Consider the group dynamics between the participants throughout the scenario.

Consider the group dynamics between the participants throughout the scenario: What did you observe and why might these be occurring? Describe and explain in what ways you consider these to positively or negatively impact the group?

Whatgroup facilitation skills and roles are shown by Max and Ty in the scenario?What effective and ineffective examples did you observe individually and as ateam? Describe and explain in what ways you consider these to be effective ornot, including specific examples to illustrate your decisions?

Whatgroup work theory(ies) did you observe in the video? What evidence or elementsof your identified theory(ies) were present? Give examples to illustrate

Group Work Scenario:

The Grey Hills Mums and Bubs new parents grouphas a new group starting for parents with a newly arrived baby. This group isfor parents who have recently had their first child. There are typically fiveto ten participants enrolled for each new group, and all participants havebabies aged between 2-6 months of age. The Grey Hills Mums and Bubs group hasbeen running for close to ten years now, with 8 sessions delivered weekly foreach cohort. The facilitators are Max (a social worker from the local hospitalwho works on the maternity and obstetrics ward) and Ty (a social worker trainedin women’s mental health with the local council maternal child and healthteam). The group aims to provide support to new parents through the early phaseof parenting and provide helpful resources/links etc. This can be tailored byunderstanding the unique struggles of each group and developingresponses/suggestions to address these.


Max is 32 years ofage, social work trained and has been facilitating the Grey Hills Mums and Bubsprogram for the last six years. Maxs own parents separated when Max was 11years of age, and this experience, along with their individual case work has helpeddevelop their understanding and empathy of parents struggling with adolescentbehaviours. Max does not have children.

Ty is 40 years ofage; social work trained and has recently joined the council family servicesteam. This is the first time Ty has facilitated the program, and Ty and Maxhave co-facilitated the first two sessions together. Previously Ty has workedsignificantly with young people, particularly young men and is skilled atengaging with people and developing rapport. Ty has a two-year-old child theyare raising with their wife. Both facilitators have debriefed about the currentgroup, that there are some differing personalities in the group and commentsthat may have quietly annoyed some of the group from others over the first fewweeks.


Kate has lived in Grey Hills all her life andpresents as very confident in how she discusses her baby. Kate has a four monthold baby and reports her pregnancy and birth was uncomplicated. Kates husbandworks full time; it appears Kate has the vast majority of responsibility forraising the baby. Jayne appears to be struggling in the role of a new parent.Facilitators are aware Jayne is sole parenting and does not share the detailsas to why. Max (facilitator) is aware breastfeeding is very hard for Jayne andher baby (2 months old) and causing emotional distress. Max is aware of thisdue to their role in the hospital maternity and obstetrics ward and supportthat is being provided to Jayne. Amanda presents as a calm and realistic newparent, happy to laugh at herself as she learns the routine of being a newparent to her 4 month old baby. Amanda has previously spoken out against somemore traditional or conservative parenting that have come up in the sessions.Amanda is married to a woman and facilitators are aware of this, however Amandahas not as yet shared this openly in the group. Laura has a six month old babyand seems engaged in the group. Laura experienced a serious illness prior toher child’s birth, resulting in an inability to breastfeed. During the intaketo the program, Laura flagged she is nervous about peoples attitudes toformula feeding her baby. Miriam has two three-month old twins. Miriam hasmissed a few sessions so far and facilitators are not sure how engaged in theprogram she is, or how supported Miriam is in day-to-day functioning.Facilitators believe Miriams family do not live in Australia

Group Scenario:

