How leading a workshop can be a real eye-opener


  • John Genke Private Practice, New York



Abstract: This article describes in narrative form the author’s experience of personal and professional insight as a result of planning and leading a performing arts-based workshop at the 2013 IASWG Group Work Camp. He shows how this insight occurred in a parallel process with the workshop participants as a result of his willingness to take risks, to share power, and to take a stance of uncertainty when appropriate. The article shows what some of the theoretical concepts of groupwork – such as planning, purpose, stages of development, use of authority, use of program and evaluation – look like in action. Throughout the article, the author reveals the internal struggle of a conscientious groupworker trying to balance the exigencies of normal self-doubt with necessary and appropriate self-reflection.

Keywords: mistakes; stance of uncertainty; beginner’s mind; total theater; risk; inner monster; middles; haiku; interdependency; group work; groupwork

Author Biography

John Genke, Private Practice, New York

Licensed Clinical Social Worker


Kurland, R. & Salmon, R. (1998) Teaching a methods course in social work with groups. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education

Malekoff, A. (2004) Group work with adolescents: Principles and practice (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Northen, H. & Kurland, R. (2001) Social work with groups (3rd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press

Shulman, L. (1992) The skills of helping: Individuals, families and groups (3rd ed.). Itasca, IL: Peacock

Suzuki, S. (1970) Zen mind, beginner’s mind. New York & Tokyo: Weatherhill



How to Cite

Genke, J. (2017). How leading a workshop can be a real eye-opener. Groupwork, 26(3), 97-104.



camp papers