they have. A huge advantage of working one to one is the fact that you can offer confidentiality to that person who has approached you. Due to this it enables the person the open up a lot more as they know that it isn’t going to be over heard by any other person. Working on this basis also allows much more sensitive issues to be addressed, like the issues of the home background.
By working one to one it enables you to get a lot more information out of the individual that maybe they are ashamed to address in public. By using this way of helping people you can form strong bonds between you and the person who you are helping and trust can be built up from here. Eventually becoming a friend of the person and being seen less as a helper but more of an equal, this type of relationship can also a big help when dealing with emotional problems.
Since the worker becomes more of an equal rather than a helper it can be addressed in a more relaxed way and hopefully be more beneficial to the individual. Although individual work has many strengths it doesn’t go without its weaknesses. By just having a one to one session the person does not have the social contact with they may need and attain by talking it though as a group. It also fails to let the individual know that they are not the only one with the problem that they have.
By addressing it as a group the whole group can share their feeling on the issue but one a one to one basis the person becomes very self reliant on that issue and can some times fail to notice tat they aren’t the only ones suffering form that problem. Community workers only a have small money pots. By offering one to one help for everyone with a problem would be stupid. Individual sessions take up more time than group work and therefore allow the money that would be spent on the workers hours to be spent on other things like a project for raising awareness of sexual health.
One aim of community work is to gain a sense of belonging and togetherness within that chosen area. By address each problem on a one to one basis it defeats the problem. Surely by addressing the problem as a group it would bring about a sense of understanding. By working with just individual people there is always the problem with the fact that they could become attached to that person or even dependant on you, which ideally should not happen as they should be learning to trust their peer group not an outsider.
Although it may not happen on a regular basis it is still a problem of one on one interview. Group work although at first many seem a good idea has its down falls as well. Originally used on mass by the uniformed organisations, it offers a way of getting to know each other in a relaxed environment. Using group worked in the community has big advantages. Since community can mean togetherness by addressing a problem as a group it allows everyone to be come involed. Take for example crime. By working as group to address it, it is both easier and