All participants arein attendance for the fourth session of the program. Max and Ty welcome thegroup, including an Acknowledgement of Country, and a review of the groupscontract and code of conduct. Max reviews with the group the previous weeksmeeting, and highlights the groups focus for this week, primarily aroundapproaching solid foods. 2 Ty asks the group has anyone had any experiences orreflections from the past week they might like to share? Miriam shares she hashad a tough week with the twins, stating I am just so looking forward to myparents flying in to be with us in a few weeks. Its been a hard few weeks now.Our twins werent the same size and Aaliyah is still not the same weight as hersister. Max acknowledges this, stating feeding, weight gain and milestonescan all be stressors in the first year of life. Max also provides informationthat babies gain weight differently and normalizes Miriam’s concerns sayingIt’s common for twins in particular to have differing weights in the earlymonths, is your MCH (maternal child and health) nurse helping you here? Miriamnods and confirms they are. Max opens up the conversation asking if anyone elsecan relate to what Miriam has shared. Jayne murmurs in agreement, saying Ivealso been worrying. Some of you know I have struggled to breastfeed and feel alot of pressure about it all. Kate reaches over to squeeze Jaynes shoulderand says You shouldnt feel pressure Jayne, that may actually make it worse,stress can make breastfeeding harder. Have you spoken to BreastfeedingAustralia or anyone at your hospital?. Jayne pauses for a moment, making briefeye contact with Max, and without looking at Kate says Yes, yes Ive done allthat.I guess what I was trying to say was I am in a similar situation asMiriam. I mean, not the same, I dont have twins. But the feeding and weightgain and no sleep. Ive been wondering about bringing formula into the mix. Tyobserves Kate grimace hearing this and withdraws her hand from Jayne’s shoulder.Ty is unsure if that is due to the formula feeding or her suggestion not beingacknowledged. Miriam speaks again Same. Im thinking the same thing Jayne. Imworried what my parents will think, my mother in particular as she onlybreastfed and formula use is not the norm in my home town. But Im needingsomething to shift at this point. Jayne and Miriam look at each other andsmile in tired solidarity. Kate shares an idea with the group, I wonder ifsome people are struggling to breastfeed, if we could invite an expert ortrainer on breastfeeding into one of our sessions? Like, to help people getbetter at it? Ty observes Miriam and Jayne make eye contact again, and Tylooks over to Max to see if they are observing the same. Max catches the lookand is about to speak when Laura makes a comment. Laura states I understandthe breast is best campaign, I certainly heard a lot about it in mypregnancy Can I just share as a totally 100% formula fed mother, my baby is achonk1 . The group laughs in good humour. What I mean is Laura continuesthat I know I miss the bond of breastfeeding, and that wasnt a choice I wasable to make, but formula is a blessing for me and my family. My baby hasgained weight really well, is starting to sleep and it seems like were doingwhat we need to be doing. I dont know if that would be the case if we didnthave formula. Several participants are nodding. Max steps into the discussionI want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has shared and madesuggestions, and acknowledge we are all doing our best to find what suits ourbabies and our families. Max and Ty begin a back and forth conversation,briefly discussing the strong feelings theyve seen about breastfeeding overthe last decade, why people may have certain views about either breastfeedingor formula feeding and clarifying there are lots of reasons that go into apersons choice. Amanda comments when they have finished clarifying I thinkthe most important thing is the wellbeing of both the baby and the birthparent. Whilst most participants are nodding their heads, everyone hears Katemutter 1 slang term for adorably fat or large creature. Further information ondefinition 3 My husband wouldnt be ok with formula. Max notices Jayne andAmanda catch eye contact and share an eye roll at the comment. Ty asks thegroup Are we ok to move on to our topic this week about solid foods or wouldthe group like to discuss breastfeeding further at this stage? Amanda lets outa Noooooooooo! which gets a few small laughs from the group. Ty notices Kateis not laughing. Ty clarifies Please remember, you are very welcome to speakwith me or with Max about feeding one on one if you would like. Max is wellpracticed supporting birth parents with breastfeeding at the hospital maternitysupport unit and I can link you in with several great services in thecommunity. After a brief pause, Ty says So lets talk solids. Has anyonethought about this or how they might like to go about this?. Laura startslaughing and shares with the group I took my baby boy to my mothers 70thbirthday party during the week. Ive only just thought about solids recentlyand had been planning to make some purees in the next few days. Laura statesgiggling At the birthday party, he was sitting on his grandmothers lap duringthe celebration and all of sudden reached his little hand out, grabbed somecake and mushed it straight into his mouth! The participants and facilitatorsall laugh along with Laura at the funny visual and story. Amanda comments,whilst still laughing my baby grabbed a McDonalds fry off my plate the otherday and faster than a blink it was gone. Some people are still laughingtogether, when Kate says I don’t think thats funny at all, the last thing ababy should eat is anything from McDonalds. The participants fall silent andlook to either facilitator or the ground. Kate is staring at Amanda andflushing red. Ty holds her hands out in front of her, fingers slightly spread out,palms facing downwards like she is holding a large box down I think we need apause here Ty says gently, Everyone has a unique way to parent. You are allnew to this, and Max and I can see you are all here with the best interests ofyour baby as the priority. What we don’t need, and what is