Types of groups

The communities and disability services field supports a broad range of groups, from formal industry groups, work teams or client groups to less formal recreational and self-help groups. The group may meet face to face, or interact via telephone, email, video link or other communication process.

Formal groups

photo of a formal group of people

A formal group is one that has officially prescribed goals and relationships. Support workers may participate in or organise a range of formal groups to achieve business outcomes or support clients with specific needs.

For example, a number of clients may have similar goals, and providing group facilitation may be more effective than working with individuals.

The group may address the needs of such clients as:

  • survivors of child sexual abuse
  • children touched by domestic violence
  • bereaved children's group
  • Alanon and Alateen
  • Gamblers Anonymous
  • divorce recovery groups
  • self-esteem and peer support groups.

Formal groups can also include learning groups, set up to gain skills and knowledge about specific areas, e.g. budgeting, cooking, and work skills preparation.

Informal groups

photo of a formal group of people

Informal groups may form because certain activities occur to support that happening. For example:

  • Social workers and support workers meet informally to debrief with one another to gain support.
  • Young people who share similar life experiences and attitudes hang out together.

Members of informal groups often find comfort and security in each other's company.

Last modified: Tuesday, 10 September 2013, 3:32 PM