Founded in 1994 by an organizing committee including Katy Papell, Steve Kraft, Mona
Bokat, Shielas Goeckler, Eve Lodge and Sylvia Morris, an original goal of the LI chapter
was to “focus on what is needed for group practice and how to get it.” The Ad Hoc
Steering Committee for the Chapter included, in addition to the organizing committee
above, Sylvia Aron, Judy Azzoto, Susan Bendor, Angel Campos, Lois Carey, Mel
Goldstein, Larry Gum, Ivory Holmes, Andrew Malekoff, Angelina Martinez, Jacqueline
Morgan, Edward Paley, David Perkins, Martin Seitz, Hillel Sternstein and Helaine
Strauss. By July of 1995, the chapter became politically involved by gathering signatures
for a petition addressed to then Governor Pataki opposing proposed budget cuts which
With the passage of time, the chapter reached out to local schools and agencies
seeking to both increase membership as well as awareness of the importance of group
practice as part of the spectrum of social work modalities. The composition of the
steering committee began to reflect this outreach and diversity of practice and came to
include faculty, agency practitioners and private practitioners all of whom worked
together to plan presentations that would be relevant and useful to group social workers.
Seeking to combine theory and practice in a wide range of practice settings, presentations addressed topics such as: “Social Work with Groups: What, Why, and Wherefore?,” Catherine P. Papell, “Dealing with Internal Group Obstacles,” Alex Gitterman, “Group work with Mandated Clients: Problem or Opportunity to Empower?,” a panel discussion and “Group Work and Trauma Theory,” Lois Carey.
In addition to presentations, the chapter has had supervision for group workers with
special efforts being made after the events of 9/11 to respond to changing community
needs. For a time, continuing education credits were made available for presentation
attendance. At still another point in time, the upcoming annual AASWG symposium
chair would make a scholarly presentation and use the opportunity to recruit potential
attendees. More recently, post-presentation evaluation forms have become standard.
Each year the chapter awards a BSW and an MSW social work student for outstanding group work. Students submit a written application describing their group and demonstrating how they had combined theory and practice. The award ceremonies for these prizes, including one year free chapter memberships, a framed certificate and a subscription to the journal Social Work with Groups, have been a source of pride and satisfaction for all involved in the unique endeavor.
The LI chapter continues to innovate as well as address current needs as they arise.
Presentations have spanned the life cycle addressing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the
spectrum of autism. Ethics has been covered recently with psycho-drama coming in the
near future. Although our chapter is local, our members are also seeking to increase
awareness of practice and issue differences on both a national and international level.
We welcome your interest and your questions.