not helpful isshaming or judgement. Whilst Ty has been speaking Max has been writing on thewhiteboard the group contract that was developed by everyone in the firstsession. Lets come back to our contract says Max and talks through what thegroup agreed to and how this looks in a group program like this one. When Maxhas finished listing the contract, they ask Is everyone still comfortable withthese or are we wanting to make adaptations? No participant seems comfortablespeaking and there is still uncomfortable silence in the room. Max and Tyobserve a lot of shared looks between Jayne, Amanda and Laura. Miriam looksvery uncomfortable and will only look at the ground. Max looks gently over toKate and says Kate, you and I have had several chats and I know yourintention is never to hurt anyone. Can you tell us what prompted your commentjust now about what we feed to our babies?. Kate is very red faced and looksover to Max. I’m not trying to be rude Kate says, continuing to look only atMax I just can’t understand feeding a baby such processed food. My husband ormother would never allow that and it doesnt take too much time to make yourown purees. While Max is thinking of a reframe for Kates comment, Amandastates Sounds like your husband has some old fashioned, hardcore expectationsof you. Shocking the other participants, Kate bursts into tears. Max and Tylook at each other and some may catch the look of slight panic across theirfaces. Then Max pulls up a chair next to Kate and asks her if she wants to stepout. Kate stays sitting on her chair with her hands over her face crying. 4 Theother participants look shocked at Kates reaction. Amanda states I didntmean to upset you Kate! You always have everything so together, it just soundslike a lot. Youre always saying my husband this, my husband that I kind ofwanted to shut it down, Im sorry! Max is talking quietly into Kates ear, outof hearing from the others. Kate nods, gets up and walks out of the sessionroom to the bathroom. The group waits for Kate to leave the room in silence.Max then says Kate is going to take a moment and then come back. Amandastates Oh my god Max, I so didnt mean to upset her like this, I just wasgetting sick of the judgement and wanted to shut it down a bit. I understandsays Max I think we should wait til everyone is ready before moving on. Whydon’t we have a 5 minute break for everyone to have a breather? Get a cup oftea, use the bathroom, but maybe could everyone else use the bathroom just nextto Tys office down the hall instead? Max looks to Ty for confirmation. Tynods, Yes, go ahead and just the third door on the right. The group awkwardlystarts to dissipate. Its ok says Max well navigate through this. Duringthe break Max and Ty quietly and quickly debrief. Max tells Ty When everyonereturns, I’ll lead the discussion to clarify what has just happened, what isunderneath the comments and emotions occurring in the group, find connectionsbetween the participants where possible and see if there are any learnings thegroup can take forward. Ty asks Should just let Kate go home as she seemsupset. Max states Mmm maybe not a good idea as its sending home a distressedparticipant, it will likely have ripple effects on the group cohesion anddynamics. Ty seems uncomfortable but asks So what do I do?. Max states Illshare points of reflection with you to include you in the conversation, butits ok, Ive done this a lot, itll be alright. The group returns to theirseats and Max takes a deep breath. Max begins to speak, I am mindful that whatwe have experienced as a group here today might look like shaming, likejudgement, maybe a clash of parenting or personal values. Some participantsgently nod. I also wonder, continues Max, if maybe what we have seen todayis a reflection of the intensity and challenges of new parenthood. We haveheard today and in previous sessions how new parents feel the expectationsabout how we do this whole new role. I also understand the desire to not showthe struggle, to try and make everything look fine, that were managing totallyfine. Ty observes Jayne look over at Kate with compassion and perhaps a senseof understanding. Max goes to keep speaking when Ty says Can I interject Max?Max pauses for a moment before indicating for Ty to speak. Ty shares Some ofyou know I have a two year old at home. Can I tell you how I felt so lost inthe first six months? Like, lost as a new parent and lost as a person. I barelyknew up from down I was so tired. And I cried. I cried all the time, andshouted at people and it was so unlike me and just added to the pile of hardfeelings. And so much shame. It was really tough, and I felt unprepared. Ididn’t know it was going to be so tough. I wonder if anyone else can relate tothat feeling? The participants all look at each other before one by one,slowly raising their hands until everyones hands are raised. Max looks over atTy impressed. It seems we have some commonalities here after all Max says Ty,before looking back to the group and reflecting I think we may be able to usethis experience we have had, to better understand one another, to allowdifferences of opinions as opportunities for growth rather than division. Is itok if we go forward with that shared understanding between us? The 5participants look at each other and nod. Ty sees Amanda silently say Imsorry to Kate and Kate mouths me too in response. Max looks at the group andat the session agenda I wonder if perhaps today for the remainder of oursession, we pause this plan about solids? I can send a lot of this informationout to you via email, and I have some good videos you can listen to about allthis. I also wonder Max continues, making eye contact with each participant,If we spend the last section today talking about, and making someindividualised plans for self-care and support. How does that sound toeveryone? Amanda comments gently As long as its not all about bubble baths?The whole group laughs and the tensions start to lift. No bubble baths, unlessyou really want them on your list laughs Max. Max begins to speak aboutsources of support, using a systems model as her template for each participant,whilst Ty starts handing out paper and pens for the participants to use.