Mutual Aid Groups, Vulnerable and Resilient Populations, and the Life Cycle

Mutual Aid Groups, Vulnerable and Resilient Populations, and the Life Cycle

Mutual Aid Groups, Vulnerable and Resilient Populations, and the Life Cycle

Mutual Aid Groups, Vulnerable and Resilient Populations, and the Life Cycle


"The contributors to this volume examine the role of mutual aid groups and social workers in helping members of oppressed, vulnerable, and resilient populations regain control over their lives. The chapters reveal the ways in which mutual aid processes help individuals overcome social and emotional trauma in contemporary society by reducing isolation, universalizing individual problems, and mitigating stigma. Using the life cycle as a framework the editors establish a theoretical model for practice and demonstrate how social workers as group leaders can foster the healing and empowering process of mutual aid." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Social workers in practice today deal with profoundly vulnerable and disempowered populations. People with such life conditions and circumstances as dealing with the impact of aids, homelessness, sexual abuse, community and family violence, etc., are overwhelmed by oppressive lives, circumstances, and events they are powerless to control. Their life stressors often appear intractable because they are chronic and persistent or acute and unexpected. Their overwhelming stressors often overwhelm them. When they lack community and family supports, they are often at risk of physical, psychological, and social deterioration. Moreover, when their internal resources are impaired as well, they become extremely vulnerable to social and emotional isolation. Yet, in spite of numerous risk factors and overwhelming odds, a surprisingly large number of people somehow—miraculously at times—manage their adversities. They adapt, cope, overcome, meet the challenges of physical and mental conditions, severe losses and traumas, chronic discrimination and oppression.

In preparing the third edition of this volume, we have focused on mutual aid with vulnerable and resilient populations over the life cycle. With the help of our talented contributors, we conceptualize, describe, and illustrate how the group modality offers a powerful counter-force to vulnerability and risk by providing protective forces that help people become more resilient in dealing with life's challenges.

When people can support, help, and influence each other in a reciprocal manner, the inherent potential exists to provide group members with a sense of greater personal, interpersonal, and environmental control over their lives and to negotiate high-risk situations. Mutual engagement and mutual aid provide essential ingredients for effective protection and coping, including a sense of physical and emotional well-being and personal as well as collective identity.

In this edition we have rewritten the three introductory conceptual chapters and the historical chapter. We have updated ten and eliminated seven of the . . .

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