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Through several gradual therapy sessions, Scott was exposed to the same stimuli, but the social, mental, emotional and physical reinforcements were all positive. His social worker started by standing face-to-face with Scott in the middle of a therapy room. Scott initially experienced shakes and profuse sweating, but with encouragement, was able to face his phobia. After 20 minutes, Scott was the most calm he had felt in front of someone in decades.

The key was prolonged exposure and positive reinforcement to counteract the anxiety. His therapy gradually got more difficult, realistic and public. With consistent positive internal and external reinforcements, his cognitive and behavioral associations were rewired. Ultimately, his phobia vanished after three years. Social learning theory is important for social workers to do their best work and achieve the type of growth they seek for the communities they work with. This theory can help explain and treat the identifiable cause of certain behaviors.

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Social workers can leverage social learning theory in almost every difficult situation to figure out the best solution. Her rapidly increasing volume of articles and lectures reflected her interdisciplinary nature. She was not just a group worker or a social worker, she was an advocate for justice; non-stop fighter of wrongs, spokesperson for those silenced — often youth.

Group Work: Dealing with Problems in a Group

With both Paul and Gisa working, they made the decision to live on half of their income, sending the remainder to those who needed it back in Germany: They sponsored many refugees to the US, many of whom lived with them for long periods of time; their home was always bursting with. Additionally, they took in troubled adolescents, some of whom now comprise the core of loyal Konopka helpers who visit her, care for her when she is ill, and help by taking her shopping.

She calls this group which includes all those close to her, her. A prime example of how she transported her notions of humane treatment and justice to others is her post World War II work in Germany. In the early s, she began a series of trips back to Germany, at the request of the U. State Department, to help rebuild the country after the war.

She was instrumental in teaching democratic process through social group work. The country had not only lost the potential contributions of the millions murdered in concentration camps, but also had lost many intellectuals who fled the country. Over 25, professionals left Central Europe during the Nazi period. Of those who emigrated to the United States and made noted contributions, the International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigres , indicates that were social workers West, It should be noted too that there were psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts.

Their departure was an enormous loss to German education and child welfare — both shifted after their departure. Konopka, with her compassion for children and all in need, was eager to return to help. She treated this country which was the place of so much pain for her earlier, with dignity and respect and was unwilling to generalize her pain to all of the people.

She wrote:. In Germany I represented, to those who had been anti Nazi all during the Nazi period, somebody who had stood up with them and therefore someone who did not generalize about all Germans. This view values the human being as central to any issue. It stresses human dignity, interdependence, and mutuality.

As German group worker Jurgen Kalcher Translation by Peacock, M. Her answer was not to turn away from the German people who had humiliated her and had forced her to flee. Her humanistic stance wad responsible …in developing West German social work and in preventing it from falling back to barbaric conditions of social inferiority. Gisela returned in to teach courses ire social group work under the sponsorship of the Conference of the German Schools for Social Work and again in the s to Erlangen to teach courses for instructors of social group work Schiller, n.

He died before she got there; however, her interest in his philosophy was intense and led her to write a dissertation on him that was later published as a book, Eduard C. Lindeman and Social Work Philosophy She maximized her time in New York completing all her course work and much of her dissertation in one year. In addition, she frequented art galleries, museums, and when she could afford it on her meager budget, the theatre.

Her time in New York gave her the perspective of distance as she pondered her future in Minnesota. They would not be leaving. From this point on, she easily turned down all job offers. Back, in Minnesota, she continued her schedule of sitting on boards, traveling, writing, and teaching. Major articles were published — by the time she finished her doctoral work, she had published over 30 articles and three books.

A book that has been used all over the world in group work classes, Social Group. Work: A Helping Process came out in Another well-utilized book, Adolescent Girl in Conflict came out in In the s, she was a member of an interdisciplinary group who came together to discuss group work.

Members included educators, sociologists, psychologists and group workers. It was stimulating and very necessary to cross professional borders! By the late s, with a couple of hundred publications and travel to teach in Cyprus, Brazil, Jerusalem, India, Japan, Thailand, more trips to Germany, and many other countries, as well as continued teaching in the social work program, she entered Administration at the University of Minnesota.

In , Konopka was appointed to the post of coordinator of community programs at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs The next year, , she was appointed Special Assistant to the Vice-President for Student Affairs. She was instrumental in working with student leaders and activists during a turbulent year at the university. Students believed in. Gisa provided that. She reflected back on her own youth movement and stressed how important it had been to her.

She helped them understand that students were making choices — that different choices had different consequences. Her core message was: These young people are speaking about a better world Gilsenan, Shortly, she became the director of the Center on Youth Development and Research. With a large grant from the Lily Endowment, she was able to conduct a major two-year study on adolescent girls.

Many articles as well as a book, Young Girls: A Portrait of Adolescence resulted from the study. Her years at the Center were among her happiest at the University. Paul had retired and was now able to travel with Gisa and to take her to and from work. They enjoyed his retirement and their time together and were looking forward to when both would be retired.

