Preparation 83 beneficial to most client populations, as it balances opportunities for intimacy with opportunities for distancing. The physical setting also has a significant impact on a group’s activities and interactions. Light, ventilation, room size, and furniture arrangement facilitate or inhibit the development of mutual aid. In arranging space, the worker assesses members’ comfort and communication style. A circular seating arrangement facilitates member-to-member communication and is usually preferred. Organizational sanctions and supports are essential to the development of group work services. Without administrative approval and support, the worker “walks on eggshells.” 6. Selecting an Appropriate Practice Modality Client preference and comfort should be the most significant factors in deter- mining an appropriate treatment modality, but they may be secondary to other considerations. Certain clients may be more effectively helped through use of the individual modality. Clients experiencing a crisis who are overwhelmed with emotion, such as rape victims and relatives and friends of murder victims, may require the individual attention that is provided by casework. Individuals who face ongoing challenges also may be best served by having a long-term, trusting relationship with a social worker. The family modality is indicated when life-transitional, environmental, and/ or interpersonal stressors affect more than one individual in a family system. The family modality may include working with all members of a family, spe- cific subsets or subsystems within a family, or, at various points, both. Certain situations may make the family modality unsafe for an individual. If an abusive partner is violent and unmotivated to change, couple or family intervention places the abused partner at risk. The group modality provides participants with multiple opportunities for support, behavioral change, learning, and coping. The group modality is par- ticularly responsive to people who share a common set of life events or cir- cumstances or face similar life conditions. Because group members have had similar life experiences, they are apt to be more receptive to suggestions and feedback from fellow members than to that offered by professionals. Regardless of modality, managed care often limits the worker’s choice in selecting the appropriate temporal arrangement. Students should anticipate that the number of sessions they will have with most clients will be limited (generally eight or fewer). Session length is another consideration associated with time. Whenever possible, social workers should have some flexibility in scheduling when meeting with individuals, families, and groups.
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