Sadly, in , Paul failed to pick Gisa up from work. When a colleague drove her home, she knew she was going to find the worst. Paul had died of a heart attack sometime during the day. Now alone, Konopka retired from the University of Minnesota in although it was a mere technicality. She continued a busy schedule of papers, presentations, consultations, travel, and work with organizations around the globe. A former student, David Fogel, wrote that. You taught us hope. You taught us to praise the light not to wallow cursing the darkness… You taught us what I never believed could be taught — passion for our profession and compassion for our clientele …You sparked an imagery of leadership for social justice..

She was While Gisela Konopka acknowledges that, to her, what is important about social group work is the philosophy which drives the concepts, she is not interested in seeing her philosophy named after her. She believes that any theory, used dogmatically, is simple and false. Throughout her career, she has warned against a too heavy reliance on technique. For her, it has always been the philosophy. Her early writings speak to this. However, to her, the value of the generic was in the thinking of social work as one profession and not one or another method.

To her, good social work practice integrates concern for the individual and the group with concern for political action. Konopka interview, believes that group work is the. Incredible opportunity to transmit an extraordinary theory about interaction, influencing the individual to help self and, in the process, help each other. It is not necessarily affiliated with any agency roots as in the Y or camping or settlements. Rather, it is a philosophy.

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I have seen this excitement from working with prisons or young people in institutions. Also, when I went to Germany, they got so excited. She has steadfastly maintained throughout her life that dualistic thinking is simple thinking. Her focus was on those in pain and she came to believe that an interdisciplinary approach must be used.

She did not want to be pigeon-holed as just a social group worker. But, in , shortly after Konopka retired, Ruby Pernell, her close friend from their days together at the University of. Pittsburgh School of Social Work, came to Minneapolis to talk to her about a revival of social group work. Pernell said,.

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It has. Then [Pernell] began talking about how important it was still in social work education to get students at least acquainted with these thoughts. During the opening plenary of the new Committee for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups in Cleveland, she announced that many hopes she had for the social group work method were fulfilled. However, she added:. I think …that the affiliation with social work to which I agreed at the given time, probably was a mistake.

The roots of social work are too closely anchored in authoritarian and bureaucratic historical developments. Gisela Konopka has never felt satisfied with herself. She strongly believes that we are all responsible for the shape of human fate. When the Russian men were trapped a week in their submarines this summer and eventually died, Gisela herself had a sleepless week and struggled to breathe.


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Ironically, this champion of justice who has her whole life fought for the human dignity of all people under all circumstances finds the current stance of multiculturalism curiously separatist. She does not accept narrow, racially biased solutions of complex individual and social problems. She believes that we are failing to acknowledge subcultures. While she believes in celebrating differences, she believes that it is what we have in common — the human ingredient — that should be underscored.

She looks inward to remind herself and others of the complexity within us all. She sees herself often being the bridge between ideas and perspectives. The field of social work is expected to grow by more than 25 percent through Especially in arenas that deal with the aging baby boomer populations, such as gerontology and rehab. The demand for mental health and substance abuse social workers is also expected to grow by 31 percent, as more people seek treatment for mental illness and addiction, and the justice system continues to use treatment programs as an alternative to jail time.

The median annual wage for social workers in May was as follows:. The field of social work can be demanding and stressful, but it's in high demand and incredibly important for the health and vitality of communities. Research is important for finding your way in this diverse field, so volunteer and talk to experts in potential programs and universities. There are plenty of jobs and plenty of specializations in the field, so take proactive steps to find which direction inspires you the most before committing to an academic program.

A journal on current issues, challenges, and responses facing social work practice and education. A journal for Columbia social work students to share their research, experiences, and views with faculty, fellow students, and the wider scholarly community. This journal is dedicated to the development of knowledge about rural social work and the promotion of excellence in rural practice. This journal addresses global social work practice and encourages mutual scholarly exchange about practice methods, skills building, theoretical framework development, tactics and techniques.

Group Work Practice in a Troubled Society: Problems and Opportunities

The official publication of the Society for Social Work and Research purposed to advance social work research. Contains articles on issues dealing with the social, cultural, economic, political, and philosophical problems associated with the struggle for social justice. Examines the ethical and values issues that impact and blend with social work practice, research, and theory development.

A quarterly magazine for social work students, recent graduates, and those new to the profession that focuses on social work careers. A scholarship for students with a passion for community service and raising awareness of tabacco's harmful impact. A scholarship for doctoral students at schools of social work that train individuals to conduct research relevant to oncology social work. The Council of Social Work Education offers several funding opportunities for students and faculty members.


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Developed to continue the legacy of equity and social justice in social work furthering knowledge and the well being of individuals and their communities. A fellowship for undergraduate and graduate students whose studies are related to epilepsy research or clinical care. Scholarships support the professional development of doctoral students and bring visibility to the their research and service. Sociology majors interested in pursuing careers in public service can apply to become a Truman Scholar.

This award's purpose is toincrease the number of social work doctoral dissertations regarding the health of older persons. Fellowship, scholarships, and research awards from the National Association of Social Workers Foundation. Students interested in changing children's lives can contact a local agency for information regarding available internships. Internships for students interested in protecting the rights of those subject to violent forms of human rights abuses.

Offers undergraduate and graduate internships for students who are aspiring international relief and development practitioners. Opportunity to work with at-risk kids helping to build their self-motivation, decision-making skills, and social skills.